Spring/Summer Natural Denim

This is pretty much a repeat of my last post except in a different color. I used the same pattern but made this pair of jeans out of a lighter weight, natural cream colored denim. Up close this denim basically looks like painting canvas, sprinkled with little brown and black bits that I assume are left over from the cotton plant. Hopefully this 11.5oz fabric will stay cooler on those hot, humid summer days.

100% cotton, 11.5oz, Natural, Red Line, Cone Mills selvedge denim
“Slim” fit, straight leg
Single needle stitching
Button fly
Brass rivets and buttons
Handmade by me from my own pattern

hanging cream colored natural selvedge denim

 

cream colored natural selvedge denim button fly

 

cream colored natural selvedge denim front

 

cream colored natural selvedge denim folded

 

cream colored natural selvedge denim back pockets

 

cream colored natural selvedge denim cuffs

Men’s Selvedge Denim Jeans

So I got a little distracted from my jacket project. I’ve had this remnant piece of denim from the Supply Shop that’s been taunting me to turn it into a pair of jeans, and I finally gave in. I’m putting the jacket on hold for a little while to make some other things from my fabric stash, but I did end up finding a nice piece of cotton and some lining for the jacket when I get around to finishing the pattern.

100% cotton, 13.5oz, Red Line, Cone Mills selvedge denim
“Slim” fit, straight leg
Single needle stitching
Button Fly
Copper rivets and buttons
Handmade by me from my own pattern

hanging selvedge denim jeans

 

folded selvedge denim jeans

 

selvedge denim jeans front with button fly

 

selvedge denim jeans back, yoke and pockets

 

selvedge denim cuff roll

Jacket Pattern Update

Progress on my jacket project is extremely slow but steady. I’ve managed to throw together another hunk of muslin to quickly test out the basic shell of my men’s jacket pattern. At this point I’m just making sure the collar/lapel pattern pieces actually work together. I’m not concerned about how the collar notches look or how the lapels roll/lay on this test garment. This was my first attempt at making a notched lapel and found it somewhat difficult. I haven’t consulted my tailoring books yet (I should have), but I’d love to hear about any good online resources for notched lapel construction.

From here I need to add some shape to the side seams and center back seam, decide what I want to do for darts, and start the lining pattern.

men's jacket pattern test in muslin

I made a quick list of projects that I hope to complete in 2012. My main focus here is building a wardrobe from scratch so I’m sticking to the basics: shirts, pants, and a jacket.

  • This jacket is a priority, but I may end up making some of these other things below first.
  • Another pair of selvedge denim indigo jeans. My last pair is still doing great, (they are only a year old) but I want to have a fresh crisp pair in the closet
  • A pair of natural selvedge denim (light canvas color) jeans for spring/summer
  • Chinos
    -Light gray
    -Dark gray
    -Khaki
  • At least 2 heavier weight winter shirts
  • At least 2 light weight spring/summer shirts

It seems like a fairly short list for an entire year, but this is more than I completed in 2011. Who knows, maybe I’ll pick up the pace and get even more done!

Vintage Taylor Tailor Sign

So if your name happens to be Taylor, and you happen to have an interest in learning how to design and “tailor” your own clothes, and you happen to have a blog called TaylorTailor, AND you happen to like vintage signs…

Front

Taylor Tailor vintage sign

Back

Taylor Tailor vintage sign
A couple of weeks ago an awesome reader sent me an e-mail about an auction for this sign. As you might expect, I just had to have it. Too perfect to pass up. The sign is from the early 1900′s, and while I can’t find much information about its origin, I believe it was from a company called J.L. Taylor & Co., which was a custom-made clothier in New York and Chicago. If anyone knows more about this company, I would love to know.

I’m going to proudly hang this up in my sewing studio this week…and then get back to work on my jacket pattern!

Negative Space

A whole month has gone by since the last update on my jacket patten, but I promise I really am working on it. A couple in-progress pictures are below. Currently I am working on the lapel roll line and collar. In addition to having less time to work on the pattern lately, the added complexity of jackets makes the drafting process more time consuming than the other patterns I have made.

Mens jacket pattern in progress

Mens jacket pattern front, in progress

In my research on jacket drafting I came across this video, which talks about the process a cutter/tailor goes through in precisely recording every detail of the human body, and how he/she then translates that information onto a paper pattern that can be altered and modified over time. As Nina in the video says, these patterns tell stories. They aren’t just bits of paper. Sometimes good stories can take a while to develop.

Negative Space from FUMF on Vimeo.

Men’s Jacket Sloper

This is the first of what I hope to be a whole series of posts on each step I go through to make a jacket, from drafting the initial pattern to the finished garment. I finally completed a working version of a men’s jacket sloper, which is what I consider the first step. This is a simple pattern with a front, back, and sleeve to establish the general shape of a jacket. None of the details that you would expect to find on a finished pattern such as pockets, side panels, lapels, collar, lining, etc., are on this version.

