Friends, first the good news: the pants are done. I hemmed them yesterday, pressed them a bit, got 80% of the dog hair off, and actually wore them out of the house.
But you know when people say that something is more than the sum of its parts? Well, for me, these pants are less. I'm proud of the details -- the faux watch pocket flap (that still needs a button), the back welt pocket, the waistband -- but the pants themselves are a bit meh.
For one thing, they're a little too full in the leg for my taste. I could probably still narrow these some if I wanted to, but is it worth it at this point? (I'd have to let down the hems, for one thing.) Maybe I'm just not used to the look of men's dress pants -- I mean, they do look like the pattern envelope, but please note the body proportions of those men -- they are built like Ken dolls (body length = 10 heads); I'm built more like a Chrissy doll (body length = 5 heads).
I think a slimmer leg would be more flattering for a shorter-than-average guy like me. The question is, how much more flattering? I mean, they're worsted wool dress pants, to be worn with a suit jacket. They're supposed to flow a bit, right? Plus, these don't have a sharp front crease yet; maybe that will make a difference. They could also use another pressing and de-linting.
Anyway, I'm ready to move on. Or not.
I think for my next pair of dress pants, I'm going to skip commercial patterns and draft the whole thing myself, using Jane Rhinehart's OOP, How to Make Men's Clothes or the Cabrera/Meyers Classic Tailoring Techniques: A Construction Guide for Men's Wear, or Knowles' The Practical Guide to Patternmaking for Fashion Designers: Menswear, all of which I already own, and what's the point of owning them if I'm not going to use them?
I've noticed that of the five or so men out there making our own pants and talking about it, nobody's using commercial patterns except me. Maybe they know something I don't.
Not to sound snobby or anything, but the McCall's instructions really don't cut it, not for dress pants. I mean, they instruct you to make the waistband in one piece and add elastic for additional snugness. No joining two waistband halves at the back center seam, no waistband facings, no crotch reinforcement -- nothing. Right now, however, I need to decide whether to leave these finished pants alone or fiddle with them some more. I think I need a pants-free day or two to decide, don't you? Maybe I'll feel differently.
I know it sounds hackneyed, but making these pants has been a valuable learning experience and, hey, in the worst case I lost, what, a week of my life? I could have wasted that watching Battle of the Network Stars. (Wait: I think I lost that week already, sometime back in the mid-Seventies.) Anyway, you get my point. This will only make me a better sewer, if a slightly more frustrated one today.
But enough about me. How are you, and are you reading vintage sewer extraordinaire Laura Mae's blog, Lilacs & Lace, my new obsession? Laura Mae's blog is new enough that I was able to read every single post, which I did last night.
I don't know Laura Mae personally, of course, though she did recently leave a comment on my Snoods -- Yea or Nay post (she was a Yea). I'm going to violate the terms of her blog and post a photo without her permission, only to prove that LM is a dead ringer for the late Jennifer Jones (with whom she shares a strikingly similar wardrobe), a young Shirley Jones, AND an adult Shirley Temple. If Laura Mae's last name is Jones and she goes to temple, I wouldn't be a bit surprised.
Laura Mae also knits, dyes, and finishes all her seams with Hug Snug rayon seam binding. And she owns a chihuahua! What's not to love?
Like my cousin Cathy, Laura Mae isn't afraid to wear true tea length and she carries it off with aplomb. WARNING: Laura Mae's posts are often peppered with phrases like For an evening at the symphony earlier this year, I made up this Vogue Couturier pattern... This is not a woman sitting home nights watching re-runs of Jersey Shore.
And now I must get on with my day and perhaps obsess over my pants some more. I wonder what Laura Mae's up to...
Have a great day everybody!