Saturday, June 22, 2013

Box Pleat Shorts: Simplicity 2017 (c.1947)

I have made the box pleat shorts from Simplicity 2017 several times now.

I first made them about two years ago, which is unfortunate, because I don't remember all the changes I made to the pattern to make them fit so nicely!

This is them about a year after I made them, with a blouse I made from a vintage pattern.  I made view 1, because that was the one I really liked -which was fortunate, as the pack doesn't actually have view 3, which was the other pair I really liked in this pattern!
The second time I made these, I used a red twill instead of the blue broadcloth above.  While I really liked the fabric, somehow I did not make them as well, and they fit rather badly.  Not that this stopped me from wearing them ;)  Somehow they are a little too small, and I had to shift the button to make them fit better.

One day, I had a vision of making these shorts in a print fabric, rather than the two plain fabrics I had used before.  because they look rather skirt like, I had the idea they would look rather cute.

You can see that they are a practical blue and white, and you can see below the print, more detailed, and in a more accurate colour.  And the vintage button I used to make them extra special!  The fabric is a quilting cotton- apparently it is a print I like as I have it in a couple of colours!

And a rather squinty photo of me wearing them today- in the bright morning sun.  When I first made these, I was waiting for a delivery, so no trying them on.  After a nice day of sewing and watching Poirot, I discovered they were too small!  So... I put them aside and sulked for the evening.  The next morning, since I was still waiting on the delivery (somehow it all got mistakenly forgotten), I ripped the waistband off, let out the box pleats a little, and reapplied the waistband.  Despite me trying them on before the waistband, they still ended up a little big, which meant I had to shift my button a little, creating a slight fold at the side.  I did not want to go through all that again (the fold is not terribly noticable).

Changes I made
I graded the pattern up a couple of sizes (I need to do it again, because I did it wrong last time!).
Since I missed having a second pocket EVERY time I wore them, I added one on the right- as you can see above.
I topstitched all the way around the waistband, rather than just along the bottom.  You can see it in the button photo.
I let out the box pleats on the back to get a little more room.
Pattern tips: careful with the pleats, they are best pressed before sewing, after top stitching and before hemming as well as after. If you add a second pocket, be careful to baste it to the front so it sits properly (I forgot first time around and got it backwards). You can let the pleats out a little to gain room if you somehow miscalculate, I did the back ones only. The waistband always catches me out. It needs to be the length of your waist PLUS a large overlap the size of the top of your pocket PLUS seam allowance. If you misalign the pocket on the left, you get drag marks. I always hem these fairly long, the pattern seems to indicate they should be a little shorter.  I did use a bias strip along the bottom of my shorts to neaten the hem, and I overcast all of the seams.
If you use cotton, they will crease, but adjusting them as you get up helps keep them neat.
When attaching the waistband, sew it from the right side NOT the wrong side (as the pattern says to do so). Because sometimes the top-stitching will not catch all layers!  Also stay stitch all the tops of the shorts to prevent ravelling.  Both of these are issues I saw with pair #1.

Let me know if you have any questions!


  1. Oooh, these are SO CUTE! I love the drape, they almost look like culottes! I have a feeling I might have something similar in my stash - I must go and find them :)

  2. What charming, classically lovely shorts! I love the fuller cut through the thighs - that is so elegant and becoming (I will never see the appeal in so many modern day styles that look like they're pretty much painted on). Wonderful work, dear Rachel! I really hope you and your new shorts have an awesome, sunshine filled summer together.

    ♥ Jessica

  3. Omg they are so great and look sooo comfy! Great job mama! xox

  4. I really like them! they look good on you!

  5. Ohh this is cute!! Hey I finally reached your blog! I don't know why, but wordpress didn't let me :( . But now I'm here :D

  6. OOoh thank you everyone. Sometimes I don't realise I have missed commenting!

    Sophie- great! lol I have no idea why sometimes that happens. Maybe it is just when servers are busy or something?

    WGP- thanks!

    Bunny- Thanks! They ARE comfy

    Jessica- how very true :) Thank you!

    Jen- hope you found some!

  7. Love the box pleats! I also like the fact that they are shorts but look like a skirt. Nice job!


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