Readers, what a day I had yesterday! First laundry, which involved washing the approximately 40 dirty dog diapers we use weekly instead of wee wee pads for Freddy and Willy. (Don't ask and pass the Lysol.)
Then the suit project, the suit project, the suit project!
How did we leave it at the end of yesterday's show? Oh, yes: I was going to go to Greenberg & Hammer and purchase the necessary notions to get started. And readers, that's precisely what I did! Only Greenberg & Hammer was closed for the week so I had to go to Steinlauf and Stoller instead. And guess what? They were very nice to me. It was the late afternoon and the store was calm. They had nearly everything I needed.
I'm too lazy to print out all the goodies, so here's my shopping list:
And here's my score: various widths of twill tape, hair canvas, lambswool, decent quality shoulder pads, buttonhole twist, thimble, needles, waistband canvas -- the works!
I didn't get the silk thread: it was expensive at $10 a spool and I couldn't remember if it needed to match the "outer cloth" or not. You're not supposed to call men's suiting "fabric" or didn't you know?
They didn't have linen canvas for the collar, or felted wool undercollar cloth, but I'll improvise with some canvas tie interfacing I have and find the felt elsewhere. They also don't carry Silesia, and they only had the cheap Dritz hook and eye packages which aren't what I really wanted for the pants. Anyway, I'm 90% of the way there.
Look, I've even started practicing my hand stitching:
Later in the day I thought, since yesterday's Barney's blazer disemboweling was such a hit, maybe I'd pick up another men's jacket -- something of lesser quality I could rip to shreds and compare and contrast here. That would be fun, no?
So I go to the Salvation Army and I find this gray Hugo Boss blazer, Size 38, too big for me -- perfect for deconstructing. All the way home I'm thinking of snappy blog entry titles like: "Peter tells Hugo who's Boss."
At home, I show it to Michael and on a whim, ask him to try it on. Well you can probably guess what happened next.
He likes it. And it doesn't fit him badly either.
Readers, if I'd known all I had to do was find him a jacket at the Salvation Army....!
So we've decided to use it as our back-up, just in case I don't get the suit jacket finished in time for the September photo shoot. It's always good to have a Plan "B," right?
Meanwhile, I found a used hardcover copy of the Roberto Cabrera book, Classic Tailoring Techniques: A Construction Guide for Menswear on eBay for the very decent "Buy It Now" price of $37.77, including shipping. (The softcover version is $55 at the FIT bookstore.) I should get that within the week.
I also stumbled upon and joined The Cutter and Tailor website, which has a ton of information about tailoring techniques and some fantastic tutorials. Very inspiring if a little over my head. Do you know it?
Oh, before I forget: Jane Rhinehart, in How to Make Men's Clothes insists that anyone making a suit start with the pants first. She explains, "You will see progress faster, and what you learn in making pants will shorten the time it takes to make a first coat. Pants tailoring is elementary -- you can get superlative results with the first pair."
So I think that's what I'm going to do. And I think I can get them done in a week. Because in one week -- and here's where I haven't been completely forthcoming with you, my friends -- I'm....going on vacation again!
I know, I know...I was just on vacation for five days on Fire Island. But that was sort of an unplanned vacation. Our planned vacation is the week after next, in Provincetown, Cape Cod. It's only one week and I promise that upon my return I will throw myself into the suit jacket project with laser-like focus. It is August, after all. You Europeans understand, right? Five days does not a summer vacation make.
Oh, one more Rhinehart-related tidbit: She'd have you draft the pants from scratch rather than use a commercial pattern; she lays out all the instructions. Since I do have some experience with drafting a pants pattern, I think I'm going to ditch the vintage McCall's pants pattern and use Michael's own measurements.
I should also mention, for those who weren't crazy about the McCall's pattern, I also have the contemporary Burda 7842 men's sports jacket pattern as a fallback.
Friends, that is it. I hope to get started on drafting Michael's pants pattern today. And yes, I'll make a muslin.
In closing, have you ever secretly preferred some skanky old thrift store cast-off to a really good quality garment you bought at, say, Nordstroms, or --perish the thought -- was lovingly sewn for you?
Does your DH prefer his ancient, saggy Fruit of the Loom boxer shorts to the beautiful new ones you painstakingly flat-felled for him?
Is he "saving" yours because they're too good to wear? Bad sign.
Have a great day, everyone!
Please stay tuned for Green Acres -- coming up right after these commercial messages!
I'm a native New Yorker and sewing fanatic! I started sewing in 2009 and today make all my own clothes using vintage sewing machines and vintage patterns. I also sew for private clients. Welcome to the warm and whimsical world of Male Pattern Boldness, where the conversation is sewing, style, fashion, fabric, and more!