The Relay Shorts are so comfortable, I have pairs in Flex and Tricot (both can be found in the Athletics Collection that I wear all the time, but before I know it the temperatures are going to start to drop and I’ll need new trade in the shorts for pants. Because I love the Relays so much I just had to try to turn them into pants. They turned out so great I know I’ll be making many more pairs.
I try to do all of my pattern modifications in Inkscape because I use a projector for cutting my patterns and these pants were no exception. If you would like more information on using a projector for sewing there is a Facebook group, Projectors for Sewing, that is a wonderful source of information.
After I had imported my pattern file into Inkscape I ungrouped everything and pulled my size out I rearranged the 3 leg pattern pieces side by side so I could add the same length to each piece. I used the long length to make it a little easier to work with. Using guide lines I lined up the markers for the side panel and front leg and the low point on the rise for the front and back leg pieces. From there I added another guide line away from the bottom of my pieces. I know I have about a 29” inseam to floor and wanted a 3/4” hem (to help prevent the hem flipping when I walk) so I needed my pants inseam to be about 29.75”.
The collage below shows screen shots of me lining up the pattern pieces and placing my added length guide lines. Top left is matching the pattern markers, top right is the rise line (and also shows the marker guideline), and the bottom shows how much length I needed to add. You activate guidelines by hovering your mouse over the rulers at the top or side of the screen, then clicking and pulling the lines where you need them. They can be readjusted too.
There are a few ways to add length, but I find editing the path nodes to be the easiest and fastest for straight or mostly straight lines. After clicking the “Edit path by nodes” button I select the pattern piece I want to edit first, select only the nodes I need to move: those along the bottom of the piece, then use the arrow button on my keyboard to shift them (for this specific adjustment that is the right arrow button). I use the arrow buttons instead of using the mouse to click and drag to make sure that I am only moving the nodes the direction I want instead of shifting them in more than one direction. I moved the lowest point to the far guide line, then repeated for the remaining two pieces. The hard part is over!
The collage below shows the nodes selected for shifting on the left and on the right it shows how the bottom of the hem before straightening.
Now I need to straighten my hem. I do this by selecting the nodes between the two seam points and deleting them, then shifting the node that is over the line back to it. If the lines are curved you can straighten them by selecting the two bottom corner nodes and then “Make selected segments lines” button.
The collage below shows the process of deleting the nodes and straightening the lines, before bringing the point up to the line. Bottom left shows all the nodes, the center shows what the piece looks like after deleting the extra nodes, and the right shows the corner nodes selected and the line straightened. The long image across the top shows button for making the lines straight.
We aren’t quite done yet. Because the Relay Shorts do not have a straight hem you may need to adjust the side seam on your back pattern piece. I had not deleted my rise and pattern marking guide lines yet, so I placed one at the back top of the side panel. My back pattern piece was considerably longer at the side seam so I knew I needed to adjust it a little, as you can see in the image below. I decided to lower the rise to about halfway between the guide line and its current position and the side seam to about 1” above the guide line. This would help everything line up easily while sewing and still leave enough room for my bottom.
I adjusted the back rise and side seam the same way I adjusted the length of the leg pieces and side panel: editing the nodes. I started by placing a guideline roughly halfway between the top of the rise and the one I already had placed. Then I selected all of the nodes that needed to be dropped and shifted using an arrow button until the top of the rise was at the line. Next I unselected a couple of the nodes across the top towards the rise and lowered the rest to about an inch above the other line. I used the measuring tool to get it to the right point. Then I adjusted the nodes across the top to smooth the line. Instead of using one of the auto-adjust tools I moved each of the nodes individually until I was happy with how it looked. The collage below shows the back piece before and after adjusting.
I did not make any adjustments to the pocket or waistband pieces so moved them where I wanted them in my file and adjusted my margins: found in the document properties. I saved my file as a PDF and got to cutting and sewing!
Cutting and Sewing
Picking out my fabric was so easy this time! I had recently made myself a Marina Tank in Montrose Rib Knit and while sorting fabric I realized just how perfectly the Tuscon Red Olympus paired with it. Olympus is such a comfortable base and fun to work with I knew it was exactly what I wanted for my pants.
Cut all of your pattern pieces, remembering to mirror them. The sewing process is exactly the same as the shorts, with the exception of hemming instead of binding. I wanted a pocket, so I started there. Then I sewed the side panels to the front legs first. Topstitching the side seams is not necessary, but I decided to do it to help my pants lay better and prevent my seams from flip-flopping (which I find very annoying). Then I eased the side panel to the back pant leg (remember, it’s about 1” longer), sewed, and topstitched the side seam. After my side panels were sewn I finished my pants, turning the hem under 3/4” and topstitching. The collage below shows the front and side panel sewn together and topstitched on the left and the extra length between the back and side panel on the right.
Now it was time to go show off my new outfit!
This hack can be done with paper as well: if I were doing it I would print and assemble my pieces, but not cut them out. Then I would put paper together to add the length needed to get pants: making sure it was wide enough for all three pieces and long enough to get the inseam needed. Next I would mark two parallel lines the total length needed. Then I would split pattern pieces toward the bottom of the leg and carefully line the pattern pieces up so that the same amount of length was added to each piece. Next the lines would need to be re-drawn and the side seam length of the back checked to make sure everything fits together, adjusting if needed. Now you’re ready to cut your pattern pieces out and get started! Instead of following the curve of the bottom pieces cut across the line you’ve drawn.