Tag Archives: men’s sewing

Christmas Shirts

A Shirt for my Sweetie

A Shirt for my Sweetie

The Muse of Creative Titles has deserted me, sorry. Well, really, there was pretty much zero creativity in this whole project. I made the two prime men in my life, my husband and my father, shirts for Christmas. It occurs to me that perhaps I should’ve made one for my brother, but, well, he’s in Australia. He gets heat for Christmas. Every year.

A shirt for my Father

A shirt for my Father

Since I was stressed for both time and mental energy, I followed the pattern, the Colette Negroni, to the point of slavishness. I made a size M for the hubs and a size L for my Dad. I was terrified that both would be too small, but both turned out pretty much perfect. I made zero pattern alterations (since I used the short-sleeve version. I hadn’t bought enough fabric for long sleeves for either version, because I am braindead; I would’ve lengthened the sleeves on both if I were doing long sleeves) and used fabric I had picked up ages ago, a grey and black linens with (probably unfortunately) a bit of stretch. And yes, plenty of that good ol’ linen wrinkliness. I had actually chosen the pattern and the fabric for my husband ages ago, as the short-sleeved version of the Negroni has the exact style details of a linen shirt my husband bought during our one and only (and very overwhelming) trip to New York, back in… well, we didn’t need passports to do it, let’s leave it at that. Which shirt he’s subsequently worn to death.

Collar closeup

Collar closeup. I did the little loop as per the pattern; I probably wouldn’t do it again. It doesn’t seem like it’d ever be functional.

Unfortunately, the odds of me getting actual modeled shots from either giftee are pretty much nil, so, you get stuck with boring hanger shots. Most of which are of the grey shirt for my Dad, since, well, photographing black.

Sleeve hem

Sleeve hem

I used an extra-long triple stitch for the topstitching.

Sleeve cap

Sleeve cap

I flat-felled the shoulder seams according to the pattern’s instructions. The first set turned out quite badly, the second set somewhat better. I’m not sure I’m completely in love with the method, but like I said, zero mental energy for researching creative techniques. It’s certainly adequate. (And I have a long history of attempting to flat-fell shirts and giving up in disgust and going with the serge-and-topstitch method.)

Front facing

Front facing

My Dad’s shirt had to feature one detail that my husband’s never do—a pocket. I didn’t do two out of fear of having to make them match, but I knew he’d want one to pop his glasses into. Which he did, within moments of putting on the shirt. So, win. I do like the method for finishing the top of the pocket, and the little triangles to secure the top corners. I should’ve used a template for the pocket, though, it was not as well-shaped as it should’ve been.

I made round-ended buttonholes, the kind a buttonholer puts in, using a setting on the Janome Memorycraft, just because I could. And, well, my buttonholer generally ends up being precisely not where I am most of the time. Like most of my sewing supplies these days, since they’re spread out across three different houses. /sigh.

And that, as they say, is that, and probably more detail than either shirt really deserves. I think they were both well-received, though. So I am satisfied. And I promise I’ll have something more fun to blog about soon! 🙂

 

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Holy Frock!

A tale of terror, tailoring, and tragedy.

The Coat.

Okay, I’m no good with suspense. I need to get this over quickly. I finished Osiris’s frock coat.  This is what it looked like Friday evening, as we headed out for a night on the town.

Closeup.

Here’s a slightly-clearer closeup.

And this is what it looked like Sunday afternoon…

Continue reading

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Fantasy sewing: Fantastic Menswear

A little while back, Peter posted one of his periodic dirges discussing the dearth of stylish modern menswear patterns. However, not one to be a negative Nellie, he went on to highlight one of the more exciting periods, historically, in menswear, the 1970s, and, in particular, the patterns Butterick—the Fashion One—put out for men during this time period. (And the ready availability of said patterns today, often in uncut condition—which probably says something about why they don’t still make ’em like that)

This touching paean niggled something in my memory. Something about 70s menswear.

Butterick 4711

Aha! there it is, folks, Butterick 4711, a men’s suit pattern I thrifted for, as you can see, the princely sum of a half dollar, uncut except for the vest. And designed by, or at least approved by?, Robert L. Green, whoever that is. (Ok, apparently he was the style director at Playboy during the 60s and 70s, among other things.)

While I certainly couldn’t resist this pattern, especially in the size 40 (exactly my husband’s size! Well, for the jacket, anyway), the odds of me actually making it up are, ah, infinitesimal. My husband, despite being only a couple of years older than me, came of age firmly in the 80s. He’d be much more likely to wear this pattern (image also courtesy of Peter) than a very 70s suit.

That being said, Peter’s post prompted me to pull out the pattern and peruse the instructions, as one does, y’know. Some nifty details emerged:

A very nifty fly indeed.

