Thread Theory

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Fly or no fly? I’d like your opinion!

Menswear Sewing Tools-2

I’m working away on the instructions for the first of our upcoming 5 patterns and am having some second thoughts on a design feature that I included in this garment.  Is it truly functional and worth the effort necessary to sew it?  Should I remove it entirely or just adjust it to a different style?

Now, I’d really like your advice on this but it is impossible to keep our pattern a surprise if I ask for your help!  So I think I will remove the element of surprise for this particular design and I hope you don’t mind.  I really valued your feedback when I asked for your thoughts on button-up shirts.  All of your discussion on fit and design features led me to feel as though the Fairfield Button-up was designed by our menswear sewing community and not just by myself.

So let’s try this again!

Pyjamas-technical-illustration

We’ve created a pattern for men’s pyjama bottoms after receiving many requests over the years to design an easy garment suitable for new sewists.  People are looking for a woven project that introduces sewists to the skills necessary to sew more advanced menswear on their next project.

Of  course, there are many pyjama patterns out there already so I have carefully chosen design elements that make these pyjamas uniquely “Thread Theory.”  They include all sorts of high end finishing details that will prepare someone to sew the Jedediah Pants or Jutland Pants for their next project.  They have pocket facings so that the inseam pockets do not allow a peek of pocketing material to be visible when the leg is moved.  They include a wide fold over waistband that encloses both elastic and a fabric or twill tape drawstring.  Their side seams and inseams may be adorned with top stitching as an easy way to practice precision stitching to prepare for flat-fell seams on future projects.

Menswear Sewing Tools-4

The last design feature, which is the one I need your help on, is a fully functioning button fly.  This fly adds an attractive amount of detail to the front of the pants and it also allows the wearer to go “though the barn door” when going to the washroom rather than pulling their PJs down.  The last advantage of this fly is that it offers excellent practice for someone who hopes to progress to sewing trousers confidently.

Menswear Sewing Tools-3

Now that you know why I added this button fly, here are my concerns and my questions:

  • I am considering doing a True Beginner and Confident Beginner variation.  The True Beginner would skip the fly altogether and simply sew the entire crotch seam closed.  Is a button fly too complicated for a Confident Beginner?
  • I wonder if anyone would actually find a functioning fly useful on a pair of pyjamas with an elastic waist.  They are a common feature on RTW pyjama pants but I am not certain all the work they add for a home sewer is worth your while…isn’t it easier for a man to undo the drawstring bow and pull his pants down instead of undo a button fly and taking the time to ‘fish around’? (Blushing…)  If they really aren’t that useful, why do so many store bought pyjamas include this style of fly?
  • I like the interest that the fly top stitching adds to the front of the garment and feel this same aesthetic could be achieved with an easy to sew mock-fly.  Perhaps a mock-fly would be more in-line with a Confident Beginner’s capabilities.  But I have read many comments from Thread Theory pattern users saying that do not like sewing garments that include non-functional design elements.  Would you feel that a non-functional mock fly that has been included solely for aesthetics is “cheap” or somehow “cheating”?  We want these pyjamas to feel luxuriously high end and would hate for a mock fly to detract from this!

Menswear Sewing Tools-1

So, to sum things up, which option do you prefer?

  1. Two variations: No fly and functioning button fly.
  2. Two variations: No fly and mock-fly.
  3. Two variations: Mock fly and functioning button fly.
  4. One variation: No fly – making this pattern very clear and straightforward for true beginners (sometimes variations can make the instruction booklet look overwhelming).

Thanks for your help!

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8 Comments

The Newcastle Cardigan Pattern has been Drafted!

good pattern pic

Great news!  Early yesterday Sabine of Suncoast Custom emailed me to announce that she had finished drafting the medium size of the Newcastle Cardigan.  It was ready for me to mock up to approve the fit before she grades it to all the sizes!  We met at my school (The Pacific Design Academy) because she had an appointment there regarding an evening patternmaking course that she will soon be teaching and she handed over the big white roll of paper that represents the beginning of the Parkland Collection.

fabric

This morning I got right to it and cut out the pieces from 1.5m of a 150cm wide olive knit called Oslo Plain (85% Acrylic, 15% wool).  I bought it from Gordon Fabrics Ltd. in Vancouver as a good mock up material because, as far as knits go, I thought it was pretty cheap, a medium weight, and had a medium amount of stretch.  After completing the sample though, I think the cardigan will look better in a heavier weight and maybe in something with a little more stretch to it.

pattern on fabric

I sewed up the sample and made notes on the process which will eventually become the instructions.  I concentrated on accuracy of seam allowances and simply serged all the raw edges for now because for the first mock up, I am mostly just examining the fit and style.

sewing

The arms and shoulders fit Matt very well which is good because he has medium sized shoulders but the body was quite snug.  Matt has a size small body so, seeing as the mock up was supposed to be a medium fit, the width of the garment will have to be increased quite a bit.  I’ve let Sabine know the fit adjustments I would like and next time I mock the garment up I’ll test it out on as many size medium men as I can get my hands on 😛

full front

full back

Before sewing the next sample I’ll be brainstorming different finishing techniques to use – should I add stabilizing elastic at the shoulders?  Should the collar be interfaced?  Should the main seams be french or maybe flat felled seams?  All those answers are still to come but for now, I’m really happy with the appearance of the cardigan.

front detail

For this sample, I haven’t added the button placket as Sabine, my patternmaker, chose to include a full width body piece which could be cut narrower to make room for the placket.  I think I’ll continue to use the placket I designed though because it will provide options for stitching the facing firmly in place so it doesn’t flap around (which, I’m sure you can agree, is the most annoying thing for a facing to do!)

back detail

Next step – finalizing the pattern, writing the instructions and sending it out to pattern testers (for free!) – anyone interested?  Leave a comment or email me at mmmeredith@hotmail.ca.