This week marks the end of London’s Fashion Week Men’s so it seemed fitting to share some menswear I have made as I dip my toe into sewing for men, (one man in particular). In terms of design I find menswear really interesting; I’m someone who likes boundaries to work within and to keep things timeless. The restriction of working with trousers, shirts, jackets, suits and the odd waistcoat allows more room for unusual cuts, intersting details and more creative fabric choices. I like a playful twist on a classic design, think Paul Smith signature stripes on an inside seam or a brightly coloured top stitching thread I recently discovered Private White VC because the factory is in Manchester and 90% of the raw materials are sourced within 40 miles of the factory, all the cuts are classic and put quality first. Before embarking on designing and making a tailored suit, I kept it simple and made a shirt and a tie.
First I made a tie, I’m not around anyone who wears a tie on a regular basis, so ties come out only for special occasions and they still hold a novelty value. I used a free pattern from Craftsy and the construction was relatively straightforward, apart from turning it inside out, which required a lot of patience and a knitting needle, but it ironed flat easily enough. Once you’ve grasped sewing in straight lines, this is an entry level project and a great scrap buster. It can be easily personalised for presents. It was slim pickings when I was choosing fabric in our local fabric shop so this geometric cotton fabric print would not be my first choice. Most tie’s on the highstreet are polyester or microfibre, which has a similiar look to silk. I was look for paisley print or Liberty print that wasn’t too floral, and I just couldn’t find anything locally that worked.
Secondly I made a shirt, I watched the #Mansewing series by The Stitch Sisters that sign posted me to a Simplicty Shirt Pattern 8427 by MimiG. It is a simple shirt pattern; with the choice of club or spread collar and standard or French cuffs. What appealed to me about the pattern was that is it came with a free Sew a long video which helped me through making new construction techniques; cuffs, plackets and a collar.
For the fabric I used brushed cotton tartan from Minerva Crafts so it has a bit more weight than a classic shirting. I opted for the classic collar and cuffs and chose a tartan print so it would be more relaxed.
What I like about sewing menswear is all the structure created by pleats and plackets.
Finally I added this label from Kylie and the Machine that are now being stocked in the UK, I bought mine online from Sarah from Like Sew Amazing. The shirt was a Christmas present, so I wanted to add something special, I think the sentiment sums up how I feel about turning a flat piece of fabric into something to wear.
The shirt was a success, one of Rob’s friends and my Dad asked me to make them one. I’m not sure I’m ready to take comissions just yet, or how sustainable it will be, as I’m a slow sewer, but I feel inspired to make some more menswear to take on the new challenge.
I had planned to take a pattern cutting course at Manchester College last September, (but I wasn’t able to commit because of my health *eye roll*) but I wanted to make a mens’ suit as the final project, to really push my skills and see it all come together in one final piece. But as Rob only wears a suit about twice a year, I thought it would be better investments in my time, per wear to make a pair of mens jeans. I came across Thread Theory which is an Indie Pattern company based in Canada, the patterns are avaliable via PDF so I think i’ll make the Quadra Jeans as a Birthday Present for Rob, but that’s not until June so it gives me a bit of time to perfect my technique.
Until next time
Claire & Co.