Mens jacket sloper patten

I tested the pattern in muslin and the fit is pretty good for a first attempt. Depending on what I end up doing with the lining, I might need to add some ease and drop the armhole a little bit to allow for any added insulating layers. Initially I was going to keep this a really simple, single layer, lightweight jacket, but with the temperatures dropping this fall, I’m tempted to try and make something that will keep me warm in colder weather.

Mens jacket sloper test fit muslin

As soon as I get this sloper tweaked to perfection, I’ll start adding all of the details that make it a real jacket pattern.

Olive/Gray Chinos

Self-drafted pattern
Flat front, button fly
100% cotton twill

With the exception of a few minor changes, this pattern is identical to the first pair of chinos I made earlier this year. I’ve never been too wild about olive colored pants, but this fabric has just enough gray in it to make this color one of my new favorites.

Men's olive chinos folded

Men's chinos, button fly

Men's olive chinos, fit image

While they appear to taper quite a bit, I think this is just my stance in this photo. For the most part, the pattern is cut fairly straight. Now I just need to make two or three more pairs in other colors.

Men's chinos, back pockets

Where Do Clothes Come From?

I never thought twice about where my clothing came from until I started learning how to make my own clothes. Now I can’t help thinking about how many people are involved, factory conditions (good or bad), and fair wages every time I pick up a piece of clothing. While I am buying less clothing from stores these days, I still think about where the fabric comes from that I use in my projects. I wish there was an easy way to know whether or not a particular company or fabric mill treated their workers and the environment with respect. It would also be nice to know about any hazardous chemicals used in the finishing process on certain fabrics. After reading about the formaldehyde used in non-wrinkle fabrics, I wish there was more transparency in how textiles are made. I would love to know if anyone has suggestions for places to buy fabrics made by reputable companies that have environmentally friendly manufacturing policies.

By this point I expected to have my jacket pattern completed and thought I would have at least a muslin version ready to start testing the fit. Right after I posted about starting a jacket, I quickly decided I needed another pair of pants more than I needed a jacket. I made some adjustments to my pattern and just completed another pair of chinos, this time in an olive/gray color. In the next week or so I hope to get some pictures posted. Here is the fabric:

olive twill

New Projects

I took a couple of cross country trips in June and found myself in need of a simple laptop sleeve that would protect my computer while riding around in my carry-on bag. Since I had a ton of denim scraps lying around I threw together this selvedge denim laptop sleeve. There are several companies that make and sell denim laptop sleeves, but most of them open on the side and do not offer a way to completely close the sleeve.

Instead, I opted for an “envelope” style sleeve that allows me to tuck in the flap, which closes the sleeve and offers a little more protection. The inside is lined with a double layer of black corduroy fabric that was also laying around in my stash. While it didn’t turn out exactly as planned, it is perfectly functional and served its purpose as I was on and off planes, taking face plants on the tarmac (I have scars to prove it!), and running across airport terminals.

selvedge denim laptop sleeve

selvedge denim laptop sleeve

I am giving denim related projects a little break and moving on to something new. During the next couple weeks, I will start work on a men’s jacket/blazer, which might just be my most ambitious project yet. I’d like to make a somewhat lightweight, unlined or partially lined casual jacket for fall. As of right now I’ve decided to stick with cotton for this first jacket and will most likely use a twill, duck canvas, or maybe even corduroy. My initial plan is for a single breasted, two button jacket with patch pockets.

The pattern will definitely take a while to complete, which is why I’m starting now if I want to have it ready by the fall. I’ve had some trouble finding decent resources for men’s tailoring methods. I have my pattern making book to help out with the pattern and a tailoring book pictured below, which should help some with jacket construction, but wish I could find more resources. The tailoring book is actually for women’s jackets, and while I’m sure a lot of the construction is the same, I wish I could find something more specific to fitting men’s jackets. Eventually I hope to turn this pattern into a more formal sport coat and even a jacket for a suit.

pattern making, tailoring books

TaylorTailor Supply Shop

Supply Shop website image

I am excited to announce the new TaylorTailor Supply Shop! The new shop is easier to use and navigate than the previous version with more products to choose from. I have added more top stitching thread colors, denim zippers, two new finishes for rivets and jeans buttons, and two new selvedge denim options with more on the way.

When I first started making my own jeans I found it difficult and time consuming to source high quality materials and hardware for my projects. Based on the number of questions I receive inquiring about where to find these supplies, I realized that there is a need for a one-stop-shop for high quality denim and jeans related sewing supplies. My goal for the Supply Shop is to put all of these materials and hardware in one place, making it convenient for people to purchase them in small quantities. Who needs 25,000 rivets for one pair of jeans anyway? With the exception of pocket lining, (which I may eventually add) you can find everything you need to make a pair of jeans in the shop.

Feel free to let me know if you have any questions about these products or the website. All of the denim, thread, and notions I carry are things that I use myself and completely stand by. If there is something that you don’t see that you would like to request for the shop, please let me know. I would love to hear your feedback and I am open to suggestions and ideas.