Pattern Review: Kwik Sew 3614 – The Fly Zip Shorts
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.
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.
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!
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. :)
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.
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.
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.
Happy running and sewing everyone!