Thank you for you feedback on the colour scheme I chose for Gus last week. This is what he said:
“Great stuff. I like it and would wear all of it. The bomber jacket you’ve put there is the exact one I have, from COS! Interesting to see how nice it looks with the other muted colours.”
Just to remind you this is what I am planning to make for him.
- Long sleeved T shirt
- High waisted jeans
- Smart shorts
- Casual trousers
- Tailored jacket
- Bomber jacket
- Alpaca “Lore” jumper
- Polo neck jumper
Let’s see what he says about the patterns!!
When I think about the Sewing with a Plan for myself I often assume that I am designing and cutting the patterns for myself. That is what I had thought when I planned my own casual, weekend collection. But when I think about an 11-piece wardrobe for my son Gus I find myself drawn to commercial patterns. That would make the process much easier and, so long as I can fit them (always easier on a client than on oneself) it takes alot of the work away. With self-drafted patterns much of the work comes from finding the best construction method. With a set of pattern instructions I kind of go into factory-production mode, if you know what I mean. I don’t have to think so much when I am actually cutting out and sewing.
So I started looking for suitable patterns. I need jeans, casual trousers, a jacket, a shirt, a T shirt, a bomber jacket and a coat. Shorts can come from trousers. I think I already have suitable knitting patterns although one needs me to adapt a ladies’ pattern.
If you want to do the same I suggest you have a look at this wonderful resource from Sewing Plums.
I did consider the modern Indies which everyone seemed to suggest, but I found them dull and middle of the road. I looked at modern Big4 which seem to be made for the larger, middle aged man. I considered the Japanese pattern books (thanks Lisanne!), but they appeared a bit droopy, and slightly weird. So what am I left with? Burda, which is my standard choice for modern, plus the possibility of some vintage in there, perhaps altered. But I am glad I have committed to commercial patterns. It will be such a relief not to be making it up as I go along.
Vintage and second hand patterns
I had a look at what was available on my old favourite eBay. The answer is
- unlimited pyjama and dressing gown patterns from every era
- a fair few casual trousers and jackets
- some standard shirts
- some wierd but wonderful “unisex” offers
- lots of modern Cosplay, steam punk and Victoriana
Compared to women’s wear a fairly disappointing collection. Very little in the way of knits. Very little formal wear. Hardly any designer items (there was a Perry Ellis but the shoulders were ridiculous. Plus a boring 1980s Dior). But luckily the envelop art is spectacular. How I laughed.
What I bought on eBay for less than £20 (for the lot)
Once I stopped laughing I bought four patterns. I fear that Gus, or anyone without much knowledge of patterns, might have a canary at this point. But I bought these four items, and considered a few others, as they are the right size for Gus, ie 38″ chest, 30″ waist.
- The first, tatty old pattern, is for a young pipe-smoker. Who likes russet tweed. And wearing a tie at weekends. I think it is from the 1940s and I took a risk with the sizing which is 2″ too small. I feel confident about adding a couple of inches to the width (and at least that to the length as Gus is fairly tall). I also thought a slim fit might be good. I will toile this item to see how it goes.
- The shirt, on the other hand, is for a middle-aged cigarette smoker. He likes wearing his shirt untucked at weekends, but the combination of a sports shirt and a formal shirt in a medium size was too good to miss. This looks like a nice traditional shirt pattern and I can make the body slimmer if required.
- Simplicity 6593 is for men who like their casual wear to coordinate, almost like a suit. But at the same time delightfully casual. I bought this pattern because the slim fit (although flared) trousers may transition to jeans or casual trousers fairly easily. [By the way, Gus, flares are very easily removed. Most of the fullness comes below the knee, so it is simply a matter of redrawing the seams from the knee downwards. Simples.] I did consider a modern Burda 6933 pattern with slim fit trousers, advertised as “hipster”. Actually used in the original sense of the word. But Gus wants a higher cut, and we are going to try that with my older pattern. If it is horrible I will come back to the Burda. also thought the jacket – sort of a jeans jacket – might work for Gus. He hasn’t asked for this type of cropped tapered jacket, but it would suit him. I am still looking for a suitable bomber jacket pattern. But no rush at the moment.
- Simplicity 7943 is a “Go Everywhere” pattern. Don’t you love the graphics? You have to wonder where “everywhere” is for this fellow. The golf club, the office, the weekend, and for bank robberies? A truly marvellous late 1970s casual suit! I mainly got it for the tailored shorts. Of course most trouser patterns can be changed into shorts, but I thought these were rather nice (although not with the knee length socks). Soon after this pattern was designed men got into much more voluminous shapes for the 1980s – double breasted suits with the shoulders moved significantly beyond the shoulder. I didn’t want that look. Looking closely this jacket is very similar to the 1940s one. I shall examine it carefully, but for now this is my shorts pattern, with a possibility of adapting the trouser pattern for the cords.
At this stage I feel like a contestant in a cooking contest who has been given four odd looking ingredients and told to make a wonderful meal. I have confidence in these four patterns and I believe that I can make a modern, young men’s, 11 piece wardrobe from them. I have a T shirt pattern that I can adapt, and I will find a coat pattern in due course.
What do you think?