Monday, September 30, 2013

Too Cool for School

B needed clothes to teach in, and all I needed was a kick-in-the-ass – provided by the PR mini wardrobe contest to get it together in only a month. I also stash-busted in the process.

Here are his new 4 outfits: 

After looking over my shoulder as I'm writing this post, B was heard to exclaim, "You sure know how to sew for my ass, Erin!"
-You are welcome dear. 

Pants #1: 

I've made the pants before (not blogged) many years ago, so I was at least familiar with the pattern before I started. 

He takes a 36 with no adjustment other than adding an inch to the length at the bottom.
For the first pair, I chose a slate-blue cotton twill. When I was about half way done he checked on my progress and asked, "Are those going to be clown pants?". Um... no. 
He was worried about the colour being too bright, but as you can see they read as neutral. 

I made the prescribed double welt pockets on the back but moved the button up to the tip of the dart. They were just barely long enough, meaning that I had to use seam binding to eek out all the length I could. 

I used some fabric left over from a bridesmaid dress and some quilting cotton for the pocket linings. The buttons were all that's left of some trouser jeans of mine that bit the dust a couple of years ago that had a little personality and matched perfectly. I think the overall cost of these without labour was about $6-$8. Definitely under $10.

Pants #2: 

Pair 2 is based on the same pattern but I borrowed Burda 8451 for the back pockets and the general shape of the front pockets.

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I also did fake flat felled side seams and larger/wider belt loops. The fabric (100% mixed fibres) gave an impression of dark denim thus the denim styling. I found it at Fabricland on sale for probably $6/m.

I should mention that the instructions for the zip fly on this pattern are great. I had no problems following them and I got a great result both times. There's a lot of hand basting involved, but I'll take that over tedious fitting any day. 

Shirt #1: 

A couple of years ago, I found a vintage shirt for B at the second hand store. It fit him so well that I finally got around to copying it last Christmas. He has two other shirts in his closet from that copy and his only request for changes was that the next one needed to be made out of a less wrinkle-prone fabric. 

Wish granted courtesy of a thrift store sheet. 

All seams are topstitched and I opted for a single welt pocket of my own engineering. 
You may notice that it buttons up the wrong way. I had a brain fart and even though we had just had a discussion about it, I ended up making button holes on the wrong side. "Who cares!!" I say. I added a strip of white bias binding to the inside of the front placket to distract from my not-so-perfect pattern matching which I blame on the mis-printed sheet. White cotton lines the inside collar stand under collar and pocket welt. 

Shirt #2: 

This was a new one for me and it took the most time/effort/swearing. I made a muslin and ended up adding maybe 2" to the upper back at the armpits (incidentally B and I have the same regular pattern adjustment). I also took the shoulders up about 3/8" adding that amount to the sleeve cap height. 

I had a pretty negative feeling about this shirt as I was sewing it. I chose (like an idiot) to topstitch every seam in two different colours – never do this unless you have three machines – seriously you will want to kill yourself... or someone else. When it was finished and B finally tried it on I was pleasantly surprised. Because the front of the shirt is very plain, I added two pockets with western-style flaps (that I really should have interfaced). I'm very happy with the topstitching on those though.

I really liked the construction of this shirt. Without all of the extra topstitching, this should have gone together incredibly easily. No fiddly interfacing on the front placket and the sleeves are set in the flat. I found the collar a little small for my taste (esthetically only—the pattern pieces fit together well), but it looks just fine on B so maybe I've been looking at too many vintage 70s patterns!

Again the fabric is a cotton I found at a thrift store for $6 or less, and I have some left over. Unfortunately, this will not fall into the "no-iron" category, but it fits and for me, that's what really matters. 

In the end, I think these 4 pieces probably cost around $20. Everything minus the one pant's fabric came from my stash and most was bought second-hand. B commented that with labour the cost comes in closer to $800. Yay sewing!

So folks, if you are so inclined, please head over to the Pattern Review Mini-Wardrobe Contest and vote for me and B's new teaching wardrobe. 


  1. You did an outstanding job! Tell your husband, as I tell mine...I wish I had a wife who was as awesome as yours is! His new wardrobe rocks!

  2. Wow, great sewing! The details look superb and the fit is excellent on all four pieces. All those welt pockets, phew. I like sewing menswear so I'm always interested to see what patterns other people are using. The styling on that Burda pants envelope looks horrible, but you made some great, modern-looking pants from it.

  3. Fabulous!! I've made slacks and men's shirts before, so I know how much time they can take, but when they turn out like this and your man is pleased with them--it's worth every second. :-) Off to vote for you in the contest, good luck!

    1. It's especially nice that I can sew the same pattern for him over and over and he doesn't mind. Thanks for the vote!!

  4. Replies
    1. Thank you! I have to say that I've admired your skill at sewing jeans for a long time. You blog has been helpful in motivating me to try my own.

  5. Very impressive and so generous! Your husband looks fantastic in his custom wardrobe. The fit is so great, and I love all the little details you put into the shirts.

  6. Wow! You are good to your guy! Everything looks fantastic - I love that you did right by the details. I'll vote for you when voting opens for sure!

  7. I am so incredibly impressed by this mini wardrobe! You totally have my vote!

    Also, I can never show this to my husband or else he's going to want to know why I haven't sewn him a mini-wardrobe.

    1. I laughed out loud when I read this. Thanks Cindy! I have to admit I'm a little jealous of my own husband. I wish I had three tnt patters to choose from for myself!

  8. WOW Erin--what a great wardrobe for your husband. Where did your husband get clown pants from? They are both neutral!
    Also I too am a fan of wrinkle free.
    Amazing job--I'm off to go vote for you!

    1. Thanks for the vote Kyle! He may have gotten the clown impression from seeing the polkadot fabric I used for the pocket lining thrown on the heap. Poor boy had no idea what was in store for him until it was all done.

  9. Wow. I'm impressed. And hiding this post from my beloved lest he get the idea I should be sewing for him, too! And whilst I'm here and typing... are you sure your Mr isn't a fit model? Because holy cow, those pants could not be a better fit to my eye. Some awesome sewing here!!!

  10. Soo impressed Erin..You have done it once again. Fantastic sewing!!

  11. Erin I am impressed with all your hard work on all the clothing !! B & your Mom make good models also!! Keep on sewing!!