Man Sewing: A long awaited pair of trousers

Look, I did some unselfish sewing! A pair of Thread Theory Jedediah Trousers for Monsieur.

  

I cut these trousers out before we moved into our new house in March. That means that they sat in the corner of my sewing room for two months before I started sewing them together, and then for another month when I made a mistake and put them back in the corner in disgust. Talk about slack! I managed to get them finished at the beginning of June, but its taken me until this weekend to get him to stand still for long enough for me to get some photos of them. He’s been wearing them quite a bit since they were finished, so thats why they’re a bit creased.

 

I thought they would be a pretty straightforward job, the Jedediah shorts that I made him over the summer worked out fine with minimal pattern changes. Unfortunately, I was wrong! They gave me serious grief, and I still can’t figure out why. My first problem arose when he tried them on for the first fitting, and couldn’t get them over his calves. That was a pretty easy fix, I just let the outer leg seam out below the knee. They’re still pretty snug, but he shouldn’t bust out of them when he’s walking up a hill!

 The next fitting problem is what got them banished to the corner again, and which I still havn’t fully resolved.  I just can’t get these ones to fit across the front, there was a whole lot of fabric pooling across the front between the pockets and the fly. I managed to minimise it slighly by taking them in a bit at the side seams, but it still wasn’t perfect. I read Heathers’ post on her fitting adventures with the Ginger Jeans pattern, and realised that putting the waistband on might help with the way they fit, so I got the Jedediahs out of the corner and tried them with the waistband. Its better, but still not perfect. The only thing I can think of is that the slightly heavier cotton twill I made this version in made them fit differently to the lighter weight cotton I made the shorts out of…but they’re wearable, and as well fitting as his RTW jeans, so it could be worse.

 
They fit pretty well from the back, though I could probably take some width out of the thigh next time. I’m pleased with my flat felled seams this time, they’re much neater and straighter than the last lot. The pockets are much more symmetrical too.

  

I shortened the belt loops by about a centimetre on these trousers, and put one at each of the side seams at Monsieurs request. He likes to use them to haul his trousers back up to his waist, so the ones on his shorts being off centre were causing him problems…I also had a go at using topstitching thread on the waistband and beltloops, as well as around the pocket edges. That was a mission! My machine was not happy with the thick Gütterman topstitching thread and several layers of heavy twill, even with standard thread in the bobbin. But I persevered, and with a lot of hand cranking of my needle I got it done.

 
I used some scraps of navy polka dotted polyester for the pockets, as the lovely cotton I used in his shorts has been ripped to shreds. Hopefully the polyester will be up to the rigours of a pocketful of screws or rivets or whatever else he’s carrying around with him…

   

My final hurdle came when he tried them on after the final fitting adjustments, when I realised that I didn’t have enough length to turn them up twice and stitch the hem. So I just used some bias tape to turn them up, and stitched that down with the topstitching thread again. 

So that I don’t forget for net time, I need to

  • Widen the legs from the knee down by about 1.5cm
  • Take about 1.5cm off the side seams at the hip
  • Lengthen legs by about 5cm
  • Shorten belt loops by 1cm
  • Increase depth of pocket bags by several cm.

He’s wearing them a lot, so they aren’t too bad, but I’ll try and get them to fit better next time! The cotton twill I used this time seems to be wearing much better than the stuff I used for his shorts, that fabric discoloured and looked worn so quickly! Its a bit disapointing. 

 
I’ll leave you with this picture of his best Blue Steel. This is what happens when I ask for nice photos… 

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Man Sewing: Jedediah Shorts

One of my resolutions for this year was to do more unselfish sewing, because until I clear out my wardrobe (long overdue) I don’t have a lot of room/need for more clothes for me! That won’t stop me, of course, but its nice to break things up a bit. I’ve been promising to make Monsieur some clothes for months (probably about 12 of them…whoops), and as summer arrived we realised he didn’t really have any shorts. As I had just had success with the Maritime Shorts pattern, I felt brave enough to tackle the Jedediah Pants/shorts pattern from Thread Theory.

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I was apprehensive about sewing a garment for someone else which required tailored fitting, but I suppose men are probably more simple to fit than women! Luckily the shorts fit pretty well straight out of the packet, they just needed some adjustment around the hips and knees. Monsieur has pretty muscular legs (from spending all of his spare time running up Wellingtons many hills), and we were initially a bit concerned that the legs would be too slim on him, especially towards the knee. I cut out the size 30, which was what his measurements indicated, and then added an inch to each of the outer leg seams at the hem, tapering to nothing further up the leg.

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Once I had the legs sewn together and could try them on him, I realised that they were a bit big around his bum, making them balloon out around his hips (jodhpur-like was how he described them). Because I already had the pockets in, I wasn’t sure how I’d fix it without major deconstruction, but I unpicked the side seams to below the pockets, and trimmed about 5/8″ off the back, tapering down the leg to meet the original line. It was a bit of a quick and nasty fix, but it worked like a dream! They fit pretty well, at least as well as any of the RTW shorts he’s tried in similar styles. For once I’ve remembered to take proper notes about what changes I made, so the next pair should be pretty simple.

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And there will be a next pair! He’s worn these ones every day since I finished them, and has requested a pair of the trousers as well. The shorts are made of a nice cotton, I think its a drill (maybe??) from the Fabric Store, the same stuff I used for my Maritime Shorts but in another colour way. It was quite hard to photograph, it looks much brighter in the beach pictures than in real life, but not as dull as the flat photos…I used scraps from my Christmas Flora for the pockets, which looks pretty nifty. The slash pocket construction was pretty interesting, with the facings being sewn to each edge of the single pocket piece, which was then folded in half when it was attached to the shorts. I found the size of the pockets a bit surprising, they don’t go nearly as far across the front of the trousers as the ones on my Maritime shorts. Given that Monsieur (and most blokes, I imagine) have significantly bigger hands than me, and actually keeps stuff in his pockets, I would have expected them to be bigger! They’re big enough for his phone and wallet though, so I guess thats ok.

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I’m pretty happy with my sewing on these, there are lots of nice touches included in the pattern which make them look very professional. The topstitching on the pockets and the flat felled seams make a difference! I’ve never done flat felled seams before, and for the most part they worked very well. Unfortunately, there is a small section near the centre seam on the yoke where the topstitching obviously didn’t quite catch the folded fabric, and the edge has pulled out of the seam. Hopefully it shouldn’t be catastrophic to the structural integrity of the shorts, but it looks a bit rough. I’m sad I didn’t catch it until I was too far through the construction to want to unpick everything to fix it…

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I’m also obsessed with my bar tacks, they look so cool!

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(this photo is probably the closest to the actual colour of the shorts)

And I’m pretty chuffed with the fly, too.

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Best of all, he really likes them. He’s even worn them to work, though I’m not sure they’re quite within the dress code (he insists there isn’t one, so ok…)! I might try and get some similar fabric in grey, or some more of the khaki colour I used for mine (then we’ll have to coordinate outfits so we’re never matching, I’m not being half of one of those couples!)

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