How to Accumulate Best Partner Points

I made more Jedediah trousers! I have even more planned. These trousers for my partner are the best. He won’t be wearing anything else, ever again.

You know I have previously made the most impractically coloured pair of Jedediah trousers for my partner? I thought he might like a pair that were more sensibly coloured. That if he spilled coffee on, it would not be instantly, ludicrously obvious. And perhaps also in the colour palette he likes to wear (we describe it as dressing like a tree. He likes to dress like a tree. Me, I like to dress like a 4 year old.) It’s possible that he also specifically requested a brown corduroy pair.

Anyway, I made an awesome fly zipper, and fabulous back pockets and I’m well smug that I made my partner another pair of trousers. Basically I just swan around the house grinning at how awesome I am. It’s insufferable but thankfully there are only the two of us so no one needs to know until I go telling the internet. Don’t tell anyone else, okay?

However, I still don’t like buttons and am still crap at buttonholes. I plan the Bruyere in the near future. I need to get over my general dislike of buttons and specific crapness at buttonholes.

Thread Theory’s pattern instructions and sewalong are wonderfully helpful. I read them both together as I worked away at constructing the trousers. I did this last time, too. The video for the fly instruction is great (I especially love Morgan’s taste in music), but I also like written instructions, so I cross-refer with a gazillion tutorials I have saved in Evernote.

Are you using Evernote? Remember bookmarking webpages and then never finding them again because you never organised your bookmarks? Yeah, me too. I’ve got my Evernote nicely organised, but you can just also do a simple google search of all your notes when you want to find something, so you could just dump your saves into one notebook and not worry about organising but that is not my way. I loves me some folders, whether they be actual or digital. Often, I try to re-bookmark something (because I will google instead of going to my Evernote to find info I’ve previously found because I don’t know why) and Evernote magically tells me not to. Thanks, Evernote. Also, if the website ever goes defunct or, as happened with one blog post I return to, the pictures stopped being hosted, you’ve captured it in Evernote and you do not have to rely on the vagaries of web-hosting mishaps. Last, I like that Evernote keeps the url link, so that you always know where you got it from, even if the host has gone AWOL, either forever or temporarily, when you need them most.

Anyway, that was a proselytising tangent about Evernote to tell you that I like these fly zipper tutorials:

I also cross-reference with the fly zipper tutorial in Christine Haynes’ Complete Photo Guide to Garment Construction.

Look, I know it’s a bit over the top, but I just like to have lots of information at the ready when I’m doing something I’m not super confident with. I can imagine the day when I make a fly zipper without referring to any of these excellent resources, but that’s because I have a good imagination, not because in reality I expect to reach that mythical land of sewing competence. Although, unlike last time, I did not unpick this fly zipper at all. Not once. Skilling up, yo.

I am also one of the those people who read through the entire instructions before starting. I have a degree of experience now, and an awareness of how I like to do things with the time that I have for sewing. I sew on weeknights, in snatches of time. Sometimes, I have glorious whole days devoted to sewing, and sometimes I have lovely days sewing with buddies, either at Social Sewing or sewing dates. But my sewing time is also time I fit in with the rest of my life. I like to hang out with my partner (surprise!); we have a lot of hobbies, I hike and bike and play board games, I like to read, I like to cook and eat, I like to garden, and I also like to sit on the sofa, unfocus my eyes and vague out. You should try it. It’s fun.

With sewing, I have this clear desire to MAKE SOMETHING, but when it comes to actually undertaking a task, I hesitate and procrastinate (which is also how I have come across all those excellent tutorials), unless I have a clear idea of what it is that I have to do, and roughly how long it will take me.

I am also getting much, much better at stopping before I’m tired because unpicking the sewing you did when you were sleepy and made wonky stitches is just silly. Wonky stitches because you’re not very skilled at handling the fabric is okay – you’ll learn to get better; but making an avoidable mistake just drives me bananas. I get really angry with myself, I have stern words and say things I don’t really mean using the cruellest words I can come up with, and then I stop talking to myself until I’ve received a genuine apology from me.

Sewing has discrete tasks, as well as cascading tasks. That is there are some things you can do separately from everything else but there are also things that have to be done before you do the next step (e.g. you should top stitch the back pocket before sewing them onto the back piece!) And there are some tasks that require more, or less, attention. I will only flat-fell a seam when I’m not tired, because the chance of cutting the wrong thing is high and if that wrong thing happens to be the outside fabric, it’s disastrous.

I like to identify the discrete, small tasks, and do them either beforehand or, if I only have short periods of time (say when partner is cooking fried rice for dinner and I know it will take roughly 15 minutes and I’m otherwise just hovering around drooling in hunger, I could get out of the kitchen and complete one little sewing task instead! The alternative is that I interfere. It’s quite endearing. Or I’ve got home from work late, and then I’ve cooked and/or cleaned and generally faffed and now it’s an hour until bedtime – can I do any sewing or should I just continue faffing about the house? If I know there is something discrete that I will probably complete in less than an hour, I’ll most likely start. Sometimes when I have this kind of time available to me, I go into my sewing room and stand in the middle and vague out. It’s … not very useful, but kinda fun and you should try it.)

