Thank you to (grumpy) Karen who suggested I tried Make My Pattern. I was sceptical, to be honest. I have nice vintage men’s trouser patterns – why would I want Aldrich blocks?
Then I looked at the website and discovered it is a brilliant concept.
Joost de Cock has, apart from a memorable name, created a site that allows you to print off patterns (mainly for men) with your own measurements. He has not only digitised Winifred Aldrich’s basic trouser patterns, he has devised an algorithm to create the right dimensions, and he offers the patterns free. It is an amazingly generous offer.
But does it work?
Joost offers a standard male trouser block and a slimmer, fitted trouser block. As my model is slim I went for the more fitted look. After a little puzzlement I typed in Gus’s measurements and ran off the pattern – on A3 paper, which is half the work. So far so good.
To test the pattern I made up a basic toile, omitting the pockets and fly. I put a (dark green) zip in the CF which is not very beautiful but it allows the trousers to be fitted. I used some remnants of an Ikea curtain for the waistband and ironed on some interfacing.
You can immediately see the trousers are too long. That’s my fault as I measured the length generously. The waist is a little bit big too. But overall Gus was pleased with the rather old-fashioned, high waist look, which came to exactly the right spot for him – about 2cms below the navel.
With the back view you can see there is a little wedge that can come out of the CB waist band and about 1″ down where Gus is fairly flat. I pinned this out.
Once I had pinned up the hems and taken out about 1cm at the CB I think the fit is pretty good. Once the pockets, belt carriers and fly front is in these will look quite classy I think.
Gus’s back waist is higher than his front waist. This is something I might fix, but overall for a straight “out of the packet” experience this was second to none. Gus liked them. Even more surprising my daughter Esme gave them the thumbs up. Unbelievable.
Sewing with a Plan
Gus and I think we can use this pattern, as it is, for two pairs of trousers. The trousers will be one pair of cords, one pair in linen. We discussed the shorts and I suggested we might need a different pattern – perhaps slightly fuller. Esme argued that the waistband should be lower for shorts. In the end Gus prevailed. He thinks shorts should mainly look like cut down trousers. And he likes the high waist and wants it as a feature on his four pairs of trousers (cords, linen, shorts and jeans). So, apart from the jeans, we have the bottoms sorted. Not bad for just over one hours work.
Joost provides very detailed instructions for making tailored pants. For me they look a tad too detailed, but they are written for beginners – men who are being encouraged to make their own clothes. I think they are great for this purpose and there are some videos too, which I haven’t watched. When making pants for myself and Esme I wrote a post on the order of work part 1; and 2; I think I will refer back to this as it is slightly shorter. When I mentioned that Makemypattern trousers seemed promising Sue Stoney admitted her husband wore nothing else. No other under pants I mean.