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

19 Responses to “New Projects”

  1. Betty — July 19, 2011 @ 9:24 am

    There is a menswear tailoring book by an author named Cabrera for which I’ve seen good reviews. I’ve also looked at it in the library (though I didn’t check it out to read it) and I remember it looked very comprehensive.

    O.k., I found it. Classic Tailoring by Roberto Cabrera. Here’s the Amazon link:

  2. Taylor — July 19, 2011 @ 9:35 am

    Thanks for the link Betty. I’ll have to check that book out.

  3. Lauren — July 19, 2011 @ 10:38 am

    sadly, there aren’t a lot of resources on men’s clothing, especially fitting and the like (which is weird, considering that if a man would have *anything* made for him, it would likely be something like a jacket that required fitting knowledge!). are you going to tailor your jacket, like with the padstitching & the back stay and everything? that tailoring book is fantastic – i can’t recommend it enough.

    can’t wait to see your jacket!

  4. Taylor — July 19, 2011 @ 11:48 am

    It is weird that there aren”t more readily available resources for men’s clothing. I’m not quite sure about all the details yet. This first version will be very casual, and almost “rough.” I like the idea of having a tailored, sharp fit, but use a non-traditional jacket fabric such as duck canvas. We’ll see what happens. Fabric selection is a ways off yet.

  5. Jason DeFontes — July 19, 2011 @ 11:49 am

    In Coffin’s trouser book he recommends these books by Stanley Hostek:

    There’s one on pants, and another on coats. I just ordered them and they look really comprehensive. (FWIW, they are self-published/typewritten/spiral-bound, but kind of charming.)

  6. Taylor — July 19, 2011 @ 12:03 pm

    Thanks for the link Jason. I have Coffins’ trouser book and should have looked there. Do those books have any pattern drafting instructions?

  7. Jason DeFontes — July 19, 2011 @ 12:26 pm

    Unfortunately there’s not really any info on pattern drafting. They’re mostly about construction technique, but in a step-by-step fashion that’s a little more detailed than Coffin, and emphasizing hand work from what I can tell. I’ve only just paged though them and haven’t really read them yet.

  8. puu — July 19, 2011 @ 4:55 pm

    kenneth king has a fantastic e-book on jacket tailoring, in which he uses a jacket for himself as the primary example. it goes far beyond the basic techniques in the non-cabrera tailoring book, but using his method–which includes several tips on pattern-making and adjustments–it’s possible to go from cut pieces to completed jacket in about a day. i’ve made two jackets so far using many of his methods and been incredibly satisfied.

    that said, i found his book the most helpful when i used it in conjunction with the basic tailoring book referenced above, as well as the classic (and out of print) tailoring tome by adele margolis.

  9. Lauriana — July 20, 2011 @ 1:45 am

    A jacket. That is a challenge. I think it is a great idea to start with a cotton version. On that, you won’t have to/won’t be able to use the most labour intensive tailoring techniques (padstitching on horsehair, anyone?).
    I think you should do fine with instructions for women’s jackets. After all, those are all based on the classic menswear techniques.
    I don’t have any tips of books on fitting menswear (in fact, I’ve wanted to make my boyfriend a jacket for over a year, and I kept struggling to get the fit right. I should really go back to that project soon…) but for pattern making, you could have a look at ‘Metric Pattern Cutting for Menswear’ by Winifred Aldrichh, which includes several jacket variations. Unfortunately, where the womenswear book discusses fit, this one doesn’t.

  10. Jonathan — July 21, 2011 @ 6:15 pm

    Just to throw another possibility out there, I saw this book in a shop last week and earmarked it for a future, more experienced me to buy. It might be the kind of thing you’re looking for. Although the illustration on the front is a woman’s jacket, the book covers men’s tailoring as well. And it bills itself as a ‘course’, geared towards the beginner tailor. Worth checking out perhaps:

  11. clf — July 22, 2011 @ 4:13 am

    vintage (sold as pdf)

    euro men’s pattern drafting, all you need is a metric ruler

    detailed sew-along using rtw techniques (doesn’t matter that this is a woman’s jackets–techniques will be the same)

    how to knock off stuff (the way fashion designers and movie stylists do– use this to knock off a favorite blazer that already fits you well)

  12. Mainelydad — July 25, 2011 @ 6:22 am

    The Cabrera book will walk you through the process step by step. Put a cover over your sewing machine because you’ll be using it very little. There is an enormous amount of hand sewing and basting, but I think you’ll find it very enjoyable and rewarding. Your biggest issue may be finding the supplies that you need. You’ll need a variety of different canvas interfacings to construct the chest piece and collar of the jacket. I heartily recommend B Black and Sons in LA. Check out my blog for proof that making a tailored jacket is completely possible by anyone!

  13. Jerry Lee Atwood — July 27, 2011 @ 10:24 am

    Hands down the best pattern draft for mens suit jackets is in Clarence Poulin’s Tailoring Suits the Professional Way. The book is out of print, but if you can find a copy at the library or Amazon it’s definitely worth checking out. The book was first published in 1953, so the jacket pattern has a very fitted, classic but not dated look.

  14. John — August 3, 2011 @ 8:14 pm

    Taylor, I would try going to a second hand or consignment store and buy a jacket that you like the fit and take it apart. I made a chore coat/jacket recently from a Vogue pattern with lots of alterations, but the pattern was a great starting point. Good luck! Looking forward to seeing your outcome.

  15. urbandon — August 23, 2011 @ 1:16 am

    Good luck with the jacket- like all your work it should look very cool and well made.

  16. John Arthur — September 13, 2011 @ 6:18 pm

    Check out Made By Hand ( – not comprehensive, but lots of fun stuff to check out there. Deconstructed SR jackets, hand-stitched button-holes galore, etc.


  17. theperfectnose — November 13, 2012 @ 4:20 am

    I’d recommend Metric Pattern Cutting for Menswear by Aldrich (for the pattern-making part) and Tailored Fashion Design by Pamela Powell (the latter has sewing instructions and heaps of other facts, stories and vignettes +images of couture and designer RTW garments but most importantly it has all the jacket blocks included). There’s also this which is coming out soon (I have the grading book from that series, still digesting that one..).The Bunka Garment Design Textbook Series have a lot of sewing information (tailoring but also step by step procedures for putting together garments) but it’s all women-centric so probably no joy there for you-although I’d highly recommend the Jackets and Coats books for the illustrated step by step tailoring techniques. For a general book on putting together men’s garments there’s The Sew-EAsy Guid to Menswear by Hazel M. Sear (shirt, trousers, vest, tie, sport jacket) and this which randomly turns up during my searches from time to time..
    I also have a bunch of menswear related stuff in my vintage books, so if you’d like me to send you scans hit me up at my blog.

  18. ayoola Taiwo — December 24, 2013 @ 2:52 pm

    Hello,the practical guide to patternmaking for fashion designers;menswear(the book by Lori.A.Knowles),how would you rate it?I’m considering buying any one of it or metric pattern cutting for menswear by Winifred Aldrich.Which would you recommend out of the two?

  19. Taylor — December 26, 2013 @ 11:06 am

    The Lori Knowles book is the only book I’ve used for menswear, so I can’t compare it to the other book you mentioned. It has worked well for me, someone who knew nothing about pattern making before buying the book. The book only covers pattern making, no construction techniques, or directions for sewing the patterns. I definitely recommend it, but the process from start to finish can be very time consuming. Let me know if you have other questions.

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