This is pretty much a reminder for myself and works for me. But if it helps you too, smug happy dances for everybody!

Small discrete tasks:

  • Back pocket top stitching
  • Fly zipper – interface relevant pieces
  • Waistband
    • Interface
    • Press in half (lengthwise) & bind one edge
  • Belt loops
  • Trouser legs – Stretching various parts with your iron (Step 13)

{you need to do these things before you use them in the constructing part, but otherwise can do them whenever.

I *hate* interfacing, with petulant irrationality and I put this task off, but I have found that if I interface at a time completely separate from when I need to use the interfaced piece, my degree of hostility towards interfacing is much reduced.

Order of construction:

  • Overlock everything except the seams to be flat felled (back yoke / inseams – although if you do overlock them, it’s no biggie)
  • Front pockets
  • Back pockets
  • Back yoke
  • Sew flat fell inseam before side seam (easier to flat fell the inseam in this manner, and a flat fell inseam is nicer to wear even if a flat fell side seam is nicer to look at. I care more about how the garment feels on than how it looks.)
  • Sew side seam & crotch seam – baste stitches first and check fit
  • Sew side seam & crotch seam properly
  • Fly zipper time! (like hammer time but more stressful, and with hopefully no pants with crotch at the knees)
  • NOW finish & press side seam and crotch seam
  • Belt loops onto trousers
  • Waistband
  • Button and button-hole (sigh)

Finished!

  • Do smug-happy dance.
  • Make partner wear trousers.
  • Do more smug-happy dancing.
  • Be crap at making partner wear trousers at a time when you can take photographs of him so you can post this post that you drafted like in the time of the dinosaurs.
  • Post your blog post anyway.
  • Do even more smug-happy dancing.
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18 Comments

  1. Smug-happy dancing is definitely in order here! I like the way you plot out your sewing – it makes a lot of sense. With my sewing, I advocate baby steps. Do this seam before leaving for work. Unpick that stupid one because the stupid pattern is too stupid big and I have yet to work out which size I should actually be sewing (thanks, big four!). It’s really fascinating to see how people approaching sewing differently.

    Essentially: congratulations on constructing pants of awesomeness. Let the dancing continue.

    Reply

    1. Thanks, Katie! Yeah, I’m pretty smug.

      I am slowly developing a sort of pro-forma order of constructions steps for all types of garments, and getting a good idea of how to break it down.

      I’ve not yet made a Big 4 garment for me, though I do have lots of patterns (of course). I suggest (which you probably already do) trawling Pattern Review and blogs for others who’ve made the garment to get an idea of sizing. Such a great resource.

      Reply

  2. Oh, I am really, really, really impressed!! I can sew a buttonhole but as for the rest of the trousers I’d be hopeless! I have no idea what all the sewing terms mean but your humour and passion is very entertaining so it doesn’t matter. They are fabulous trousers. Well done. You have a right to feel smug. 🙂

    Reply

    1. Are you hand sewing buttonholes? If yes, I’m well impressed. Any hand sewn buttonholes by me would look like a distracted 3 year old did it…

      Reply

    1. Thanks! I’m pretty chuffed with myself for working out how to alter the pattern to fit him better. Shorts are on the plan. As are just more generally!

      Reply

    1. I don’t think pants (tee hee) are any more difficult than anything else. There’s just a wee few more construction steps to work through! Go on… Do it! (If you want to.)

      Reply

  3. This is truly worthy of the smuggest happy dances! What a rad make- so many level ups of skills happening here. Epic. Win.

    Reply

    1. Modest curtsey. And that hand gesture that means, oh stop, you’re too much, (but really means do continue to shower me with praise while I pretend humility)

      Reply

  4. You have every right to be smug! Your skills and unselfishness are admirable!! 🙂 I am just learning the Ways of the Trouser, and there is no way I am unselfish enough to make any for my partner LOL. It’s way easier for him to buy RTW than me so I get priority LOL.

    Like you, I have found that if I separate the tasks I find most distasteful that they become far less so – I always hated interfacing too but surprisingly it’s actually kind of satisfying when you do it at a separate time from everything else – weird right? ^_^

    Reply

    1. Actually, it’s a form of selfishness (shhh) because I practise the techniques on his trousers, before I do mine. I have just done the same with a button up shirt …

      What is it with interfacing? But you’re right, it is kinda satisfying doing it completely divorced from when it’s needed – maybe it is the way it interrupts the flow of sewing? Must ponder.

      Reply

      1. Bahaha! you’re a genius… but still way more unselfish than I ^__^ We should do a scientific experiment to figure out why interfacing is so horrible… I think it’s because it’s ugly but that could just be my artsy fartsy snobbery coming through LOL.

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