Sewing for other people 2: tall ones

All the colours

All the colours

I am married to a toy boy who just turned 30. I can barely remember my 30th ( it was 5 years ago: deep in the mists of time), so it seemed a bit strange that he wasn’t in his 30s yet. As he likes to rib me for being ‘very old’ as I am in my thirties, it was a moment of pure delight when he finally joined me in this glorious decade. I decided to celebrate by making him a VERY grown up rainbow top as an homage to our super colourful wedding.

Rosie & Robin-467 Rosie & Robin-047

My desire to sew started when I asked my wonderful father in law to make my wedding dress. He had been making clothes for his wife for years and is also a very skilled knitter, but he was still a bit frightened when I asked him this: proffering an appalling line drawing of my ideal dress. But he rose to the challenge and made me simply the most beautiful dress ever: an ivory duchesse satin princess-seamed fifties style dress with a square neckline and the most stunning handmade rainbow sash. He is a genius, and I am so lucky to have him as my father in law.

The beautiful sash

The beautiful sash

The wedding was so colourful because my husband Robin and I both like to dress like children’s TV presenters at a rave at all possible opportunities and we asked our guests to dress in their most colourful clothes. The 8 bridesmaids were all the colours of the rainbow (plus turquoise) and the flower girl was a mini rainbow in a gorgeous dress made by my aunt.

Ta da! All the colours!

Ta da! All the colours!

So my first foray into men’s clothes making allowed me to use an amazing fabric that probably most men would shy away from: a rainbow striped fine super soft knitted jersey from Croft Mill. Apparently this was made for Zara, is suitable for maxi dresses and is also described as a children’s fabric. Perfect!

I used a pattern, Burda 7916 even though I knew I could just probably copy one of his existing t-shirts because I had never made a t-shirt before and wanted to do it properly. I made the simplest version, with now pockets or hoods because 1: it’s not the noughties any more and 2: the fabric doesn’t need any embellishment. It was a simple pattern and quite clear, and I learnt how to do my first t-shirt neckline which is a skill I will use a lot.

The long sleeved t-shirt of many colours

The long sleeved t-shirt of many colours

The pattern would have been a breeze to put together had I not chosen the world’s softest, most drapey fabric ever. It was like sewing with butter. Beautiful to touch, less beatiful for holding it’s shape and behaving. But luckily I now know just about enough to deal with it. I went very slowly, and reinforced all the shoulder seams with clear elastic.

I felt quite clever doing this

I felt quite clever doing this

It took me a long time and a lot of concentration, but I still broke a needle. This was the first time I have done that, and oddly, I felt very pleased, like this made me a proper sewing person. I even photographed it!

20141006_184137

SNAP!

SNAP!

And I had a final disaster at midnight when I was trimming my extremely curly and flappy hem allowance and I sliced through the bottom of the t-shirt. I was rushing and tired as I needed to get it finished while he was away for the night, and despite me being careful, I rotary cut a little slice out. You can see it on the bottom left of the picture above, I nearly screamed. but just sewed it up quite roughly and it seems ok. You can’t see it when he is wearing it.

He was very pleased with it (apart from the fact the sleeves were super long because I had randomly decided he had very long arms and had lengthened them to knee length. I took them back in straight away!). We were going with a big group of friends to Ramsgate for the weekend and he decided that maybe Ramsgate wasn’t ready for such a shirt, so wore it on our trip to Amsterdam the weekend after. He is the world’s most reluctant model so my pictures are terrible, but here

he is looking smart in an Ethiopian restaurant. Note the cardigan which he already owned: what a glorious combo!

So sad at being photographed

So sad at being photographed

I got one decent picture. The lighting is ‘atmospheric’ so you can’t see how bright the shirt is, but you get the gist.

Ta da!

Ta da!

I enjoyed sewing for Robin as there were no curves or darts, and will definitely make him more stuff, in a slightly more robust fabric. He wants me to make him some shorts now which will be a challenge: but I already have some smart yellow and grey floral upholstery fabric for him!

But there is such a crap selection of patterns for men. Why is this? Can anyone recommend any good men’s shorts patterns?

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20 thoughts on “Sewing for other people 2: tall ones

  1. Lovely t-shirt Rosie. I sigh every time I walk through a clothes shop, marvelling at the array of colours, shapes and fabrics on offer in the women’s section. Men’s clothes generally are so dull by comparison, so I’m not at all surprised you can’t find interesting patterns either! Thanks for doing something to start to put this right. For Robin at least…

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  2. I just discovered your blog this week and it is such a breath of fresh air! Awesome wedding photos too. I’ve not made it yet but I’ve bought Thread Theory’s Strathcona T Shirt pattern to make for my husband some day.

