Unselfish Sewing – Wahid Waistcoat

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So, about that waistcoat then. I decided quite a while ago that The Boy deserved some of my sewing time and energy, but it’s much harder to find tempting sewing patterns for men than it is for women. I had my eye on the Ryuichiro Shimazak book “Les Chemises” for a while, but nowhere I looked has had it in stock over the six or so months that I’ve been looking. Then I stumbled across Make My Pattern, an unselfish sewing project if ever there was one. Joost de Cock, in an attempt to make sewing your own clothes easier for men has an expanding range of men’s clothing patterns on his website for free! Of course, in this case it’s not a man he’s giving a helping hand to, but I (and hopefully my boyfriend) are extremely grateful nonetheless.

I gave myself a deadline on this project (birthdays are only provisional deadlines after all): I wanted him to be able to wear the waistcoat to a wedding on the Friday exactly one week after his birthday. Well, he did wear it to the wedding. I sewed the buttons on in the car on the way to the church – there’s nothing like leaving it until the eleventh hour.

So – the pattern.

To get a pattern from Make My Pattern, you have to put in the measurements of the person that the garment is for and out comes a pattern specifically for those measurements. The list of measurements to fill in is very long, but there’s a helpful guide for exactly how to take each measurement, and the garment that resulted really was very fitted to The Boy.

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(Those darts look a bit more woman-shaped than man shaped… must work on my cutting and sewing accuracy!)

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Even when you’ve put in the measurements and hit download, the website gives you a whole host of further styling options such as length, where you want the V to fall, how many buttons you want, and fit. There are 5 different fit options ranging from Skinny to Loose. I went for the second slimmest fit (called, appropriately, Slim) and I’m glad I didn’t go skinnier – I really don’t think he’d have been able to do up the buttons if I’d gone for the skinniest. As it’s not part of a three-piece suit I didn’t intend it to be worn closed anyway, so the close buttoned-up fit isn’t a problem. But he wouldn’t get a three-course meal under those buttons!

The shell of the waistcoat is made of a slightly coarse linen-and-something mix that’s been sitting in my stash for a while, and I lined it with some fairly fluid viscose. I left it hanging for a week or so before finishing the lining and shell hem, to let the lining stretch out as much as it wanted. The lining is still bagging towards the bottom a little bit more than I would like, it’s not noticeable when it’s being worn, but you can see it in this picture:

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I had some trouble with the pocket construction. For a start they seem to be very low down on the waistcoat (although they don’t look so low-set on Joost’s example) and when I was sewing them together, the pocket lining and pocket bag didn’t match up length-wise at all. One part was some inches longer than the other. It was only the second time I’ve sewn welt pockets, so I might well have just completely misunderstood the instructions, and I just cut the longer part to match the shorter (and then cut both so that they weren’t hanging out of the waistcoat!) so it wasn’t a very major problem.

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Well I’m not too traumatised by my first encounter with sewing men’s clothes, I’m still determined to make a nice shirt (there’s a pattern for one on MMP, I just have to brace myself for it, and sew a few things for myself first), and I’m looking forward to seeing Make My Pattern’s development.
Now for some simple sewing for myself. If I can bear to turn on the iron in my new top-floor flat, in this Swiss summer heat!

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Space Invader Rigel

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In all the kerfuffle of arranging moving (which isn’t even going to happen for another good month) I had a bit of a break from the sewing machine. But I went back to it with what I feel is a bit of a flourish (for me, anyway) this week as I tackled sewing an actual jacket, with lining and welt pockets (a first for both).

The pattern is the Rigel Bomber jacket from Papercut patterns which I bought in the Black Friday sale last year (oops). It’s the first time I’ve sewn anything from Papercut, and besides going all gooey about the pretty, recycled packaging (there’s plenty of that on other sewing blogs) I found the experience very nice. The instructions aren’t as hand-holdy as some companies I’ve sewn from (although much more than some others) and since I wanted to line the jacket (which isn’t included in the instructions) my method diverted from that given at a few points.

After consulting my poor mother and sister over several days, I narrowed my choice of fabric from 5 or so pieces to some cotton chambray that I bought some time ago with a pattern of what looks like space invaders. I love it. I had to go out specially to buy some plain navy viscose to line it – I don’t often buy boring plain fabric on impulse so I didn’t have anything suitable in my fabric stash. I’d already bought grey ribbing and a zip in readiness for the jacket. I used some leftover orange linen from my Chataigne shorts for the pocket bags:

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I also used it to back a label that I made up using some little labels I ordered before Easter. It’s not very square, but this isn’t my day job!

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I used this method to draft lining pieces for the jacket – it’s basically sleeve, back and front pieces minus the width of the facing, plus seam allowance, plus an extra 1/2″ on the bottom. Then I used Lladybird’s method for attaching the lining; (almost) without any hand-sewing and with all seams enclosed between the lining and the shell (a bagged lining.) I had a bit of a conundrum attaching the sleeve lining, which I had to unpick and re-do, but it’s explained well here (there’s a link to it in Lladybird’s post too)

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I shortened the neck ribbing by 1″ to try and stop it from standing away from my neck, but as you can see here it still does a little bit.

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I’m reasonably happy with my pattern matching overall, although it’s not completely perfect across the zip.

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Camas

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Well, just to break the Grainline trend for a bit (although only temporarily), here are a couple of blouses from Thread Theory, which brought out the Camas blouse (their first pattern for women) back in the spring. I bought it almost straight away as a PDF (and then sort of wished I’d waited, and got the hard copy) and made one up in this anonymous flowery jersey fabric which I bought online. It’s really pretty, but I have no idea what the fibre content is – it feels like viscose, and is extremely fluid and light. Unfortunately after several washes the colours are beginning to look a bit tired – I’m far too lazy to handwash! Continue reading “Camas”

The last throes of summer: more Tiny Pocket Tanks

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Every time I think that summer is fading into autumn, and the relief of cooler days, the sun pops back up and says “hey! How about a nice cup of 35 degrees?” and I have to pull out the summer clothes again. That said, unless we get an Indian summer, I expect that last weekend will have been the last bout of swelter for this year. So in honour of that, here is the last of my summer sewing, in the form of some more Tiny Pocket Tanks.  Continue reading “The last throes of summer: more Tiny Pocket Tanks”