Category Archives: Mens

Jedediahs for Josh

Jedediah shorts

I haven’t done much sewing for myself lately, but I managed to fit in some shorts that Josh has been requesting for ages – Thread Theory Jedediahs to be exact. I’ve been promising him shorts for a while, and while I missed most of the summer season, he’s off to California with work soon so they should get some wear out there.

Jedediah shorts

Naturally, he chose a slightly challenging fabric and thread combo: a stretchy medium-heavy indigo denim together with a super contrasty baby blue topstitch. The fabric was a very generous gift from Jennifer of Workroom Social during our New York trip – it’s the famous Cone Mills denim as used in the Ginger jeans kits. It was slightly harder to work with than rigid denim as the presser foot pressure plus the stretchiness will mean you get a bit of rippling and distortion if you’re not careful. However it has excellent recovery so a good steam helped things get back into shape. Josh gives it an A+ for comfort so it was a good choice overall.

Jedediah shorts

Besides that, sewing these up was straightforward and enjoyable. I followed the included instructions booklet up to installing the front pockets, but defaulted back the the Ginger method for the fly front and topstitching guidelines since we were going for jeans-style finishing. You may have noticed I managed to sew the fly the ‘lady’ way round ie topstitching on the left as you look at them instead of the right. I swear I reversed the Ginger instructions, but must have had a brain fail along the way. Luckily Josh doesn’t mind!

Jedediah shorts

I didn’t find the Jedediah instructions all that clear overall in either the descriptions or diagrams, so I don’t think these would be suitable for a first-time pants project. But I do love the packaging and the fact that a little label was included. Plus there’s a sewalong which I’m sure would clear up some of the trickier steps. I bought the printed pattern from Backstitch here in the UK by the way.

Jedediah shorts

And the drafting seems pretty great. I cut a straight size 34 and only made tiny adjustments after a baste-and-try-on at each stage. To compensate for the denim’s stretch I sewed the side seams with a slightly larger seam allowance and pulled the waistband quite tightly as I attached it, cutting off a couple of inches excess at each end. The hems are turned with a generous double cuff and tacked in place.

Jedediah shorts
Jedediah shorts

I’m moderately happy with my finishing and topstitching. I had to rip and redo a few bits of wobbly topstitching, and I didn’t go for anything fancy on the insides – just serged and topstitched seams for a faux flat-fell look.

Jedediah shorts

The downside is Josh is so happy with them he’s eyeing up my other Cone Mills denim for a full-length pair of jeans! We’ll see how generous I’m feeling come the autumn…

Grey flannel shirt for Josh

Josh's shirt

Just one last make for 2013, since he’s wearing it today so I could snap some photos. This was one of my Christmas presents for Josh, another shirt using Burda’s Jakob pattern, in a lovely grey brushed flannel.

Josh's shirt

He’s been wearing his first shirt loads this winter so I felt he deserved another one for Christmas. Lest you think I’m ever so selfless making him two shirts by the way, I actually – shh – really enjoy the process of sewing button-down shirts. I don’t often wear them myself (though I do have an Archer in the pipeline), so I’m quite happy to labour away on some selfless sewing if it also means indulging my inner precision-sewist from time to time.

Josh's shirt

I used the same pattern at last timeBurda’s Jakob – since I knew it would fit without needing him to try it on and ruin the surprise. I just took in the side seams a tiny bit for a slimmer, smarter look since the first one was designed to go over t-shirts so is a little boxier.

Josh's shirt

The fabric is from Dalston Mill. I’m not entirely sure what it is: it must be a poly/cotton blend as it’s happy in the washer and dryer and does not crease much, and it’s got a diagonal weave pattern like denim but a peachy-soft brushed finish like a flannel. (Locals, Dalston Mill also have a few ex-Hobbs suitings and wools which are really dreamy. I nearly bought one for this shirt but it was 2.5 times the price of this one!) Whatever it is, it was very nice to sew with and behaved much better than the thick wool from the first one.