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  3. Thread theory also have a trousers/shorts pattern http://threadtheory.ca/collections/store/products/jedediah – I haven’t made it but I seem to recall reading comments that it’s quite slim fit (depends on Robin’s preferences I guess). They’re in the middle of releasing their second collection so maybe they’ll release a looser fit trouser pattern soon? I have made their boxer pattern (comox trunks) to make hubby a pair of pants with some scrap fabric and the instructions were fairly comprehensive (although I still messed up 🙂 ). Rainbow bright pants would be pretty cool!

    I have to remind myself to add american apparel words to search terms when hunting out new patterns, especially pants/trousers and vest/waistcoat for mens stuff. The blog I see the most clothes made for men on is Sue’s blog http://fadanista.com/, she makes quite a few things for her husband and grown up son (and his cute dog), so maybe you could glean some idea’s there?

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    • Ooh this is really helpful: the Jedediah’s are exactly what I have been looking for! It’s good to know you have tried them: I definitely need comprehensive instructions at this stage!
      And thanks for the tips re fadanista (followed) and American apparel terms: I need to remember that! I do not approve of vest and pants meaning trousers and waistcoat though: IT’S NOT RIGHT!

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      • Popped back to say Thread theory just released a new trouser pattern: http://threadtheoryblog.wordpress.com/2014/10/30/new-pattern-meet-the-jutland-pants/, which I think my man would like better than the Jebediah ones. Have to finish his waistcoat first though. Ho hum.

        Oh and to clarify, I haven’t made any Thread Theory trousers, but I did make their jersey boxer short trunk thingies – the Comox. I think the trousers may get complicated, as they’ve included fancy finishes, but on the plus side lots of clear photo’s in sew along.

        I agree, a man going out dressed in vest and pants is very clearly not right – it is not outerwear! But i fear we’re outnumbered.

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  4. That shirt is everything–seriously, it’s amazing and you should be very proud (as should your hubby)! I love how playful your senses of style are, too!

    I’ve made my husband one thing so far and found it somewhat scary (my first knit garment AND first menswear piece all at once) but successful. I absolutely recommend Thread Theory patterns as others have done–they offer really stylish options for men and good instructions for the sewist. I’ve got several of their patterns so that I can help Tom build a wardrobe…eventually. 😉

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    • You are lovely, thank you! Thanks also for the Thread Theory recommendation: I’m definitely going to get some stuff from them. They looks really cool. What did you make? I shall look forward to seeing more of Tom’s stylish new wardrobe!

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      • I made him the Newcastle cardigan. It’s a really beautiful design (my finished product wasn’t perfect, but Tom wears it proudly), and I see similar things in RTW all over the place! I muslined the Strathcona Henley (t-shirt version) but need to do some sizing and fabric adjustments before it’s something he can leave the house wearing, LOL.

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  5. Hi! I have come a-visiting from CSC (though I am the polar opposite of curvy!) and be reading for a few weeks now…
    Can I echo the positive feelings towards Thread Theory? I have sewn up the Jedediah trousers twice for my partner. I started seriously sewing in September 2012, and mostly make me pretty easy things (knit dresses! woo hoo!) and lots of bags. The Jedediah instructions are great, and the sew-a-long is also very good with a fantastic video for the fly zipper.
    Also, MeasureTwice has a free boxer short pattern, called the Darcy boxers. Google and ye shall find.
    I love this t-shirt for your partner! I find sewing for my partner very enjoyable: (a) he doesn’t mind how long I take, although he does rib me about it (b) I’m more careful with getting a good result and this has impacted positively on sewing for myself, (c) he is much better than me at telling everyone who shows even a little bit of interest that I made it and (d) when he’s wearing the garments I made and I’m with him, I get to be well smug about it.

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    • Hello and welcome! Lovely to have you here! Thanks for the Measure Twice tip: I shall go hunting! I’m glad you have made the Jedediahs and can recommend them: I’m pretty frightened of making proper grown up trousers and especially fly zips, so this is most reassuring!

      I’m definitely going to make more things for the old husband, mainly for easiness reasons, a bit for kindness reasons, and a smidgen of smugness reasons!

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  6. Pingback: Spring sewing | sparkleneedles

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