Archive of ‘tutorial’ category

Men’s Boxer Shorts [Free Pattern + Juxaposey llama Fabric]

Hi all! We are all back from our spring break, feeling fresh and revived.  It’s the perfect time for me to release my first free pattern. Eek! This whole thing started because I felt I was neglecting my husband, sewing-wise. Here is the deal, sewing for men can be difficult. It’s certainly harder than choosing what I want for myself or even my kids.  Plus, unless you are sewing for one of those Florida dudes in need of an endless supply of breezy, patterned shirts it’s also a little dull.  But…you know what isn’t dull? Boxer Shorts! Full of fun patterns and colors and easy to construct, men’s boxer shorts are basically the wild and crazy guy of a dude’s chest of drawers. So guys! Guess what? It’s time to bust out some awesome fabric and get cranking out boxer shorts!  I picked llamas and a fun print from Betz White’s new Juxtaposey line. In fact, Betz really is the inspiration for this whole project.  When she asked me to make something in her new line I knew it had to be boxer’s short for my dude.

Remember a long time ago when I made these boxer’s shorts for him? I was so amped up about them and was promising a free pattern for men’s boxer shorts.  Well, you know what? Making a digital pattern was harder than I expected and I kept putting it off.  And putting it off.  And tinkering a little bit and then putting it off again.  Oof. Finally, when Betz White asked me if I would make something in her next line of fabric, Juxtaposey, I knew it was time to get serious. I mean, the first bunch of boxers where made in her Dutch Treat fabric line. If she can release an entire new line of fabrics, surely I can create one pattern! So, I’m so proud to present this free pattern for Men’s Boxer Shorts in Juxtaposey fabric.  (*whisper voice* proud but also a little timid and scared..so be gentle with me.  I hope everything works like it is supposed to. I certainly worked on perfecting the pattern for a long time but still it’s kinda freaky to put this out into the world. know what I mean?)

Men's Boxer Shorts [Free Pattern for Juxtaposey Fabric tour] || a happy stitch

So much dude-age in boxer shorts!  Before we start enthusiastically taping, cutting and stitching I should lay out some disclaimers. First, I made these to fit my husband. The pattern is one size and I would guess it is close to a medium or average? I really don’t know. His boxers were in a pathetic state so his measurements are the basis for this design.  You can always make the waist smaller or looser by varying the elastic length but there will certainly be men for whom this pattern doesn’t fit. Sorry about that. Maybe by the time Betz comes out with her next line of fabric I will have figured out size grading! We can hope.

The second disclaimer is this is my first time making a pattern in a digital form so be gentle with any mistakes. Oh, did I already say that?

Ok, let’s start making some men’s boxer shorts!

You will need :

+ Free Pattern, available here.

+ 1 ¼ yard of cotton fabric

+ 1 yard of 3/4” wide elastic

+ Spool of matching thread

+ Standard sewing supplies, of course

Instructions: 

  • Print out the free pattern, available here. Be sure to print it sized 100% and not to scale. If you aren’t sure if it printed correctly, measure the 2” box on page 1.
  • Tape together the pattern as show below and cut out the two patterns piece, one front and one back.

Men's Boxer Shorts [Free Pattern for Juxtaposey Fabric tour] || a happy stitch

  • True up the fabric and place each pattern piece on your fabric and cut out 2 front pieces and 2 back pieces. Be sure to draw the indicated markings. Hint: If you fold your fabric so that the right sides face each other you will better prepare yourself to start sewing.

Men's Boxer Shorts [Free Pattern for Juxtaposey Fabric tour] || a happy stitch

  • Begin by placing the two front pieces rights sides together. Draw, with a marking tool, a line from the top notch to the dot marked at the bottom of the faux fly.
  • Stitch the crotch seam by sewing along the line you drew with a basting stitch and at the dot mark switch to a standard stitch length and sew the rest of the curve with a 4/8” seam allowance.
  • Clip along the curve of the seam allowance and then iron the seam allowance toward the wearer’s left side.
  • Beginning at the dot marking, sew along the curve of the crotch 1/4” to the side of the seam allowance to secure it in place. You will be sewing through the seam allowance fabric and and the boxer short fabric. This is a visible stitch.

