Pattern Review 5 out of 4 Men's Woven Boxer Shorts

It took me three weeks to sew 8 pairs of boxer shorts. I had a fairly easy time doing it in small steps, and I mostly batch sewed them up. Something I learned about batch sewing is that it helps if your "batch" can all use the same thread color. It seems obvious to me now, but I had 7 pairs of dark boxers, and 1 pair of mostly white boxers. So I actually ended up sewing a test pair, a batch of six, and then an extra pair (why didn't I make the test pair out of the white fabric?)

So the pattern I used is from "5 out of 4 Patterns", and on their website, it has a 4/5 star rating. Previous reviewers felt that instructions could use some clarity, and I would have to agree. This is not a beginner friendly pattern, although an advanced beginner like myself could likely work through the process with few hiccups.

So, what hiccups did I run into? Right out of the starting gate, I ran into a fabric width/pattern layout problem. According to the pattern instructions, for the medium size boxer shorts, I needed 1 yard of 44" wide fabric per pair of boxer shorts. So I purchased 1 yeard each of 8 different fabrics that I thought kind of went with Dave's woodsy/farmer aesthetic. I then got my fabric home, washed, dried and ironed everything on the first day. {excited}

On the second day, I realized I had a significant problem. The suggested pattern layout is to put all the pices on the grain, cut, sew and voila, clothes. I tried, friends. I really did. I could not figure out why I could not get all my pieces layed out on the fabric, with the grain. I struggled. I huffed and btched and complained. No matter what I tried, that layout was not going to happen. I was short by at least 1/4 of a yard. Fortunately, I know that cross grain is almost as strong and stable as working with the grain, and most of my fabrics were non-directional. So I was able to make it work with a little creative manipulation. But I had 2 fabrics that were uni-directional. They had a top and a bottom. I was short by about 5 inches on one fabric. Luckily, Dave doesn't know much about sewing so I don't think he would have even noticed if I had not pointed it out. So I manipulated the fabric (why didn't I take pictures of this part?? Oh yeah, because I was seething, lol) by using the extra fabric from a corner of my yardage to sew onto the top of the cut that was too short. I flat felled every seam according to the pattern instructions so that the inside of the finished shorts were smooth and seamless. But folx, ugh. It was such a pain in the butt.

If you make this pattern, please for the love of whatever you believe in, buy an extra quarter yard at a minimum. I always buy extra yardage, except for this time. I don't wear boxers, I had no idea how much fabric these things use up. I thought a yard for 1 pair of medium boxers would be more than plenty, but I was definitely wrong.

This process of creatively laying out and cutting fabric ate up several days, and then I had to set my project down for a while because I had a couple mask orders to fulfill. And then I took a break and "whipped" up 2 bralettes for myself because I used a bra calculator, realized all my bras are way too small and had kits sitting on my shelf. I will talk about that next week. And then I had another delay when I fell and sprained my ankle 3 days after seeing a new chiropractor, and had to take an entire week off from weight-bearing exercises. I figured sitting at a sewing machine and using my bad ankle on a sewing machine pedal probably was not a great idea, but I feel much better now, thank you for asking.

So back to the boxer shorts. The pattern does not recommend the following step, but I found it extremely useful. I followed the pattern instructions exactly on my first, test pair. When it came time to iron in the hem of the shorts and fold down the waist band to attach the eleastic, I did it after the shorts had been sewn shut into a circular shape. I think this step is unneccesarily complicated. When the pieces are still flat, using chalk or disappearing ink, measure and mark all your hem/fold lines on the wrong side of the fabric, then iron the creases into the fabric. Now unfold them and follow your pattern instructions like normal. Now when you get to the step that asks you to sew in your hems, your fabric is pre-creased and ready to be folded into place, and you get a nice, even hemline, with both sides of the shorts matching.

I'm glad I made 8 pairs at once, because I never want to sew this pattern again. Although Dave really loves the finished products, so when they start to wear out, I probably will make more boxer shorts. We both laughed at how ridiculous it is to spend 3 weeks and mumblemumble dollars on boxer shorts when he could have gone to WallyWorld and bought a 5 pack for $15. But I saw what he had before, and they were cheap, and kind of crappy, and now he's got some lovely, handmade undergarments that make him smile.

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