Happy new year everyone and welcome to a truly tailored first post of 2017!
I promised in my last post I would keep up to date with my blogging, so I will start with something conceived two months ago! Back in November I had the idea of sewing my own 3-piece suit. I suddenly realised that I don’t own a suit and, as you probably know, I love making jackets and blazers. So why not make a fully tailored suit? Could I do it? Should I try to do it?
Well I stumbled across some lovely charcoal grey fabric with light pinstripe in my local fabric shop (Exeter fabric centre) and immediately thought “thats a suit” so I bought a few metres and started planning. I hadn’t really planned to make a suit but the fabric told me otherwise! So jacket, waistcoat and trousers…..how hard can it be? I really want to make this suit as accurately tailored as I can and will use as many traditional skills as possible along the way. This is not going to be a sew-along or step-by-step tutorial but I will show you various techniques during the adventure.
I want a single breasted jacket with double vent (I don’t like the single centre vent much) with a slightly wider notched lapel; much of todays fashion seems to go for a really thin lapel which I don’t really like. A matching waistcoat and trousers. One inspiration for my suit came from Maurice Sedwell after I saw this photo from them last year. Now I’m not going to copy the design but one feature really struck me: The slanted pockets! They are beautiful and I will certainly pay homage to that design feature.
Over the years I have tried to make more and more tailored items: I have started to understand the techniques involved and formulate my own designs so after a lot of reading and research I began to draft the pattern. I went for a classic simple design of front, side and back with a 2-piece sleeve. In this sketch you can see where the additional fabric is needed for the double vent.
I will, at some point, post a tutorial on how I drafted the jacket but that’s for another time.
After cutting the fabric the first job was to sew the darts in the front. I opted for a full length dart, rather than the dart stopping at the pockets. The reason, was to allow the pinstripe to run continuously by positioning the dart carefully between a pinstripe. I could then almost hide the dart. The side panels were sewn to the fronts in preparation for pocket creation. (I love making pockets!). The lower pockets run through both the dart and side seam.
I constructed the chest welt pocket first using the standard dimensions, angle and distance from arm-scythe. A while back I posted a Youtube tutorial on welt pockets here if you are interested. Happy with the pinstripes lining up I moved on to the main pockets.
As I said earlier I loved the pocket shape on the Maurice Sedwell jacket so drafted pocket flaps at the desired angle (judged by eye) and began. Here I came across my first real challenge. Unlike the welt pocket, the main pockets have double piping (jets) plus a flap. I thought I had better practise getting the pinstripes to match on the piping. I am glad I did practise as it proved more difficult than I realised.
OK not too bad but certainly not good enough. So I practised some more. Finally I cracked it! To try and explain the method would take forever so I made another Youtube tutorial! Wow! Not only do you get a new blog post but a video too!
Lining up the pocket flaps is a lot easier as you draw the pinstripe on the pattern pieces before cutting out. Finally I managed to get all the pockets done to my liking. (Notice how difficult it is to see the dart running through both pockets?)
Well that is all for now as next time we move on to the canvas interlining: Lots of hand sewing to come!
Don’t forget to follow me on social media as I regularly post update photos.
Until next time…….Happy Sewing