Men's Boxer Shorts [Free Pattern for Juxtaposey Fabric tour] || a happy stitch

  • While facing the right side of the front of the boxer shorts, sew a stitch 4/8” in from the edge of the faux fly. Mirror that stitch with another one 3/8” to the left. If you want to, you can sew a strong zigzag at about 1/2” before and up to the seam. This will hold the faux fly in place and create a classic boxers look.

Men's Boxer Shorts [Free Pattern for Juxtaposey Fabric tour] || a happy stitch

  • Repeat with the back crotch seam without worrying about the faux fly, (sew a 4/8” seam allowance with right-sides together. Clip curves, press seam allowance to the wearer’s left side and stitch a visible stitch 1/4” to the side of the seam.)

For the side seams and inseam, we will be sewing a flat-felled seam.  You are going to love this technique. It not only hides all raw edges of fabric but it keeps the fabric laying flat reducing bulk and it’s a super durable stitch.  Plus, it’s a very professional seam so you will feel like a champ. As an aside: I looked at a lot of my husband’s boxers and they all had flat-felled seams, it’s interesting that such a basic (and cheap) garment has such quality construction. Who knew? .

Men's Boxer Shorts [Free Pattern for Juxtaposey Fabric tour] || a happy stitchFollowing the numbers in the picture:

1. Begin by stitching the front and back side seam of the boxer’s WRONG sides together with a 5/8″ seam allowance.

2. Cut ONLY ONE of the seam allowances down to half the size of the other.

3. Press the seam allowances with an iron such that the full-size seam allowance covers the half-sized seam allowance. Fold the full-size seam allowance in half over the half-sized one to meet the original stitching line and press it flat against the fabric.

4. Stitch along the edge of the fold.  Admire your beautiful stitch! You are such a pro!

+ Complete the inseam at the bottom that connects the crotch to each leg in the same manner.

+ To make the elastic waistband you will first need to measure your wearer’s waist and cut the correct length of elastic. Be sure to measure at the point on their waist that they are most comfortable having the waistband sit on their body. Subtract 6” from this measurement and that is how long you cut the elastic. If you don’t have your wearer nearby, you can wing it and cut about 32” of elastic. Set the elastic aside.  Note: Most 3/4″ has a good deal of stretch but if yours doesn’t, for some reason, you might not want to reduce the length by 6″ or it will be too tight.

+ Make a casing for the elastic: Fold down and press the whole waistband by 1” and then repeat another 1”. Stitch along the bottom fold, leaving a 5-6” opening at the back.

Men's Boxer Shorts [Free Pattern for Juxtaposey Fabric tour] || a happy stitch

  • Attach a safety pin to one end of the elastic and use it to wind through the casing making sure it doesn’t twist.
  • Overlap both ends of the elastic by 1” and stitch a small box with a diagonal line to secure the ends together. Place closed loop fully inside casing and work with your hands to evenly spread the waistband gathers.

Men's Boxer Shorts [Free Pattern for Juxtaposey Fabric tour] || a happy stitchMen's Boxer Shorts [Free Pattern for Juxtaposey Fabric tour] || a happy stitchMen's Boxer Shorts [Free Pattern for Juxtaposey Fabric tour] || a happy stitch

  • Stitch the remaining opening in the casing closed.
  • To ensure that elastic doesn’t roll inside of the casing, we are going to sew three or four straight stitches through the elastic and the fabric. We want to do this carefully, however, to be sure we don’t lose any elasticity. To do this, pull on the waistband until the fabric is fully flat while you sew the stitches.

Men's Boxer Shorts [Free Pattern for Juxtaposey Fabric tour] || a happy stitch

  • Once you have sewn through the waistband, you can use a seam ripper to unpick the basting stitch of the faux fly.

Men's Boxer Shorts [Free Pattern for Juxtaposey Fabric tour] || a happy stitch

  • Hem each of the shorts legs by folding 1/2” and then another 1/2” and sew at 3/8” along the fold.

