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Pattern Review: Kwik Sew 3614 – The Fly Zip Shorts

2013 June 8
by elizabeth_admin

So I’m finally getting to making a pattern that Robin gave me a few years back, KS 3614, a shorts pattern.  Everyone on PatternReview raves about the fly zipper instructions on this pattern and rightfully so.  They are amazingly good.  Fly zips are the main reason why I haven’t really attempted pants before this.  So, even if you don’t like the style of these shorts, get this pattern for the fly zip instructions alone.  They are worth their weight in plutonium.  For reals!  Now on to the review.

KS 3614

KS 3614


Pattern Description:  Misses’ fitted shorts in three lengths have front fly sipper, low cut waist and shaped waistband.  Side pockets and belt loops are optional on all views.  I made view B, the medium length shorts.

Pattern Sizing:  XS -XL.  I made a medium with a titch added to the side seams for my thighs.  Interesting fact: When I opened up the pattern envelope, I realized that I had already traced and muslined this pattern in July 0f 2011.  I had completely forgotten this fact.  I had made the following notes:

Well, the reason for that is while muslining (there’s my new verb again) Kwik Sew 3614, I made a hot mess of the waistband and completely skipped the fly front zipper.  I just don’t have the heart to subject you to such a sight.  But here’s what I can tell so far about this muslin:

    • I love the crotch curve.  I feel like it was tailor made to my body shape.  Yeah!!!
    • I may have to let out the side seams a titch.  I have smiles at the crotch and butt that I think those smiles are actually groans because the thighs need a little room.  I made a sz medium, fyi.
All in all, I love both patterns.  I love V8584 for the simplicity and ease of the pattern.  It’s perfect for an easy breezy summer linen pant.  And I love the structure and fit of the KS3614 shorts.  Now if I can just figure out how to do the fly zipper front and actually do a good job of the waistband.

So I wasn’t far off my original mark two years ago.  And now I can say I managed the fly zipper and very well at that, thank you very much.  I can’t believe it took me almost 2 years to make it up in real fabric after such a promising muslin.

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it?  Why, yes it did, except that I’m not as skinny as the model.  

Were the instructions easy to follow?  Yes, they were fabulous.  Absolutely top notch.  A beginner could totally make these shorts, fly zip included!  I would pay top dollar just for that part of the instruction sheet.  Honest!

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?  Loved the simplicity of the design, the fitted look and the awesome instructions.  Did not dislike a single thing.  This pattern is an amazing draft and can be a workhorse in your wardrobe.

Fabric used:  Stretch cotton twill from Metro Textiles.  I remember I bought it a few years back with Trena.  Originally, I planned to make a simple pencil skirt with it, but I thought it would be perfect for some summer shorts instead.  This is a really stretchy cotton twill, so it probably has a high percentage of lycra in it.  I shouldn’t have added in the extra room in the side seams to account for the stretch, so the shorts are a little baggy on me.  As well, they bag out and grow with my body heat, so the fit isn’t as attractive after wear of an hour or more, but still definitely serviceable.  These are definitely wear and wash every single time once worn so that they will go back to their original shape.  Note to self: when using stretch fabrics in future with this pattern, use a straight medium size.

I also want to note that this was an impromptu project, very on a whim, but I had everything in my stash to make it.  EVERYTHING.  I had red thread, a red zipper, the right interfacing, snaps, a snap press kit (more on the snaps later), and of course the fabric.  If I didn’t have a deep stash I wouldn’t have been able to complete this project in as short a time as I did (two days including two muslin sessions).  I love that I had everything on hand.  LOVE. IT.

Pattern changes or design changes made:  

  • As noted above, I added about 1 inch total of ease to the side seams (1/4 inch at each pattern piece side seam) tapering to nothing at the waist seam.  This is a well drafted pattern.
  • Instead of pants hooks and eyes, I used a snap and my Prym Vario snap press kit for my waistband closure.  I love the simplicity and the look of it.  I still might need to add one hook and eye inside though.  I will see if I’m axed about after wearing it a few times.






Any problems encountered during construction?  Not beyond the normal stupid mistakes brought on by tiredness or that last glass of wine.  Nothing that a seam ripper couldn’t handle and definitely not anything worth mentioning specifically.  Oh wait, I take that all back.  I did have one problem with which my FB sewing peeps helped me.  After sewing up the waistband above the fly zipper, I noticed that instead of nice 90 degree corners, I ended up with trapezoidal corners.  Not professional looking at all.  And this, after interfacing both the facing and the exterior waistband.  Harumpf!

Say no to trapezoid waistbands!

Say no to trapezoid waistbands!


So I tapered the ends ( a little too aggressively) so that they would resemble rectangles more rather than trapezoids.  They’re not perfect, but then, neither am I.

Any new techniques learned?   Did I mention the fly zipper that I finally conquered?!?!  As I mentioned earlier, the instructions for inserting the fly zip are phenomenal.  My first try on the muslin was usable and ok.  The second muslin (I thought I might need the size large and was thankfully proven wrong)  was where I really did a good zip insertion.  On my final garment, I really took my time and put in a stellar fly  zip (if I do say so myself).  I can’t believe I was so scared of this technique before.  Who knows?  Maybe I’ll try my hand at welt pockets next.    🙂

fly zip

fly zip


your fly is open!

your fly is open!


