Sunday, November 16, 2014

One Leg at a Time

It's like welding.  Or carpentry.  It's just assembly, except instead of wood and glue, the materials are twill and thread.  Anyway, I don't need to justify myself to you, dear reader, by now you must know that I can't help but do for myself what might easily be done for me.  Case in point - PANTS.

I've been playing around with the new sewing machine I got for Shannon last Christmas and eventually some web surfing led me to  Let me tell you, though self-making is a growing trend and online instructions are an amazing resource in the Information Age, men's sewing patterns lag far behind, remaining an obscure cul-de-sac off the information superhighway.  The good folks at Thread Theory are working to change that, producing some amazing patterns, instruction, and encouragement all in order to help poor saps like me find my way to a new pair of pants.  One leg at a time.

The pattern I selected for this first run was their new Jutland Pant, a straight-leg, relaxed fit pant that would be suitable for a heavy work pant, a jeans pattern, or even an outdoor waterproof hiking pant if someone was determined to hike in the rain.  I decided to make mine a kind of wearable muslin in a green twill with a gold facing fabric.  I have some selvage denim I have been holding onto for a bit, trying to build up skill and courage to do a couple pair of jeans.  I figured the Jutlands would be a good pants primer, and the clear instructions and pictures didn't disappoint.

I failed to document any of the process, which mostly involved late nights huddled over the sewing machine, thread and fabric bits slowly piling up around me, and occasional beer breaks while I puzzled over each step.  It took several days of on-again off-again effort, but the finished product turned out great!  The pattern includes several cool options, like reinforcements for the knees and hem, cargo pockets, etc.  I went with cargo pockets and the knee bits, and had to shorten the length of the inseam (of course) and grade the pattern for my size.

There were some challenges, too.  The flat-felled outseams turned out well, but then trying to run the top-stitches on the inseam after the leg was closed was a trial, to say the least.  Topstitching in general was always a little bit of a finicky operation, but I am overall pleased with the results.  The fly construction was a learning process, and though I was able to muddle through, I learned enough that the next run at that operation will no doubt be better.  And I had to make some alterations to the pattern, like raising the knee patches so that I they lined up on my knees and not on my shins (which meant that they fell further up the taper on the leg, which meant that the edges didn't extend far enough for the flat-fell seam, which meant the seam had to be pressed from the back to the front).  Learning to anticipate the ways in which pattern changes have downstream repercussions is part of the continuing education.

These are very wearable, and should hold together well as the construction, based upon Thread Theory's excellent guide, is very solid.  I have a shirt project to put together, but the Jedediah Pants at Thread Theory are high on the to-sew list, and I'll start studying that pattern soon enough.  Anyone wanting to stitch a pair of these together before the holidays would do well to visit the Thread Theory page and jump onboard with their Jutland Sew-a-Long, scheduled to start Dec. 1!