Aug 11, 2010
Let's face it: anybody who blogs about a sewing project while the project is underway is asking for trouble.
I liken it to a person who walks around their apartment naked with the blinds pulled up: there's no guarantee anybody's watching but chances are pretty good that somebody's got their eyes on you so you'd better pull your stomach in and give as good as you've got.
I generally don't think of myself as an exhibitionist and don't even tell me what you think. But I realized yesterday upon reading the comments I received regarding Michael's suit project that I have placed myself center stage and the house is filling up. I just hope I'm believable in the role.
You may or may not know that I have a theater background; I made quite a name for myself on the children's theater circuit way back when. I bring this up because, like all performers. despite stage fright, when the house lights dim and the curtain rises, we do tend to remember our lines and not fall on our faces. I guess what I'm trying to say is, Thank you for showing up to my little sewing show and I hope you enjoy today's installment of How to Sew a Men's Suit. The use of recording devices is strictly prohibited.
Now on with the show!
So yesterday Michael and I went fabric shopping. I know a lot of you are going to have strong reactions to what I am about to say but I ask that you please just read to the end and don't get your proverbial panties in a knot.
First we went to that favorite dive of dives, H&M fabrics on 35th Street. I wanted to get a sense of what was out there, starting on the low end. They actually had some very attractive wool suiting which, from what I could tell from the bolts with labels, was made in China. Friends, I have great respect for the Chinese culture. But when it comes to high quality wool suiting, well, China doesn't immediately spring to mind -- maybe some day and who knows, maybe now. They had quite a nice selection however, and it was all $10/yd., which for me is a bit high but I am not paying, as you know.
One of my strengths when it comes to shopping is that I don't have to look at a million things; in fact, I'd rather choose from among, say, ten fabrics, pick whichever I like best, and call it a day. But I definitely wanted to see more than what was available at H&M. I should add that Michael brought his little "Color Me Beautiful" swatches, given to him by a professional consultant who did his entire family's colors. (I think Michael is a "fall.") He is extremely committed to his palette. Fine.
Our next stop was Metro Textiles, which many of you have either visited or read about. It's run by the notorious Kashi, who has a good reputation and some terrific stuff for sale at decent prices. I trust him.
I wasn't sure he carried men's suiting but he does. And that my friends, is where we bought our fabric!
It's Loro Piana, according to Kashi, imported from Italy, and who am I to argue? It's a gorgeous, medium weight, tiny houndstooth. I bought five yards (60") for $18/yd. I also picked up some Bemberg rayon for lining.
I hope you like it because you are going to be seeing a lot of it in the days ahead. It fits perfectly in Michael's palette; he likes it and that's what matters most, no?
Meanwhile, I cut my pattern. Fifty-seven pieces. I don't think I'll be making the vest.
I've also been amassing my supplies and tools. I do have a clapper, a point presser, a seam roll, a tailor's ham, a bamboo pointer -- and an iron. And a loop turner! I don't have a sleeve board. I already have some hair canvas. I know I need stay tape (preferably linen) and thread, among other things.
A big question concerns interfacing: I watched most of the Jackets for Real People DVD and they're a big proponent of fusible interfacing (their own brand). I am leaning toward sew-in interfacing -- it sounds like it's just the higher quality, albeit somewhat more painstaking, option. I do have a very nice weft-weight woven fusible I like; I just don't know...
I'm guessing the majority of you are going to say don't use fusible on a high quality fabric like this. Maybe not. I'm more concerned about finding the right weight interfacing, fusible or no. I need to do some more research.
To prep the fabric I'm going to use the method recommended at Off the Cuff, where you throw the fabric in the dryer with a damp towel for 40 minutes. I used this method with some wool crepe last fall with good results. I cannot find it within my heart to pay to have this fabric professionally steamed.
Friends, that's it. Your comments have been most helpful and encouraging and I thank you for them. I am trying to keep the stakes low. I'm a big proponent of the saying, "Anything that's worth doing, is worth doing badly." (Think about it.)
Have I forgotten anything?