French Fly! (Or at least, that’s what Carolyn called it. See her tutorial. See it now. (durr, I wasn’t paying attention and scanned the picture of the fly, but not the part of the instructions concerning it. Oh well. Go read Carolyn’s tutorial instead.)

Welt pockets!

Welt pockets that hang from the waistband–COOL! Maybe you’ve seen this detail elsewhere? I don’t think I have, not that I’m overly versed in fine tailoring. Still cool.

Vest with odd neck bit.

Odd back-neck strap on the vest. Apparently whoever made the vest before thought it was odd, too, as it’s been clipped off the front pattern and pinned in place on the other piece.

I didn’t get into the jacket instructions, partly because they’re too involved for the amount of time/energy I have right now, partly because it’s for only a partial lining, which isn’t acceptable in menswear as far as I’m concerned, not that I’m any kind of expert.

Now, my husband won’t wear any element of this suit, as I said, except perhaps the vest. My husband does wear vests. And wear them very well, I may add. 😉 My very ticklish fancy is currently dying to make him a soft and summery vest in white slub linen. Of course, I don’t have any white slub linen… but a plain white linen would do (see photo at the top).

Of course if I propose this, he’s going to ask where his jacket is.

/sigh.

But it’s a good fantasy, isn’t it?

Oh, I also got, at the same time, the coordinating boy’s suit pattern:

Butterick 5205

If only I had a sartorially adventurous twelve-year-old boy to sew for. No? Maybe not.

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Frock Coat Defrocked

Coat---PROGRESS!

Just in case you’ve forgotten (I nearly have), this is the coat where I try to turn this pattern:

Lekala 6066

into this:

Christopher Walken in The Prophecy

I made two muslins, and extensive alterations—more for freedom of movement than fit per se.

And I would’ve sworn that the best things about both muslins was that the shoulders FIT.

Well, I tried the shell on Osiris and the shoulders are huge. I honestly couldn’t tell you anything else about the fit, I couldn’t see past the massive, sloppy shoulders.

Yes, the shoulder-pads were in place.

I’m not quite sure what’s going on. There is a lot of room in the back (as per his demand), but that’s not the issue. It’s like the shoulder point has expanded. Which it shouldn’t be able to, right? I’m hoping some re-adjustment of the pads/sleeve headers will help the issue. The armscye also seems low, where I swear the opposite was going on in the muslin. This may be a difference between firm sheet and soft (ish) wool (ish)?

Shoulder not-so-easing

The easing of the back to front shoulder also didn’t go super-duper well. Too much to ease, not enough wool content in the fabric, and I couldn’t find my tailor’s ham. (Also, way-overexposed photo to show detail)

I’m also wondering if I should be attempting to create a more tailored structure. I’ve been following Sherry’s RTW sewalong, which is lightly-structured but not really Tailored-with-a-capital-T. Neither was the inspiration garment for this project, of course, but I’m wondering if that’s some of the look that’s missing. Hard to say, hard to say. Maybe a little bit late at this point, too, unless I want to pull the whole thing apart and add a fully tailored front (it’s not like I have a shortage of hair canvas…)

Grum. It doesn’t help that I’m not allowed to take fit photos, and he’s not exactly keen on standing around while I attempt to note down every little wrinkle.

But he does like it. Or says he does.

On to construction and confusion.

Sleeve vent

Sherry has one lovely post on sewing a sleeve vent, which she helpfully links to from her sewalong. And I obediently followed her directions for adding a mitred corner to the sleeve pattern.

Mitred sleeve vent

For both the upper and under-sleeve.

For future reference, you only want the mitre on the upper sleeve (the top portion of the vent). The under sleeve needs a regular corner to underlap beneath the top side of the vent.

So, unless I wanted my vents open, I either had to re-cut the under-sleeve (which I doubt I have fabric for) or get creative.

Creativity. See the little seam?

I got creative. I pieced in a little snippet of left-over block-fused fabric. You can see just a little bit of the seam. It’s a bit bulky, but it’s going to be invisible once the buttons are stitched on anyway, right?

*headdesk*

Next up—figuring out how to line a vent. Ideally without resorting to massive hand-stitching, although I must admit soothing, mindless hand-stitching does seem a bit more attractive than brain-busting RTW-style sitching tricks, right now. Hmm. Maybe I’ll insert the whole damn lining by hand. If not, I’m thinking this book should cover it.

Lining resource

If I can get a good fit, anyway.

Also, I forgot pockets.

That’s probably unforgiveable, isn’t it?

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Syo Sews

Syo sewed so well. Also she's wearing a shirt I made her.

While I’ve been dithering over the hubs’ coat, Syo seized the opportunity to sneak onto an unattended machine and whip up a little purse. Her being extremely proud of her creation, she asked me to blog about it. Me being putty in her cute little fingers, immediately snapped some photos and set to.

Look! It opens!

