This man here will always challenge my husband’s position in my heart.   I made this shirt for his birthday in time to mail it to him as a surprise.  When he got it, he thought it was the pants to the suit I started 2 years ago.  No such luck buddy! Those pants will be finished soon, but with a different material for the waistband and the pockets.  You see, when I made the suit coat, I ran out of fabric to finish the pants.  Besides, I doubt seriously he will be able to fit the pants by now.

Some people say they don’t like sewing for family.  Well, not me…I LOVE sewing for my family.  Especially, when they aren’t picky about what I make and how I make it.  They give me the freedom to just create, with no specific deadlines, besides the ones I place on myself, and their happiness when I see them wearing the garment.  I just love it!!! For REAL!!!  ((((-:  Big grins on my face.

I made this from a fine shirting fabric I bought from the one of the only folks I buy shirting, The Wool House, while at a sewing convention in Atlanta or LA some years back.  The only way to buy from them other than going to their store in Canada, which I think is still open, is to see them at any sewing expo or conference they might frequent.  I know he will be at the upcoming International Quilt Festival here in Houston this coming month.  Of course, I will be stocking up again.  The last time I went to New York to purchase fabric, namely, fine shirting fabric such as this, it was not happening.  The minimum purchase requirements for my business were higher than I wanted to spend and the retail cost were astronomical.  So waiting once each year to see him here, is well worth it to me. 
Kwiksew 2777 Men’s shirt cut in size medium/small.

Construction Details:
The pattern is Kwiksew 2777.  I cut a size a size medium for the shoulders, and graded down to a size small at the waist and arms.  The Shirt runs really large, so since this pattern was custom fit to him, I’m sorry, but its hard to remember all that I have done to this pattern to get it to fit him.  I have made this one for him and my dad several times.  Sometimes, I just don’t blog everything.  Here are a few close-ups for you to enjoy.

The pocket is there, you just need to look very closely.

I used a flat felled seam treatment for the entire garment.  Both the side seams and the sleeves seams. It was kinda hard getting into that sleeve, but well worth it in the long run.
The sleeve placket was very easy, I just followed the technique used by the pattern.
The collar was cut with the opposite side of the fabric for contrast.  The back yoke was cut with a center seam so I could get the chevron affect.
Thanks for following along.  I so loved doing this shirt.  It’s time for another one.  I guess I better get that one completed for my husband next, right?

After an unusually long respite, I now question myself on my organization and planning skills.  But I say to you “What does tailoring have in common with quilting?”  Is there a special skill required besides a single straight stitch, what mathematical calculations or algebraic algorithms are required to become skilled in the art of piecing squares and triangles, binding edges, planning fabric, and sorting techniques.  Could they be one in the same when time is considered.  I know precision is a necessary component in the equation.  Yet, now, I am convinced that there is more.

Menswear tailoring

The suit Jacket was finished in March and engagement photos were taken then as well.  But it’s no secret, by now, that I didn’t finish for his birthday! (I intended to finish Last Year 2014!!!)  I had all intentions of doing something fast and furious.  This time, I think maybe I bit off more than I could chew given the timeframe and all the holiday affair, moving my sewing room, and, of course his brides wedding dress.  I believe I know what I’m doing, but am I a perfectionist to a fault?  I saw several other options for designing his jacket and pants, and they all included unlined, patch pocketed, floppy lapeled renditions of a mans sport coat.  None of which I wanted to make.  Here ye, here ye, though I did often try to figure a way off the path I had already started, a direction of which there was no return.  The jacket was cut to be a fully lined, multi-pocketed, pad stitched, lapeled, sport coat with working sleeve vents and tail.  I was in it to win it now.  Yet, I also had an “heirloom gown” that had to be completed.  More on that later.  Just know, however, that both were for my son and his bride-to-be. Both equally as important.

I’d scratch my head too if I was avoiding saying what I wanted to say about you taking for EEEVAA!! to finish my suit coat.  Come on MOM let’s get this over with can we please????
The scraps after cutting the suit, and I still need to work a waistband out of this, plus welt pockets.  EEEK!!!

