Jedediah Shorts (sharing the linen love around)

Even though I do a fairly brutal wardrobe clear out every 6 months, I’m still reaching the point where my handmade wardrobe is well stocked with the sort of every day basics that I live in, and enough ‘special occasion’ outfits to last me several years (maybe I need to get out more?). Instead of sewing less (ridiculous idea), I’m trying to sew more for others. So far this year I’ve made a shift dress for my Mum, and another pair of Jedediah Shorts for Hamish, both in linen from The Fabric Store.

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This is the third time I’ve made the Jedediah pattern (first and second here), though its the first time for a few years. The notes I made in my other blog posts were okay, but I hadn’t altered the pattern or anything helpful at the time so I was a bit sketchy about exactly what I needed to do. I took a wedge off the side seams at the top, tapering to nothing at mid thigh, and then I added half an inch to the width at the hem front and back (so an extra inch in width for each leg). I also remembered having some weird problems with too much fabric between the pockets and the fly on the trousers that I made, so I took a tiny sliver of fabric out there too.

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I basted them all together and got him to try them on, and they were skin tight. I probably should have remeasured him, rather than going off the numbers I had from years ago…I’ve learned my lesson there! Luckily I was able to let the side seams out all the way down the leg to get the fit he was looking for. I’ll need to go back and add that wedge I initially removed back into the pattern, along with a bit more width down the side seam…the adjustment I made across the front hip worked nicely though, so I’ll keep that!

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In some ways it’s good that these started out a bit snug, as the heavyweight linen I used has relaxed significantly, as linen does. The bum does get a bit baggy in these shorts, but it seems to return to its original shape after a wash! This is the same stuff that I backed my cushions in, but in the gravel colourway, and it’s really nice. It’s smooth and soft, and nicely opaque. No underpants on show here! I sewed these as I would a pair of jeans, with flat felled seams and top-stitching and bar tacks. I was going to put silver rivets at the pockets, but that idea was vetoed before I got the hammer out. The pockets are a striped grey and white stretch cotton that I fished out of the scrap bin. At Hamish’s request, I increased the depth of the pocket by 2”, he wanted them to be deep enough for his iPhone to fit in without it peeking out of the pocket opening. The linen definitely develops stretched points where the corners of his phone put pressure on the fabric, but he doesn’t seem to mind about that!

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The tee shirt he’s wearing here is another one of the GBSB Fashion with Fabric tees that I’ve made (and blogged about) before. This one is also merino, but it’s a super lightweight loop-backed merino/lycra blend remnant that I picked up somewhere. Initially I was going to make myself leggings out of it, but it had a flaw that I couldn’t figure out how to cut around, to Hamish’s gain! He wears the three tee shirts I’ve made from this pattern constantly, it’s rather gratifying. I’m going to make some long sleeved tops for him for winter, I just need to get around to printing out the Strathcona Henley pattern…

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He seems pretty happy with them, he’s certainly been wearing them lots in this hot weather! Zelda was in peak fiend mode the morning we took these pictures, she was just determined to get involved! She’s always worried about missing out on something…

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Unselfish Knitting

It’s a bit weird, I absolutely hate sewing for other people, but I rather like unselfish knitting. Maybe it’s because I know that there are only so many hand knitted things I need for myself, but I really like the process of knitting, so knitting gifts gets around that problem. I also find that people really appreciate hand knitted gifts (or maybe I only knit for people I know will appreciate it), which is always nice. I decided I was going to knit a scarf for Hamish for his birthday…last year. I got it done on time too, but it’s taken me just over a year to get photographs of it! Such a bad blogger.

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This is another Brooklyn Tweed pattern, the Guilder Scarf by Jared Flood. It was the first thing I made in Zealana Heron, and it definitely made me want to knit my Bronwyn Sweater in it! I picked the Bottle Green colourway, I thought it would be more interesting than grey or black (which is mostly what he wears in the winter), and I like the way it looks on him.

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This was an ambitious pattern for me to pick a year ago, the cable pattern is pretty dense and it took me a lot longer to knit than I expected! To be honest, I was wildly optimistic and decided I was going to knit this a month out from his birthday, so any pattern was going to be a stretch. I must have worked on it every spare minute of that month, trying to keep it hidden from him was a nightmare! This pattern taught me a bunch of new techniques, it was the first time I had done a tubular cast on and tubular cast off, and the first time I tried knitting an I-cord. The I-cord edging is a really nice feature of this pattern, it looks so tidy and I love how it matches the rounded edge created by the tubular cast on/off.