Look! Not only does it have a strap (thankfully using up the last of that trim!), but there’s even something approaching a seam-finish on the end of the fold-over flap!

Ok, so I may be a little bit exuberant. Here’s the thing. She sewed this on her own. The only thing she asked me was whether she could use the machine (yes, dear, just don’t sew through your fingers, k?). No hovering, no planning, no supervising every seam-allowance and pivot and backtack.

People, this is how I learnt to sew (when I was probably right around Syo’s age, maybe a smidge older). Grab fabric, think (or don’t), and go. Doesn’t work? Try again. Something you never thought of goes wrong? Oops, that was a learning experience!

I’m not knocking anyone who learnt to sew properly—it’s probably a much faster, more efficient way to learn. But it’s not how I learnt, and trying to teach my kids feels… forced. Weird. Stressful.

This wasn’t stressful. This was great.

Shot with tree.

In other news, I traced out the size F(2, but in length G/3) and size H(4) of the Jalie 2908 jeans, to make up for my nieces, possibly even for Christmas. I’m still in limbo over a shirt for my Dad… I have the fabric picked out, but the Negroni pattern I ordered at the beginning of the month (yes, I caved, finally) still hasn’t arrived. I have printed out a custom size (as far as I can figure going on my mom’s recollection of his measurements and some gentle prodding over the phone) of this pattern, but I’m a little worried that it’s going to fit like a tent, which is not really what I want to create. I’m planning a backup gift on that front, either way. On the subject of Mr. Isis (every time I type that I think I should just put “Osiris”)’s jacket, I did a second muslin, with a much fuller back and wider sleeves, after he very instructively flexed while wearing the first muslin and ripped the back seam open clear to the waist. We are having some issues over fit vs. freedom of motion; like many hard-to-fit people, he’s used to wearing knits or vastly oversized wovens. Anyway, the second muslin had a very curved back seam, a lot of ease rotated into the shoulders (basically I rotated some of the curve from the neck into a shoulder-dart, but I don’t plan on sewing the dart, just easing the fabric in), and has some big folds under the arm, all of which disappear completely when he crosses his arms. I tried to suggest (as I seem to recall reading somewhere) that a suit-jacket should lie smooth when the hands are clasped in front. He doesn’t consider this adequate. I think he’s on glue. The debate continues. Anyway, I think I can shave off a bit of the excess and get something that doesn’t look completely grotesque when he’s standing naturally.  Fitting muscles is weird. It’s almost like an FBA for the back, in an area that doesn’t happen to have any darts. (Boy has a drop of almost 12″ from chest to waist right now. That’s not only more than mine, that’s more than twice mine. The jerk.). At least widening the sleeves went well. I’d be tempted to try a larger size, but the shoulders fit beautifully.

Now if I could just find my roll of craft paper to make the rest of the pattern pieces… (I’m trying to save the wrapping paper for the presents…)

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Gunpoint

A Dread Pirate Shirt

He said: why do you need to take photos?

I said: for the blog, of course.

He said: why do you need to blog this stuff?

I said: because I like to and it keeps me inspired.

He said: I don’t think you understand how much I hate having my picture taken.

I said: No photo, no more Tanit-made items.

He said: okay. I’d rather buy them than have to pose for photographs.

I said: you can’t buy this kind of stuff. That’s why I make it.

He said: I don’t care—I’ll order it off the internet, I’ll pay whatever it takes, if it means you don’t take photographs.

I took photographs. Possibly at gunpoint.

The glare I was receiving has been cropped for the protection of readers.

If I were sane, this would, of course, be the last things I ever make him. But it’s as much about scratching that itch to make him happy (and see him in some hawt clothes), so I will probably keep making him stuff.

At least he’s wearing this one. About the only time it wasn’t in use this weekend was when he was fishing, so if it looks a little rumpled, that’s why.

Why yes, we were out at the creek again.

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You know you have a winner when…

Mr. Isis's Shirt. Photographing black sucks.

… he’s wearing it before you even have a chance to put buttons on.

I finished Mr. Isis’s shirt, and realized I have no matched black shirt-type buttons. So it is still lacking in buttons and buttonholes. Although Sewing World, on my way home, has a fabulous selection of thread and zippers (and every gizmo known to seamstress), they have zilch for buttons. Well, there might be a few novelty ones. Nothing shirt-worthy, anyway. But the plan is to trek out to Fabricland for kids’ Hallowe’en costume fabric this weekend, so I should be able to remedy that.

None of which stopped Mr. Isis from throwing it on, tucking it in, and rolling up the sleeves, and wearing it around the house the last several evenings.  And he does indeed look a little “Dread Pirate Roberts,” if I do say so myself. >:D

So yeah, I think this one, at least, is a winner…

You may now begin to place bets on how long it takes me to corral him into letting me photograph him in it.

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