I apologise in advance for the length of this post.
I’ve always seen sewing as a set of levels. You start out on the lower levels – straight lines on wovens etc and move up through the levels – buttonholes, basic zippers, set in sleeves, knits etc. Pants are a new level for me, not only because of the zip fly but also due to the fitting required.
This year I made it my goal to sew a pair of jeans for myself. But after washing a pair of my husband’s near transparent work pants, I figured maybe I’d start with pants for him instead, to ease me into the world of pants. His body must be easier to fit than mine, right?
Yep. Correct. He does have a bit of trouble buying work pants though, mostly because of his impatience with shopping but also partly due to his height. He’s 6’4″ and generally a 34″ waist, sometimes a 32″ though. He also has no butt (just like me – what hope do our children have?) and skinny legs. He’s always had an aversion to pants and jeans with narrower legs and as a result gets around in work pants that look like they belong in 1995. I planned to change that.
Patterns for men are few and far between. Decent patterns for men are like hen’s teeth. Have you looked through the pattern books for men’s patterns from the Big 4 companies? Appalling. I knew that for my first foray into pants I would need something modern and indie. Something that wouldn’t require a lot of adjustments. Enter Thread Theory’s Jedediah pattern.
They’re described as a slim fit, chino -style trousers or shorts pattern. That perfect line between casual and dressy. I love the binding finish and the option to do french or flat felled seams. I couldn’t figure out the waistband finishing instructions for the life of me, so did them my own way. There is an excellent youtube video for the fly, so that wasn’t a problem at all – actually much easier than I was anticipating!
I started with the 34 for him and made them from a cheapy gaberdine that I picked up from The Remnant Warehouse. Straight off the pattern they were a decent fit, but too small in the waist and too narrow in the lower leg. Length was perfect though. Ok. Round two – the size 36, which I made from a navy wool blend (also from The Remnant Warehouse).
They came up ok, but much bigger in the waist. What? A bit too big in the legs too, so I brought those in. The waist I couldn’t really change without doing a lot of seam ripping but he was happy to wear them, so I left it. He is used to RTW, after all. I was a bit puzzled at the difference in waist size but put it down to the fabric stretching out a bit.
Enter pair three. Once again from the gaberdine I used from the toile (I had just enough left over for another pair). This time I did a slight flat seat adjustment and graded between the 34 and 36 at the waist and legs. This has to be it. Uh, no – still big at the waist. WTF MAN?! I dug out the toile pair and compared the finished measurements to those on the pattern. I have no idea what happened but my toile pair were 1.5 inches smaller at the waist than they should have been. Oops. Possibly due to some error in the fly construction, but I’m still not sure.
Oh well, still quite a decent fit and he’s a bit fan of the Pacman pockets and binding. So am I, if I’m honest.
Enter pair four. Oh yes, I’m like a dog with a bone. Size 34 with a flat seat adjustment and a bit of width added to the lower legs (not that you can see that here, because they’re shorts). This pair from cotton drill. My pants-making is now like a well oiled machine and I’m finally pretty happy with the fit.
A bit no-bum in the seat, but that’s how RTW fits him too. Exacerbated by hands in pockets also. The drill seems to have a lot more give than the sturdy grey gaberdine used in the last pair.
The waist fits well, I’m loving the cuffs and narrower legs on him (he was stuck in the 90s with his wide legged shorts too).
He is what polite people would call ‘thrifty’. I say tight arse. So he’s bloody thrilled that I can now make him shorts and pants. Plus he gets out of shopping. It’s win-win.