Readers, do you ever wonder if you wouldn't be better off drafting your own patterns?
I get that women's wear is extremely varied and it might take a lot of experience to draft something as complicated as, say, a Vogue designer pattern (or not). But most menswear is oh, so basic: shirts and pants, pants and shirts. A coat is usually cut extremely similar to a long shirt. Underwear, shorts, and swimsuits are basically short pants.
So why do I still bother with commercial patterns?
Two reasons: 1) I really like trying out patterns; it's how I learned to sew and I'm still very invested in it, especially because 2) I'm a relatively easy fit. Especially with vintage patterns, a men's 36 shirt will generally fit right out of the envelope, even if a few tweaks here and there might improve things somewhat. Plus, it's more fun writing (and reading) about making something somebody else could conceivably make too, don't you think?
But I'm probably coming to the end of my commercial pattern period -- except for the vintage patterns I make for Cathy, of course!
Sometimes I read about sewing bloggers struggling for hours on end, muslin after muslin, to make a commercial pattern fit right (I'm talking a basic skirt or blouse), and I'm thinking, buy a patternmaking book, invest a few days to draft a basic sloper from your measurements, and make it yourself. But I get that part of the fun is trying patterns other people recommend and seeing how you look in them.
I shifted gears today. I was going to make a pair of cotton twill pants using Kwik Sew 3504. This must be the most boring pattern ever and my fabric (already covered in dog hair) isn't much better.
So instead, I decided to try a vintage shirt pattern from my large stash of men's patterns. I chose Butterick 4575 from the early Seventies. I bought this pattern for the princess seamed version (View C in rust) but I'm making the plain version, which should still be very fitted.
As I've done in the past, I've added a covered placket similar to Vogue 8889. I'm using the cocoa-colored cotton I bought last week for Cathy's Twenties pajamas. Please don't tell Cathy but I'm on the fence about that project, at least for today.
This shirt will probably have long sleeves, a band collar, and some sort of matched front pockets. I am going for an elegant-looking shirt I can wear this fall and beyond.
In other news, after four years of constantly cutting fabric (and commercial patterns) on my knees (I work on the floor), I have developed what I suspect is mild bursitis in my left knee. This, combined with my deteriorating close vision, is yet another sacrifice I have made to the sewing gods. Let's hope there isn't worse to come!
In closing, readers, have you had it with commercial patterns that are so much more similar than they are different from each other? Are you tired of all the time you waste making the same alterations and adjustments to pattern paper and/or muslins?
What is the allure of commercial patterns other than convenience (which isn't always all that convenient) and the opportunity to share your sewing adventures on Pattern Review?
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, in addition to sewing for private clients. Welcome to the warm and whimsical world of Male Pattern Boldness, where the conversation is sewing, style, fashion, fabric, and more!