Aug 10, 2010
Readers, have you ever experienced something akin to an out-of-body experience, where you heard your voice saying something entirely independent of your brain, your heart, and all sense of reason?
I did, yesterday, when I swear I caught myself -- in the same pleasing, resonant voice I recognized immediately as my own -- saying to Michael: "I'll make you a suit."
Folks, I'm 99% sure that was me. I'm making Michael a suit and I'm starting today.
In mid-September, Michael's mother turns 70, and she has requested that the entire family sit for a formal portrait, a copy of which she will subsequently hang in the living room (hers). She has made it clear that she wants the men in suits, dress shirts and ties.
Michael decided that he would use the occasion as an excuse to buy himself a new suit.
It won't come as a surprise to any long-time reader of Male Pattern Boldness that I think Michael has bad taste in clothes -- is that wrong to say? He's a very lovely person and a wonderful cook, but when it comes to dressing himself...what's the word....? Oh, yeah: Ugh.
He's a classical singer/math-science person so it should come as no surprise I suppose. Hey, no throwing things! Slowly but surely I have been replacing his wardrobe with my own Shecky Homecky creations. And readers, can I just say up front that it is a big improvement. BIG.
Michael actually does own a suit somewhere in the back of his closet -- something so badly fitting, so nauseatingly moss-hued, so Nineties, that I am loathe to remind him of it.
We were discussing this September-photo-session-from-heck when I had the out-of-body experience I alluded to above. I'm trying to psyche myself up by looking at it as an exercise that will help me make myself a really great suit later on, otherwise I might not be able to find the inspiration.
Those who knew me pre-MPB on Pattern Review will remember that I actually have sewn a suit before -- that warp-print flowered creation up top. My dirty little secret, however, is that while the pants continue to serve me well even if they didn't impress the badly nearsighted Isaac Mizrahi last Saturday night, the jacket has never been worn out of the house: it is unlined and I never added buttons to the sleeves.
I also made this jacket only four months into my sewing career. It took a week and I was really flying blind, but I did end up with a credible garment, albeit one that just hangs you-know-where with the other one. I had some problems with the lining and the back flap which were never remedied. It could also use a good pressing.
Now, these many months later, I approach this new suit project with an entirely new arsenal:
I probably have way more information than I need for this. (I also have Sandra Betzina's Linings A to Z.) Can you think of anything I'm missing? Actually, I don't even want to know.
I'm going to use this vintage pattern I picked up on Etsy months ago and haven't used yet:
So this is what's in store for you guys for the indeterminate future, hopefully interspersed with more entertaining fare.
Readers, what do you think? Should I have simply directed Michael to the nearest Brooks Brothers? Am I up for this project? More importantly: are you?
To be honest, I'm kind of excited. Especially because he's paying for all the materials hence I'll get to use nicer stuff than I'm used to. Better fabrics are much easier to work with -- or so I've been told.
In conclusion, I ask you: What's the most challenging thing you've ever sewn?
Have you ever taken on a really big project that turned out even better than you'd hoped?
Do you think it's a bit much to ask an entire family to sit for a portrait and tell them how to dress for it just because you're turning seventy? (My mother turned eighty and was content with a big salad, a little champagne, and a pair of loud chihuahuas.)
I await your wise counsel.
UPDATE: Check out the suit I made myself in July 2014 here.