I’ve decided! MANSWAP it is – a wardrobe of 11 items for my son Gus. Really for the challenge of doing menswear.
As a number of you mentioned – challenging is better for me. The casual wardrobe (apart from the knitting) was sending me to sleep. For someone who has never designed, pattern cut or made menswear, this is very challenging. In fact I have been battling with a jacket for Gus for weeks now, and it may never come together. I have committed to knitting a jumper that is designed for a woman. I have bought several vintage patterns, which while very appealing, are not ready to go. I will need to do a fair amount of toiling and fitting in advance if I am to deliver this wardrobe for my son.
However I have done some of the preparation in advance. I know Gus’s colour palette (cool-muted) and his body shape (tapered). Or “carrot” as Demented Fairy called it). I wondered if Parsnip is a better description of a man who is wide at the shoulders with slim hips. And hey presto Debenhams got there before me. I am sure Gus would like to think he has a figure like Daniel Craig (ha ha).
The down side of making for Gus is that I may have to buy fabric (as his colouring is different to mine). I have a few greys and beiges in the cupboard but no soft greens or blues or taupe. My experience when deciding in advance to make something eg taupe corduroy trousers is that you cannot find the right fabric. So Gus and I will need to keep an open mind. However as we know we are looking for cool-muted colours we can be confident that even a second or third choice will fit just fine (eg muted pink or purple).
And I have agreed a rough list of clothes with Gus that fit the rules. So I am ahead in some ways.
Here is the MANSWAP list
- Beige Shirt – white or beige
- Striped Long sleeved T shirt
- Deep denim High waisted jeans
- Soft green Casual trousers
- Taupe Corduroys
- Soft blue Smart shorts
- Light grey Tailored jacket
- Bomber jacket in hand painted silk including beige, soft greens and blues
- Alpaca “Lore” jumper – light grey
- Deep grey-blue Polo neck jumper
One of the issues, brought to my attention by Stephanie, is that part of the challenge will be to do this with no more than 8 patterns (for 11 garments). There are a number of ways to address this within my plan. For example I could make all the trousers from one pattern (item 3, 4, 5 and 6), adapting it to provide the jeans, casual trousers and shorts. I could stick with one knitting pattern and do one plain and one with cabling or a fancy stitch. I could make the coat and jacket from the same pattern, and maybe the T shirt/sweat shirt (item 2) could be derived from the bomber jacket. I could drop the T shirt and do a long and short sleeved shirt from the same pattern, or drop the shirt and do a short and long sleeved T. So many options. I am not worried about the restriction although it needs some creative thought down the line.
So, those who are participating (are you?) now have six weeks before we get started.
My life is incredibly busy at the moment. I have taken on a new role in addition to my main job. I have joined the board of the NHBC which insures new homes in the UK and works to raise the standard of building. It is an interesting role but very demanding as I learn about insurance and the specifics of the company. I have been squeezing other commitments and haven’t got round to commenting on so many blogs, and Instagramming. This week I went to see one of our Extra Care schemes for older people with three local Councillors, including the leader of Lambeth Council Lib Peck. We were shown around by Bridget and John, who live there. My Lorelle sweater seems to go with everything. For our local women politicians the pant suit seems to be the norm (in berry shades).
I am going to use the next six weeks to work through the patterns, make some toiles and fit Gus. As we are allowed to create two garments in advance I am going to do one jersey – the “Lore”. I am keen to get started on this as I have been given some good advice by Kari-Helene on how to “masculinise” a jumper. When I made the Lorelle (above), knitted with 5mm needles it didn’t take very long once I had worked out how to make the thing. So I can knock this off and then spend maybe a week or two on one of the other items, and still have plenty of time after Christmas.