You are Done! And looking sharp if I do say so myself!

Men's Boxer Shorts [Free Pattern for Juxtaposey Fabric tour] || a happy stitch

I truly had a hard time choosing which prints to use from this collection. They really are all really fun and would make a great pair of boxers!

Juxtaposey fabric collection from Betz WhiteJuxtaposey fabric collection from Betz White

I really hope you like the pattern and find it useful and fun, friends. I think boxers can be a witty, quirky way to sew in funky fabric for men. I can imagine a luxuriant version in Liberty on Valentine’s day! Happy sewing all. Please share with me if you do make any, I will be over the moon!  Tag me on IG so I can see them!

Fabric Buckets as Easter Baskets

For Easter baskets this year I decided to make the boys reusable fabric buckets using my standby tutorial here. I love the idea that the buckets themselves are also a gift and a reusable one at that. We will still give them gobs of chocolate of course but the beautiful fabric bucket balances it out a bit, right?  It also might be true that I fell in love with this new fabric collection  from Maker Maker and was looking for a good excuse to make something out if it. Just maybe. (more…)

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When I first started sewing I was terrified to sew with fabrics other than basic quilting cotton.  But the truth is, sewing garments in woven cotton fabric is really limiting, especially since most of us wear knit fabric for day to day wear.  My love of sewing garments….really my whole mission to make my own clothing, increased triple-fold when I conquered my fears of sewing with a variety of textiles. As soon as you can sew rayons, jersey knits, sweater knits, silks and cotton lawn with confidence, you can make just about anything!   I realized yesterday while I was writing about the cardigan for my mom that sewing with sweater knit fabric is one of those substrates that can be intimidating.

But, it doesn’t have to be! In the spirit of encouraging others to stitch up a more adventurous wardrobe I decided to share my simple tricks for sewing with sweater knit fabric. Let’s make it easy and not at all intimidating, shall we? (more…)

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It has been nearly a year since we moved, can you believe it?! Last year at this time, everything was chaos with boxes all over & I had a minor panic attack.  For real. Not saying that as an expression. I really thought buying a new house had been a huge mistake and nothing was ever going to be put away or organized and it just wasn’t worth it.  Someone casually mentioned that it takes a year to really settle into a house and my panic spiraled deeper. I need it all settled RIGHT NOW (like all of it settled immediately), NOT in a YEAR!  It seemed helpless to try at all.  I finally confessed my agitated mental state to a girlfriend and she suggested I make one area peaceful; she called it ‘making a sanctuary’.

The only spot I could find for this little patch of peace was the tiny landing at the turn of the stairs.  It’s so small it felt pathetic and sad and I thought it almost didn’t count.  I laid down a rug from my travels in India and filled it with plants.  Every time I passed through the landing I was reminded that one day the whole house might actually come together, too.  It worked. I could take a deep breath and calm down. Because of this, I have an odd amount of affection for our landing…just a tiny bit of real estate but boy do I love it.  The landing is a place I want to fill with plants and color and keep it my lovely sanctuary.  So, when my neighbors tossed out an old-beat up stool I snatched it up, repaired it, painted and polyurethaned it for the landing. (more…)

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Much as I loved making chair pockets for his classroom last year, it is time-consuming, monotonous and costly (it takes A LOT of fabric).  Plus, it seemed inequitable to me.  If classrooms need chair pockets is it fair that the only classrooms who get them have my kid in them? Not really.  So, I suggested that the school identify how many classrooms need chair pockets and write a grant to cover the cost of store-bought chair pockets.  J’s teacher came back and suggested that the ones I make are sturdier than the mass-produced kind.  I was terribly flattered.   I agreed I could make them and quoted her a price per classroom (at 25 chair pockets per classroom) that paid for my time and supplies.  She submitted the grant and it was only after the grant was accepted that I found out that nearly the entire school needed chair pockets, 300 to be exact. Turns out every first grade and kindergarten classroom except for two needed chair pockets….one of those two classroom has special chairs and the other has the pockets I made last year.  Ha! I was totally overwhelmed.  (more…)

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