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I did manage to get it finished in time, though I was sewing the Kitchener stitch for the bind off on my way home from work on his birthday! I think it was only wrapped up for about 20 minutes between me finishing it and me giving it to him over his birthday dinner. Consequently, it’s unblocked. I meant to block it after giving it to him, but unsurprisingly I’ve never got around to it. It’s actually pretty even, and doesn’t look like it desperately needs it! He wore it lots last winter, and when I realised that he’d taken it away with us at Easter, I took my chance to get some photos at last.

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I also took my chance to get some photos of one of the merino tee shirts I made him for Christmas. The pattern is the Men’s Classic Tee Shirt pattern from the Great British Sewing Bee Fashion with Fabric book. It’s a slightly drop shouldered tee pattern with sleeve cuffs, which I have just hemmed like usual because they kept unfolding and were driving him nuts. I’ve made him three tee shirts from this pattern now, they fit him pretty well and he wears them all the time. This one looks too tight and wrinkly in these pictures, but I think it’s just a bit twisted because he took his jumper off just before I took these photos! It is a slim fitting tee-shirt, which he likes. This one and the first one I made are sewn up in merino jersey from The Fabric Store, and the third is made in a really lightweight merino loop-backed sweatshirting. I sewed them all up on the overlocker, and used a twin needle for hemming and top stitching the neckbands.

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I’m really glad he likes both the scarf and the tee shirts, it’s nice to see him wearing things I’ve made. He wanted to know how I wanted him to wear the scarf for his “photo shoot”, and I told him to just wear it like he usually did. Then I looked up from fiddling with the camera to find him like this, so naturally I took a photo and told him I was putting it on the internet. At least his ears/nose won’t be getting cold this winter! I also told him he didn’t need to put his jumper on for these photos (it was pretty warm), and he told me that he’d look ridiculous, as he’d never wear a scarf with bare arms. So that was me told! I’ll need to get him to style my photo shoots sometimes…

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… 

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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Man Sewing

Monsieur has been nagging asking nicely if I could make him some tee shirts ever since I figured out how to use the overlocker, and I finally relented last weekend. Its only taken me about five months! He’s a slightly difficult shape to clothe, my boyfriend, he’s tall and broad shouldered, but slim through the body. He also has very long limbs (gibbon arms!), and so finding him garments which fit his torso and waist which are long enough in the sleeves or legs is difficult! I would like to be able to tailor him clothes, but I’ve always found the idea of sewing menswear really intimidating…so I thought a standard tee shirt pattern would probably be a good place to start.

Of course, I didn’t make a standard tee shirt. Instead, I had a crack at taking a pattern off one of his existing tee shirts. And not just any teeshirt, this one has curved raglan sleeve seams and a forward set side and sleeve seam. Why make things easy, right? To take the pattern, I laid the teeshirt out on a roll of wrapping paper (it was all I could find that was big enough aside from newspaper, and the wrapping paper was easier to deal with) and used a pin to prick through the seam lines on the tee shirt onto the paper. This worked well for the front and back panels, but when I got to the sleeves I was a bit stumped! Happily, Monsieur is an engineer, and “makes 3D curved shapes into 2D flat ones all day” according to him. With a bit of maths on his part, and a bit of cutting out curves and shifting them around on mine, we had a shape that I thought would work. I’m very glad that I invested in a french curve before embarking on this project!

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This is what my pattern ended up looking like. That amorphous blob shape is the sleeve, believe it or not. Definitely the oddest looking teeshirt I’ve ever cut out! I had some nice inky coloured merino set aside for this, bought during the Fabric Store midwinter sale. I also decided to try out some of the fancy techniques I learned during the overlocking course I took last month, so the whole tee shirt is sewn with flat-locked seams.

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These photos sort of show the curved panels which make up the shirt, it was really hard to photograph! The side seams curve up the front of the tee shirt almost like princess seams (I didn’t say that to Monsieur), and the back panel wraps around and up under the arm, so that the sleeve seam is also rotated forward. I really like how the flat-locked seams look, but unfortunately they don’t seem to be strong enough for this sort of garment. They’re already pulling apart, after only one wear! There is slightly more tension on them than there should be, because I forgot to add a seam allowance to the pattern before I cut it out, rookie mistake! It fits very neatly indeed…

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So I’ll call it a wearable muslin. I’m really pleased with the way the pattern came out, it was very exciting seeing all of the pieces fit together so neatly! Monsieur is also pleased with it, though he says he’ll probably keep this one for wearing while working on his car or something. The risk of him hulking out of it is a bit high for him to go out in public in it! Next time I might try overlocking the seams with a narrow stitch, then flat-lock them just for looks.

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Has anyone got any tips for doing a flat-locked seam on a knit? All tips and tricks appreciated!