While I’m self isolating (and I hope you are too!), I’ve decided to take on a tailoring project.
It’s interesting to see what the sewing community is turning towards during this troubled time. Doing a deep dive into one’s stash seems to be popular. Or maybe breaking out that fabric that’s always seemed too precious or finicky is now on the table. For me, a tailoring project seems like both a worthwhile use of my time, and a comfort. Sitting by a window, looking out over the marina, basting and hand sewing seems like a balm right now.
I haven’t done a project with lots of “in process” posts for a long while. And I’ve had some requests for more tailoring. So I’m planing on documenting this project more thoroughly. I’m by no means a tailoring expert, but I’ll share my process, which should prove that anyone can make a “respectable” tailored garment. If I can do this, anyone can.
And so we begin…..
I’ve found myself looking at this Ron Collins pattern over and over. It’s not exactly new. It was released in 2017. But it really stands out amidst all the historical costumes that dominate the men’s sewing scene. Apparently, the big four think that men are only interested in clothes from another century. It’s a sad state of affairs. That’s why I usually pick up a vintage pattern on Etsy or eBay. Long gone are the days of patterns from Bill Blass, Pierre Cardin, Calvin Klein, Halston or Christian Dior. So this pattern jumps out as something contemporary. Something I might actually want to wear.
My fabric is this dark indigo crosshatched seersucker by Merchant & Mills. Like the pattern, I’d been eyeing it for a long time on the Oak Fabrics website. (It also comes in black and a dark gray).
I’ll admit it….I’m totally taken by the whole Merchant & Mills esthetic. Clearly I’m not alone because they have a pop-up shop at Liberty.
This video may be the antidote to self isolation. So let go, and be transported for the next 5 minutes.
I finally requested a swatch, and I was instantly sold when it arrived. Because it’s a lightweight cotton I’ll be underlining the jacket with silk organza from Gorgeous Fabrics. This is a structure technique that I’ve not done before, so there’ll be something new to learn for all of us. Clearly, this will be the most luxurious casual jacket I’ll ever make! But by making our own clothes, all types of luxury are possible.
Here’s another source of inspiration. These clothes are from Engineered Garments, the work of Japanese designer Daiki Suzuki. I’m always eager to see his clothes, season to season. I see his designs as kind of a mashup between American work wear and schoolboy prep, with a uniquely Japanese flavor. I love the combinations of fabrics, and feel my seersucker would fit right in with any of these looks. But…. I’m veering way off track here!
Back to V9262.
Muslin #1. OK, First impression……This is a very slim fitting jacket. Way too slim for me. There are darts both front and back and a considerable amount of shaping through the sides. Like most tailored jackets this pattern has fronts, side panels and a back. So there are 4 seams that can be adjusted. I added a 1/2″ at each seam (A total of 2″ around) and still had trouble aligning the center fronts.
Oh, you’re also getting to see my “N95 compliant” facial hair for the first time!
The sleeves also strike me as being unusually long. I’ll need to shorten them by a full 2″. A guy would have to have very long arms to achieve the look indicated on the pattern.
Even on the model, the sleeves are too long IMO. Usually one would want a bit of shirt cuff to be showing. Somewhere in the vicinity of 1/2″. How they’ve managed to do that on his right and not on the left is a bit suspicious! Bottom line, you may not be able to achieve what’s presented on the envelope.
This jacket is, however, shorter than standard. I checked the measurement from the back of the neck to the waist, and according to the charts in Lori Knowles pattern making text for menswear, this jacket is 1″ shorter through the body. Because I wear a men’s short, I will be taking 3/4′ out of the body. That will get me a little closer to the intended design.
The other fit issues are my usual.
This illustrates my biggest fit issue. My rounded upper back (dowager’s hump) which causes the collar to pull away from my neck. You can also see that the shoulder seam is too far back, not at the apex of my shoulder. If you have one of these issues you usually have both. They kind of go hand in hand.
In my next post I’ll show how I try to fix these issues. It will be part success and part total F$&* up. Stay tuned!