Any interesting design details in this pattern?   Not really.  It’s a very basic pattern, but a goodie and a staple.  The pockets are nice and don’t stick out too much as this style of pocket are mostly wont to do.  Very well drafted, I say again.

pockets during construction

pockets during construction





Which sewing machine(s) did you use for construction?  As my Singer Featherweight needs service (she’s making some weird sounds so I’m afraid to use her right now), I mostly used my Emerald 183 for this project.  I used my serger for finishing the seam allowances and the coverstitch for the hems on the leg openings.

coverstitched hem

coverstitched hem


Time to complete construction:  Not including the two muslins of this pattern (three if you count the one in July 2011), I’d say it took me about 6.5 hours from cutting and interfacing to hemming and snapping.  Not bad when you consider the fly zipper.

Will you sew it again or recommend it to others?  Well, since I’ve been doing nothing but extolling the virtues of this pattern, I would say, yes!  I definitely highly recommend this pattern.  And yes, I will definitely sew this again.  Am already considering a linen pair and a khaki pair.   I think I will invest the time to finally having a go at welt pockets for the back of the shorts in future iterations, and maybe forgo the front pockets.  Although those front pockets are really handy.  They’re just the right size.  Love them.  

Conclusion:  This is an amazing pattern.  Get it.  Seriously go out and get it right now.  It’s drafted impeccably.  You can add personality to it with whatever design details you want.  The fly zip instructions are phenomenal; this pattern is worth it for those alone.  Seriously.  Have you bought it yet????  What are you waiting for?







In other non-sewing news, I am running my first 5K tomorrow.  I’m super excited.  You’re never too old to run a race.  Never.

Race packet!

Race packet!


Happy running and sewing everyone!



21 Responses leave one →
  1. June 8, 2013

    I just finished a pair of shorts that ended up getting a button fly. I need the help with a zip fly- so I’m looking out for this pattern! Thanks for the heads up. You’re adorable in your new shorts, and you’ll be able to get a lot of wear out of them. Great job!

  2. June 8, 2013

    I can feel your enthusiasm bursting out of the screen, and why not, the shorts look great on you, as does the San Diego tan. I would have thought shorts sized just as S-M-L wouldn’t fit anybody very well, but clearly I am wrong! Good luck in your run!

  3. Elaray permalink
    June 8, 2013

    If you are new to welt pockets, may I suggest the directions in “Pants for Real People”. The chapter on welt pockets helped me conquer my fear.

  4. June 8, 2013

    Love the shorts, and I’m glad you conquered the fly zipper. I also like the way you look on these pictures, you shine :).

  5. Karla permalink
    June 8, 2013

    Your shorts look fantastic, and your post clearly explains why KS patterns are so good: they are a goldmine when it comes to construction methods. Have you used any of their patterns for Jack? KS was my go-to brand when my kids were young because they fit like RTW (unlike the Big4 kids’ patterns) and their instructions produced professional-looking results. Congratulations on the great new shorts.

  6. June 8, 2013

    Really cute and great job on the fly zip – very professional looking! You also achieved a perfect fit. I think more are in order 🙂

  7. June 8, 2013

    Those look great on you, fantastic job and thanks for pointing out this pattern. Good luck in the race.

  8. Allyn permalink
    June 8, 2013

    Okay, okay! I’ve ordered the pattern! Great review, and the shorts look really good on you. I’ve never made shorts before and have never used a Kwik Sew pattern, so this will definitely be something new for me.

  9. Jodie permalink
    June 8, 2013

    I have this pattern and have to agree about the zip instructions – awesome. I’ve made these a couple of times (I’m in Northern Alberta – two pairs of shorts is all I need) and I will say (over time) that the pockets bagged a bit. Probably due to stretch twill and not enough stabilization. Not enough to bug me for shorts I wear in the summer (when it arrives).
    Yours look terrific – great fit. Good luck in the race!

  10. June 8, 2013

    I can see why you love the pattern — cute shorts and perfect for summer. Have fun at the race!

  11. June 8, 2013

    Great look and fit Elizabeth!

  12. June 8, 2013

    super cute and those are neat pockets. I am craving some red shorts and here you are this morning modeling yours. I am copying soon. racing? go girl ! have fun.

  13. June 8, 2013

    Well done! Those are so nice on you.

  14. June 8, 2013

    These look great on you-the fit is flattering and your workmanship is terrific. I am going to pick up this pattern for the instructions and the shorts pattern. Thanks!!

  15. June 8, 2013

    Really great pair of shorts. Your fly zip looks impeccable.

    Enjoy your first race.

  16. June 8, 2013

    Your fly front looks great! Congrats on your first one! Double welt pockets aren’t so bad. The lladybird sewalong for the Thurlows has pictures and step by step instructions that were pretty good though I remember disagreeing with her about which side to mark all the arrows. Anyway, if you can do the fly front zip, you can do the double welt pockets.

  17. Wendy Hillhouse permalink
    June 8, 2013

    Now that you’ve mastered that fly front, try Sandra Betzina’s. Works beautifully every time.

  18. June 10, 2013

    Love these! Love the look, love the color, love that you love them. Great job! xos

  19. June 19, 2013

    Great shorts and review! How did the 5K go?

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