I don’t make many clothes for my long suffering husband. I offered to make him a t shirt recently, as he was eyeing up some henly style ones in a shop, I casually mentioned that I had a pattern for one like that at home, but he quickly dismissed that stating that he “liked to choose the designs on the front of his t shirts”. Then, a few weeks later, he brought home 3 plain short sleeved henly t shirts. I would sigh at this point but there’s no way I’d turn them out that fast.
However, I have made him several waistcoats, or vests if you prefer (which sounds weird if you’re British as here a vest is an undergarment, like a tank). First off was one to wear when he was being an usher at a friends wedding, a long time ago, before we were married. I was supposed to be making waistcoats for the groom, best man and the other usher too, but I got out of that little sewing obligation by getting shingles. Not recommended. He still has it (the waistcoat, not shingles, he’s never had that) but its definitely not everyday wear fabric.
Next up, out of a request for an everyday waistcoat, I made a muslin out of stash. It started very purple, but then he dyed it with black dye and it ended up a very dark indigo kind of colour. It has got worn quite a bit, even whilst it was purple.
The purple one saw less wear once I made the “final” version, which despite a dodgy collar and the lining bagging out at the back, gets worn a lot. However it took me a year to finish it and I only managed it in the end when he started threatening to buy a shop bought one instead.
During my post completion high though, I decided that waistcoats were easy and I would make another one, but this time with a better collar (I think I might have sewn the lapels on backwards on the grey one). We went fabric shopping, he chose some green boiled wool (I think) and a striking gold for the lining and I sewed up the lining and sewed the outer pieces together and did 3 of the 4 darts, then I stopped. No idea why. It got put on one side and languished.
Until a couple of days ago when a combination of my guilty coincidence, a desire to do something nice for him, and the bad light in the evening which meant I didn’t want to cut a new thing out for him spurred me on and I decided to finish it. At least I’ve taken under a year this time, rather than over!
First I stuffed up the welt pockets. They were going fine, using this method, but then at some point when I turned my back they developed a gap along the top of the welt. I think it might be due to not being carefully enough sewing my lining together in a way I can picture but not described. Anyway, I put it on one side to see how I felt in the morning and discovered that I felt annoyed but not enough so to try and redo welt pockets.
So onwards it was and I cut out and sewed up the collar – making it an inch wider at the back than last time as that one gets really narrow there. Then I also made a hot mess of the collar. I carefully marked my pieces so I didn’t so the lapels on backwards but WHAT is happening with that seam, seriously? It doesn’t lie flat and hubby pointed out that the gap from collar edge to armhole is noticeably different on each side. Looking back on it now, I think the purple one looks better as the collar is stiffer, which at first I thought was calico rather than wool, but then I realised I didn’t interface any collar/lapel pieces this time around (can’t remember last time around) which surely isn’t helping.
Again, I left it overnight and decided that whilst I wasn’t happy I wasn’t sure unpicking would help, so I finished it. At least the buttonholes went reasonably well this time.
So, in conclusion, hubby has a new waistcoat and is very pleased and smiley about it. And I know from last times experience that I will eventually stop wincing at it every time he walks into a room. And I do think the collar is less bad this time.
And next time? Surely there will be a next time. After all he shows no sign of stopping wearing waistcoats and struggles to find ones he wants in the shops (and those he does see cost around £100, so making them is definitely cost effective even after expensive wool fabric purchase) and I am determined to get it right.
Well, I’ve now spied a pattern which appears to have the “proper” collar he wants, rather than one that ends at the shoulder seam, so should be a better start for all the other alterations he requires, as my collar drafting skills, indeed my collar construction skills, are clearly lacking and I could use a little professional help here in the form of pattern pieces and instructions.
Lets just hope I keep whittling down my construction times!
Talking of which, as an added bonus, I made myself some “subtle” pants, out of knit leftovers and some of my ribbing stash from impulse online ribbing purchase earlier this year (it is impossible to buy locally). These did not take long to sew up once cut out, in fact I sewed them up before breakfast on Saturday as it was such a dreary grey day and I needed cheering up. Another pair of Barrie Briefs, but this time the banding feels more comfortable around my leg, which I assume is because the ribbing has more stretch than using jersey.