|Cabrera/Meyers, Classic Tailoring Techniques, p. 178|
So I've hit already my first snag, readers, and I've hardly even started.
Things got off to a rather good start. Yesterday I experimented with stitching and pressing my pinstripe wool. Using standard Coats & Clark thread and my Singer 201 set at approximately 12 stitches per inch, I stitched together a few sample pieces of my fabric and pressed open my seams, using a piece of thinnish muslin as my press cloth and lots of steam. The results were pleasing.
Next, I attached my pocket facings and yoke to my side pockets pieces. For pocketing I'm using high quality black cotton shirting -- the last of a roll I found on the street two years ago. I really loved that fabric. Tailoring books would have you use special pocketing fabric called "Silesia," but I don't think they have it even at Steinlauf & Stoller. Anyway, this is more than adequate and very, very strong. All good.
Now here is why I wanted to skip the Cabrera Classic Tailoring Techniques: A Construction Guide for Menswear. They suggest you make something called a crotch reinforcement. Friends, I have never made a crotch reinforcement before, but the idea makes sense. You're making a pair of pants that's not going to get thrown into the laundry on a regular basis, and as anyone who has working knowledge of the male anatomy knows, leaks do occur. A reinforcement also makes the crotch area stronger and less apt to stretch.
I followed directions, cutting a 7" square of cotton, folding it in half along the bias, and ironing it into a....wait -- you can read the directions in the top pic. Unfortunately, my reinforcement would curve only so much, and edges certainly didn't match those of my pants. Perhaps with a more shallow crotch, this could work, but not my pattern.
I stitched it on as per the instructions, but it looked awful. Was the fabric supposed to lie flat or not? The instructions don't say and the photo is vague.
I shot a frantic email to my friend Mainley Dad, who copied me very similar-sounding instructions for a crotch reinforcement in David Coffin's book Making Trousers. It sounded to Duane like the reinforcement was supposed to lie flat, however.
I also referred to Jane Rhinehart's OOP book, How to Make Men's Clothes. Her crotch reinforcement looks flat, and is cut as a single layer. (Remember that the area will be rounded in the final garment, hence my uncertainty.)
Readers, this is why having too many tailoring books can be confusing. Finally, I decided I would simply deal with this issue tomorrow, meaning today.
I even looked through the few pair of dress pants I own, but sadly none of them have crotch reinforcements like this, though I did discover a wide variety of funky looking messes down there.
Friends, how would you tackle this problem? Do you or a man in your life own pants with a crotch reinforcement you wish to share with us? -- without the man in them, of course. Is this a solution in search of a problem, like the Pintastic? How necessary is this and can the need be alleviated with better hygiene? I should mention that the instructions for my pants, McCall's 4359, never mention a crotch reinforcement. Maybe I'll look for a sample pair of good pants at the Salvation Army -- you'd be surprised what can be found there or maybe you wouldn't.
I remind myself that these will not be the last pair of dress pants I make, and that I will no doubt learn a lot from making these, crotch reinforcement or no crotch reinforcement.
In closing, I hope you haven't found today's post in any way distasteful. We're all adults here, or very mature teens.
Would you skip the reinforcement altogether? Cut the reinforcement flat to meet the edges of my fabric?
What would you do?