Taking off from the gates in such a rushed unorganized manner did cost me dearly. Number one and most importantly, I ran out of fabric to properly cut all the pieces for the entire suit. The fabric, a bamboo linen blend was originally purchased for a women’s suit. Thus, I only had four yards. I usually buy five. Number two, I did not plan which techniques would work best with the style jacket I was making. I usually just stick to the old “long” way of doing things, no tricks, no short cuts, just straight forward simple techniques. But this time, I stirred too far into unfamiliar territory in an effort to finish quickly, trying methods from popular names currently on the sewing horizon. Number three, my tailoring supplies were no longer plentiful since I hadn’t truly done a men’s suit in over 15 years. Why I have stayed away from such a fine art for such a long time, I couldn’t say. What I can say, however, is it hurt my pride for sure, to flutter along so amateurishly. Especially since I had always prided myself for how quickly I could finish any suit, and the fact, I actually have professional training and college in this field, just added salt to the wound.  Does the old saying ring true in this instance: “It’s like riding a bike?” Finally, number four, I had not secured all the findings needed to finish. i.e. buttons, linings, etc.  All the gory details are in this first post here, and the second post here.

I don’t know why he just wasn’t excited to be fitting his jacket…does he suspect it will still be another few months before I get around to finishing.

With the last post, part three, here, regarding the construction of this suit I left you with a “few, yes a few task remaining undone.  Today you shall get the rest in all its glory and this than shall bring this saga to a close.  I owe you at least that much.

This was the To Do List I left you with:  Narrated of course with as many related pictures that I could find from the number of SD camera cards I have been using. They will get my point across.  
  • Shaping and pad stitching of the lapel, roll line and front, (est. 3-4 hours if I’m lucky)  This took more like 15-20 hours, give more for stopping and starting to work on other things and to give my hands a much needed break from the chore.

  • The hair canvas was basted in and roll lines were drawn on to match. 

  •  The pad stitching was done over a “sausage” I created by wrapping a rolled towel inside of a cut of cotton broadcloth.

  • I drew in my pad stitching lines to remind me when to tighten the stitching for the “roll”.  The breast pocket looks a little off because I still needed to stitch it down…I loosened it because I had to flatten it out after I had it hanging over the “bust” on my dress form, which gave it “breast”…lol.  after that, I padded out the form to avoid womanly bulges.

  • Sew in the lining and hem- by hand!  (est. time: 1-2 hours because my hand hurts when I do hand stitching, so I have to take lots of breaks.)  HA!!!  Did I say 1-2 hours..who was I kidding!!!  This was a big stretch to say the least.  
    I decided to include the red piping because it just looks nice in RTW and so I wanted that look here.
  • install inside breast pocket (est. 1-2hours, if I’m not distracted.) 

  • Collars and buttonholes (est time:  “I DON’T KNOW!”)  By now the planning and prepping to make the wedding dress is in full affect and the jacket has been put on serious hold.  It is now December, time to prep for holiday affairs and finalize wedding dress fabric orders, sew muslins and have fittings, while the bride is in town for the holidays.

  •  Underneath the lapel, the pad stitched pricks.

  • Set-in sleeves of body and lining (est. 1-2 hours) It is now February I have moved to my new sewing space that now gives me room to breath and work on the wedding gown.  I have got to hurry, because I have some traveling planned and they have their engagement photo shoot date already set.

  • I am sewing in the collars and making sure it is all flat and non-bulky.  A hard task since I have been handling this for so long.  Some things have shifted or I just forgot what the heck I was doing.  Who knows?  (bug eyes rolling in my head!)

  • Shoulder pads (1 hour maybe)  Well, this is probably the only thing that took the estimated amount of time.  Go figure.  I had to make these.  Forgot to take pics…just take my word for it, they are in there.
  • Sew in the lining and hem- by hand!  (est. time: 1-2 hours because my hand hurts when I do hand stitching, so I have to take lots of breaks.)  Lots of breaks were indeed taken…say about 1 week at a time.  hehe!.
  • I guess he will get the pants in January, or in time for Easter.  LOL.  Insert:::::Loud Laughter!!!! followed by rolling on the floor with tears in my eyes.  It is now November, and they have yet to get done.  HeHe.  I hope he never mentions them!!! 
Did I say this young man is really patient with me!!  I LOVE this Baby Boy of mine. 

