Tuesday, July 14, 2020

Butterick 3777: Men's Shorts from 1986!

One of the things I wanted to make this year was some menswear. My husband was in need of a new pair of shorts, so I thought it was time to give these a go. His preferences for a more formal, higher waisted and narrow short don't exist in many stores. I picked up both this 1986 pattern and the nice bottom weight fabric while thrifting some time ago. They are a perfect match. 

The shorts are elastic waisted, with front fly & snap, slant front pockets & a back patch pocket. Pretty basic as far as something for a man goes! This was my first try fitting my husband, and also I've only made two pair of stretch pants for myself before, so this was a challenge for me. My husband liked View B, the longer short, but his fit preference is a little different from these slightly baggier 80s shorts. He has a narrow frame, and always finds modern shorts with their board short vibe too casual and oversized for his style. Fortunately, he still had one pair that he liked the fit of, so I used them along with his measurements to adjust this pattern. 

I narrowed the side seams by about 1/2" on front and back, tapering to the knee. I extended the shorts by 1.5" to give them the length he prefers. Fortunately the rise matched his favourite shorts so I didn't have to try any more difficult adjustments. And with the elastic waistband, I had more leeway to get a comfortable fit.

The fabric is very classic but I hadn't quite realized when I started how careful I'd need to be with the pattern matching! It's a regular print so wasn't terrible, but did take some study. Also, the front pieces are cut completely vertical, but the back piece is on a bit of a angle. This meant that I could only match up with a chevron at side seam and centre back. 

It also meant that with this print I had to cut the pockets on a slant that matched that of the back panels. While the actual piece was symmetrical and the tops were straight, the check was on a slant. Quite an optical illusion when I was pressing and prepping the pockets -- I had to check a few times to be sure I hadn't completely messed them up! But when they were pinned on they suddenly looked straight as they were supposed to. Whew! 

I learned new techniques and tried new things making these shorts, aside from the weirdness of fitting someone who is not me ;) I have never made a mock fly before, and this one was tough. The instructions & illustrations in the pattern itself weren't very helpful, so I turned to youtube and found a couple of videos that helped me to figure it out. And I also installed my first ever snap! That was not a snap. I had some difficulties figuring out how it was supposed to work, but youtube to the rescue once again, and now a nice brass snap lives on these shorts.

So while this is a fairly easy design, I was very pleased with the challenge of it, and the outcome too. They fit like my husband likes, I think they look great on him, and the pattern matching worked out too. I think I'll have to try new things a little more often.


  1. Me too time for more mens wear!!!!... I just purchased three patterns from Threadtheory ( they are out here on the west coast.) I love that their designs are named after local places My husband is waiting for me to get to their of lounging pajamas. He will have to wait until I finish a huge patio mosquito net room for a friend's patio deck! I enjoy your posts very much. Thank you!

    1. I have Thread Theory's Belvedere Waistcoat pattern but have been feeling intimidated by it. Maybe for Fall I will finally tackle it :) Enjoy your TT projects!

    2. Good to see you branching out.
      Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.


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