Simplicity 1286 Review – Men’s shorts

Simplicity 1286

Project Info

Sewing Pattern: Simplicity 1286

"A great trouser pattern, well constructed and easily adaptable this would make a perfect tried-and-true mens trouser to adjust to your personal specifications. "

Francesca Haselden 5

Our rating:

Buy it for £8.15

Well after the disaster of the Kwik Sew shorts toile I have decided to go back to my good old Simplicity 1286. Simplicity always offer perfect patterns in my opinion.

I can’t say they were 100% accurate (a small typo on the pattern tissue stated a massive 11 ½” ease – obviously meant 1 ½”!) but other than that this pattern went together far better than the Kwik Sew attempt.

I made the largest size of Simplicity 1286, which still came up a little small around the bum/hip area, but was a great size on the legs, just the right fit. I can only think that the sizing was affected by the lining, which wasn’t present in my toile, as I went up two sizes from toile to finished item. Kris says it fits fine, but there are definite drag lines on the pockets.

If I made Simplicity 1286 again, I wouldn’t change much. The pockets can really change the look of the garment so the simple hip pockets plus a back welt pocket would look great for smart trousers or chinos. The cargo pockets and back patch pocket give the trousers a much more casual look. It’s really easy to adapt these for whatever specification of trouser you need. I’m thinking Simplicity 1286 in gaberchino would be great as an autumn/winter casual trouser.

Sewing the fly for Simplicity 1286

After my previous attempts at sewing the mock-fly in the Kwik Sew pattern, I was happy to sew a proper fly. I cannot fault the Craftsy class Mastering Construction: Zippers & Waistbands for helping me through. I would not have been able to sew the fly as well without the instructions given there. I worked up several samples until I really knew what I was doing.

I’m happy with the fly in general but I made a few tiny errors which are bugging me, but aren’t really that noticeable. Firstly there is an unattractive jump on the inner zip seam. I also used a triple-stitch for the fly top-stitching which I think looks rather awful. I have learnt my lesson – triple stitching is for seams only, not top-stitching!

But in the end, the fly looked OK and i’m happy enough with the result.

Serging & Linings

I finally got a chance to use my new overlocker for a genuine reason! The chambray fabric was a little too thin on it’s own so I wanted to line it with a thin cotton. Normally I would have to hide all those seams inside somewhere but because of the serger, I simply serged the pieces together on all sides and treated them as one. I tacked the pieces together first, then serged all the way round. I kept the tack lines in place whilst sewing so the fabric didn’t shift around as much. It made for a really easy sew. The lining cotton and the chambray together make a lovely fabric. Thick enough to preserve modesty but still soft and breathable.

singer overlocker

Stripy Linings & Pockets

I decided to line the pockets with this fun stripy fabric. It is present on the inside of the hip and cargo pockets. It also peeks a little on the back patch pocket as I cut a bias strip for the top of the pocket. This is the only place it shows on the outer fabric.

I fully lined all patch pockets – a technique I learnt when sewing my waxed jacket. I really like the effect of a lined pocket though I forgot to trim the lining down, so the stripe is visible on the edges of the pocket, even after top-stitching. It’s a small detail though and it doesn’t matter too much in these casual shorts.

The Finished Result – Simplicity 1286

I’m really pleased with the finished result! I’m proud to say they are well made and include some of the neatest sewing I’ve ever done. The inside is as well thought out as the outside, with all seams either serged or otherwise enclosed. I wanted to make something that will stand the test of time along with repeated washings.

The only thing I’m not happy about is the less than perfect fit at the hip, they are just a little too snug. This can be seen as the side seamm jumps back at the pocket, as there just isn’t enough room here. In order to fix this I would need to recut the pieces and sew the fronts and backs again, so I’ve left it as it is and included two bar tacks at the stress points to help them last. If I make again, I’ll add an extra 2 inches each side and taper it from the crotch seam upwards towards the waist.

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Francesca Haselden

Francesca is the owner of EatSleepKnitUK, she also works for Toyota Home Sewing and is a web developer 9-5!

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