Fitting was extremely limited for me.  I was very adamant with him to come over and fit this along the way, yet I did not prevail.  His bride won out on his limited amount of time available for me to work with him.  Prepping for the wedding was starting to test all our patience, and time.  So I just closed it up and “LET it be DONE!!” It is now March 2015!!!  How about that!!.

I did go back and move the top button and added a longer shank so it would not cause a pull under the roll line.

Who’s sleepy in the picture.  Definitely not me.  He was in a real rush to get out of town to meet his finance’ so they can take the engagement pictures. 

The back is slightly big.  But no time to fix it and for being on hiatus from tailoring menswear for 15 years, I think I did a Damn Good job!!!! Now put that in a pipe and smoke it!!!  I”M BACK!!!!

I was really excited that he would be wearing his new jacket for the engagement pictures.  I ended up truly being an integral part of the entire wedding from engagement all the way to the alter.  I love what I do, especially when it makes my family happy.

Thus, I ask again, how very related is tailoring to quilting?  They seem one in the same where planning and preparation is concerned. Most importantly, in this instance, finishing after such a long journey is euphoric.

Until next time….keep on sewing.

I am working on a tailored suit for my son, JP.  I actually promised him a suit as a birthday gift back in 2009.  Of course I know this makes me look like a really bad procrastinator based on the timing of this project.  But let me assure you that I haven’t just been twiddling my thumbs on this one,  I have been quite busy with so many projects, including having made him a shirt along with many other custom alterations.  So, don’t think I totally neglected my baby boy.  Besides, like any good procrastinator I have thought through the entire process ahead of time, and now I am ready to put this behind me.

This is a model not my son…although my son may be more handsome.  
So, I hope you enjoy the process as I share my style of tailoring and the steps I take to get my kind of outcome.  Some of the process will be shortcuts, my way, and other parts you may be familiar with from the Internet or other books.  I don’t really like to take very many shortcuts when I work with menswear, since they wear their clothes longer and harder than women.  
Either way, I am just going to work through my tasks and give you the pictures and points that help me to stay focused as I work. 
The Fitting:
After measuring his chest size(42) and taking the waist, I selected the pattern as listed on the envelope for the size 42 and pants size 38.  It seems that the pants run really small because of the European cut…slim fit.  I tissue fit the jacket front, back and side panel.

The jacket is pinned to the t-shirt

Here he has the pant muslin pinned tightly over the jeans.  I used a muslin to check the fit of the pants.  I had to make it work in this case..since he had just gotten off work and had road the motorcycle for an hour before making it to my house.  (I failed to inform him of the reason for his visit.)  Needless to say, he nor I were willing to venture into a messy fitting.  So, in the true spirit of the “make it work” process, I ripped the pant muslin apart and fitted over his jeans.  I knew how tight to allow it in order for me to check the fit, since the pants pattern is a slim “European” fit.    
Back of the jacket fitting.
I know, that what I’m looking for in the pant fit, is to have enough rise in the back and enough in the front of the crotch, and to check knee placement so I can get the flare correct in order for him to wear his cowboy boots with the suit.  My son!! I would not ever had imagined him loving cowboy boots.  Maybe it was all those years of us going to the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo.
Burda pattern changes and alterations. JP
I will tell you about all the pattern preparations needed for men’s suits compared to the women’s, and all the actual fitting alterations I had to do for JP in the next post.  But for now, here are a few other tidbits on this project.
Fabrication:  I had this really nice Linen/Bamboo in my stock of high end suitings. I say high end, because it is lux for real!!!  I bought it in Los Angeles on a sewing guild trip back in 2010.  I can’t believe how I remember so much about my fabric purchases.  It seems that I have some kind of personal connection with every fiber in my stash.  This one almost didn’t get used for JP’s suit because I have hoarding tendencies.  Does anyone else have that problem?  Because it is a problem, if you are will to admit.