Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Vogue 8719

I love that Vogue has released some new men's patterns with the last couple of pattern releases. I picked up Vogue 8719 in the hopes that it would inspire me to sew for my poor neglected hubby. My track record with regard to sewing for him has been pretty erratic. He loves his scrubs, running shorts and running shirts, but the couple of shirts and slacks I've made have been a big fat flop.
But these are at least wearable. Comments on the pattern itself: I like it in general. It is designed to be a casual pant, with sporty topstitching (much of which I skipped since this fabric puckered if you waved a needle in it's direction) and patch pockets in the rear. There are some dressier elements however, like the inseam pockets, dart rather than a yoke for back shaping and a hand sewn hem. The waistband is contoured, which I like, but since the pants are meant to sit on the natural waistline, may not be necessary if your man actually wears his pants at the natural waistline. Mine doesn't, so a shaped waistband is essential for a good fit.
Fit-wise, I'm happy with the front, although those darn inseam pockets are gaping, of course. Do they lie flat on anyone?? From the side, you can see how the pockets gape, but otherwise the side seams are pretty straight, if puckery. This fabric really sucked. It was a cheap poly suiting from fabric.com. Mitch loves it. Argh.
But the backside, alas. Wrinkles everywhere. I have to say, I think this is mostly the fault of the fabric stretching out of shape. The muslin fit like it was made for him, but when he put on these so I could measure the hem, the waist had stretched out in crazy ways. I had to take out 2 inches at the center back waist, which affected how the seat fell otherwise. Note to self: Staystitch.

The major fitting challenge for Mitch is actually more about the way he wears his pants, and I suspect this might not be unique to him, so I thought I'd talk about it a little. Basically, he likes his pants to ride at the level of his hip bones in front, but in back, they are about an inch below his waist. So, his "waist" is tilted forward. I've also seen men with a bit of a Santa belly wear their pants this way in order to accommodate the fluff.
Here is what the pants look like lying flat. As you can see, the back waist is significantly higher than the front. In order to fit this, I made a muslin. I know, not something I generally do, but for an alteration this significant, I feel like it is needed. You could probably do this in tissue though, if you prefer. Anyway, with the muslin on Mitch, I drew a line with a Sharpie where he wanted the top of the waistband to be.
Here is his muslin of the right front pant. The top green line is where I want the top of the waistband to be. As you can see, it doesn't make a smooth curve. This is because the pants dip down significantly in front. So, to draft pattern pieces, I just measured down from the top green line (where I want to top of the pants to be) the width of the finished waistband. On the muslin, you can see my second green line, indicating the waistband.
Here is the finished pattern piece overlaying the muslin. As you can see, I added my 5/8 seam allowances to either side of the waistband. Since this particular pattern has the waistband in 2 pieces, with a seam at center back, I actually pinned together the front and back pieces at the waistband and pinned out the back dart to draft the back side of the waistband.
Here is what that looks like. The waistband pattern piece is overlaying the muslin in this photo. After you've lowered the waistband, you may also have to change the placement of some design elements. For example, I had to move the back pockets down 1 1/4 inches and shift the placement of the belt loops slightly, since the waist circumference changed slightly. If you are moving anything major, I'd try it out in muslin first.

Overall, these pants are wearable, and I'm happy with the fit changes we made, particularly the waist. RTW pants on Mitch are ridiculous. He still wears them low on his hips, so he ends up with the crotch at his knees and tons of extra fabric billowing around his backside. Not an appealing look. With this waist alteration, everything falls where it should.

With all this talk about the waistband, I must mention interfacing. In the last few pair of pants I've made, I've used Pro-Weft, which I love for most things, but my waistbands have been wimpy. I asked Pam what she recommended and she suggested simply using two layers of Pro-Weft. It worked like a charm! The waistband is nice and stable, but still pliable and comfortable to wear. Thank you so much, Pam! I'll be doing this for all my waistbands from here on out. If you haven't tried Pam's interfacings, now is the time. Head over to Fashion Sewing Supply. She's having a sale through September 8th!! I stocked up on all my favorites.


  1. These look pretty darn good if you ask me. I just buy my husband's clothes. He's too hard to fit!

  2. I think you have done an amazing job. Making well fitting pants is very tricky to do - and a real labour of love to make them for someone else! Lucky Mitch!

  3. Try scooping out the crotch in the rear and it will give him the length he needs in the back crotch. Other than that they look great considering how much trouble the fabric gave you. I bet a nice fabric would produce great results.

  4. If Mitch is happy, then your pants are at least a qualified success. My dearly beloved wears his pants below the waist, just tilted a little up in the back - no more than 1". I can't imagine sewing anything other than shirts for him, and, really, he only wants me to sew for myself and the girls. I simply have to alter RTW shirts so they fit his big chest and smaller waist.

  5. Way to go making your man a pair of pants! I can't even imagine trying to make a pair for my DH. I give you credit especially with trying to work out the fit with the way he likes to wear them.

  6. Congratulations to you (and Mitch!):

    Great job on the fitting - I love what you did and they look really good! Great job on the pelvis tilt analysis.
    I believe this must be common with most men - and now that I think of it J. has this too. The pants look wonderful and they are an incredible expense of time. I find making mens' clothes to be exhausting. For example, the jeans took half of the time that the men's shorts I made took.

    Really, you are amazing! I've been using Kwik Sew on J. and they have seemingly worked out well.

    I can't wait to see what else you make!

  7. Those a great looking pants! A custom fit is such a luxury for us. But don't tell my boyfriend that men's pants can be made at home.

  8. Oh you are such a good wife going to all that trouble for your husband! I make my husband buy his own clothes so I can concentrate all my sewing on me and my daughter - far more fun!

  9. Hey - I think they look great, but he can always throw on a long white coat, right? (That's what I'm planning if my nearly finished pants suck.) Hooray for you - you're a better wife than I am!