Ever since we were kids, we’ve loved classic corduroy Ocean Pacific-style skate shorts. They’re super comfortable and give off such a laidback, cool vibe.
In honor of the great skate-short tradition, we decided to come up with our own version, and we made our first (very short) pair of Local Shorts in 2013. In 2014, we made them longer, and they've been going strong as one of our most popular items ever since.
Why do we call them Local Shorts? We are big fans of the collection of work, Locals Only, by genius phototgrapher Hugh Holland. Pages upon pages of 1970’s California skaters in shorts doing eye popping things.
For our Local Shorts fans out there, today we thought we would take you though the 11 step process process for designing and making a pair of Local Shorts.
Above & below: the very flirty first Local Shorts in 2013.
Below: the revised design for the Local Short, starting 2014.
Step 1: We hand draw the shorts to establish the image of the item and to capture the key details for quick communication during the following steps.
Step 2: We pick the fabric. Corduroy is king for the Local Shorts, but we’ve done versions in ripstop, terry cloth, printed cotton, linen, denim, etc.
Step 3: Based on the color and texture of the main fabric, we choose pocketing and all trim (trim = everything else that goes into the shorts, like zippers and zipper pulls, buttons/snaps, labels, drawcord).
Step 4: We identify a key garment as the basic building block. We don't copy; instead we use its shape as a means of communication with our patternmaker. For the Local Shorts, we took an old pair of our O.P. shorts and “edited” them by hand, via handwritten notes on stretches of masking tape: adding the zip coin pocket, changing pocket size, adjusting needle type for seams, updating length and fit.
Step 5: We then send this edited garment to our patternmaker with a copy of the drawing and all additional notes. Our patternmaker makes the pattern (which is like a blueprint) on a computer and then prints it out for our factory. We choose a factory based on their machinery, techniques, and availability to work on a particular item. The factory uses the paper pattern to cut and assemble the first sample of the Local Shorts.
Step 6: It's called a first sample because there's almost always a second and often also a third. The Local Shorts are easy-peasy for us to make now because we've been doing it so many years, but in 2013 and 2014 we went through a bunch of samples to get them just right. Lots of back and forth between the patternmaker, factory, and our team. We revisit it every time we change the fabric, too.
Step 7: Once we have the final sample, we are ready to start showing them to our preorder customers (our stockists and Battenwear Cooperative members). After orders are in, we start production by making all necessary final adjustments to the item based on shrinkage or other fabric testing and other quality control checks.
Step 8: We then calculate the fabric yardage and trim count required for production and book space at the factory. We get started on our cut tickets, which is how we communicate all details to the factories about how to make the garments and at what quantities by size.
Step 9: Throughout the next several months, we serve as liaison between our vendors, making sure that all pieces of the puzzle are moving along as well as they can. Meanwhile, we work with a grader to get markers which instruct the factory on how to change the way they cut the fabric based on the different sizes of the garment. Our samples are always in medium but our production has to be in the full range of sizes.
Step 10: Once the factory has all fabric and trim, patterns and markers, and the space and sewers to start, the Local Shorts begin to be made. Our factories work in stages. So, first we get a pile of fronts, then backs, and then we start to get shorts with fronts and backs. As soon as they have a finished piece (called the TOP or "top of production" sample), we begin our inspection. We zip and unzip, check seams, snap and unsnap, examine details, and catch issues before it's too late.
Step 11: The items are finished, and quality control checked once more. Then we fold, hangtag, bag, and sticker each item.
And that's it! That's how the Local Shorts go from inside our brains to a physical garment you can wear.
above: our inspiration vintage pair of Ocean Pacific shorts (top pic)
past season Battenwear Local Shorts in printed Denim
past season Battenwear Local Shorts in Corduroy and printed cotton
above: one of many piles of trim being sent to a factory
Shinya working on a paper pattern
and the only season we made Local Shorts in terry cloth