Josh's shirt

Construction was dead straightforward the second time round, especially using a lighter fabric. I did a slightly different pocket design to keep it interesting for myself, based on Jen Grainline’s tutorial, and also put in proper cuff plackets.

Josh's shirt

I used the Threads downloadable pattern for the plackets but with the Colette Hawthorn tutorial, as I found it made for a more precise result in fewer steps. They are still not exactly perfect and should be shorter, but I was a bit up against it with time so couldn’t redo them. Next time they’ll be better! As before, the buttons and buttonholes are all machine stitched – such a timesaver.

Alright that’s me over and out for 2013. I already have some really exciting sewing stuff planned for next year, including my first 100% self-drafted pattern which I’ve been working away on since Christmas. I’m going to digitise and give away, so hope you like it! Until then, happy new year.

Plaid wool shirt for Josh

Shirt for Josh

I finally got Josh’s shirt finished up, just in time for his birthday yesterday — I actually sewed on the final buttons and made him pose on the very day. I think we’re both pretty happy with how it turned out.

Shirt for Josh
Shirt for Josh
Shirt for Josh

(Excuse all the cat hair and dust, it needs a spin in the wash.) I used the Burda Jakob pattern, a semi-fitted style with a full stand collar, buttoned cuffs, curved hem and chest pocket. As I mentioned before, Josh picked out the wool plaid when I bought the fabric for my coat from Dalston Mill. It was quite pricey, so I made sure to take my time and do a good job with it.

Shirt for Josh

I made a toile out of cheap polycotton first to check everything made sense and that the fit was right. Not many adjustments were needed from the medium size, just shortening the body and sleeves a little (I took most of it from the cuffs since my client wanted them narrower anyway) and reducing the ridiculous Seventies-disco collar considerably.

Shirt for Josh

The construction was really quite fun as well as satisfyingly challenging in parts. The pattern is perfectly drafted and unusually for Burda the instructions are clear and thorough, with photos and diagrams throughout. I especially enjoyed the really nerdy details like matching the checks, careful pressing and topstitching and doing neat mock flat-felled seams throughout. I would have liked to do true flat-felled seams inside for a really pro finish, but they proved tricky in this fabric.

Shirt for Josh

I supplemented the instructions with some of the Archer sewalong steps and Andrea’s superb alternative method for setting in a collar which worked a treat. I redid the collar once because I overcompensated and cut the first one too narrow, and also omitted the interfacing from it the second time since it was pretty thick anyway. The buttons on the tips are nonfunctional, they’re just stitched down.

Shirt for Josh

The wool plaid Josh chose pressed and stitched up nicely, but its thickness and frayability did make the construction a bit more challenging. The collar stand, cuffs and shoulder seams are rather chunky because I was nervous to clip too much, though a bit of steam-pressing helped it settle down. I think there’s 8+ layers around the armsyce where the yoke and sleeve join which my poor machine really struggled with. All the raw edges inside are either concealed or overlocked so I feel good that it won’t fall apart in a hurry anyway.

Shirt for Josh

I used my buttonhole foot for the first time for all the functional buttons: together with the one-step program on my machine it makes them sooo easy. I’ll be buttoning all the things from now on! I used the machine to stitch the buttons on too, just going very slowly on a short, wide zigzag setting. Totally worked, even if it probably isn’t the done thing.

Shirt for Josh

This is definitely the most precise and well-made garment I’ve made so far, probably because I was making for a harsher critic than myself (not that Josh is harsh, I’m just pretty lax) and I really wanted to make a shirt he would love and wear often. It seemed to take forever compared to my usual makes – about ten sessions over about a month – but I quite liked the change of pace. I even put the speed limiter on my machine, and I can see the difference in neatness and accuracy when I go slower. Definitely a lesson learned going forward. I’d like to make him another shirt in a lighter fabric like a flannel, now that I know this pattern is a good fit and fun to sew.