Hello there.

With a big family wedding coming up, I need to get my skates on and make an outfit suitable for the Uncle of the Groom (that’s me!)

Bring in Burda 6871 that I got from my ‘simplicity pattern haul‘. It’s a three piece suit with two jacket options. If I’ve got time I’ve decided to make both jackets, using the longer one as a topcoat, perhaps with a warmer lining. So I guess I’ll have a four piece suit… five if there’s enough left for a hat…

At the moment of writing this I have exactly 5 weeks. That sounds like a long time, however it is not 5 weeks of solid sewing time. I figure it’s going to take a lot of effort to get this right (… first time…?!) so it’ll take a few blog posts (I’ll be pleased if I get to wear trousers and a waistcoat by the time of the wedding) but here goes with Suitable Intentions…!

As I haven’t been in a clothing shop for three years I thought I’d better do some research on men’s styles for spring summer 2018. A quick google around the top fashion houses proved my previous cynicisms mostly right, that if you’re tall and handsome enough they’ll dress you in practically anything. I wasn’t there when they were handing that out – so I picked out the trends that I liked the best. (Much like reading the horoscopes; believe the bits that sound good, ignore the rest…)

S/S ’18 Menswear Trends (heavily condensed)

  • Stripes
  • Two chest pockets
  • Waist ties/ belts

Not an exhaustive list, but helpful enough for me to go ahead and make what I like while pretending to follow fashion trends (I’m not having a waist tie though, and I might switch the 2nd chest pocket for a ticket pocket… but I’m definitely having stripes!)

The main trend I’m seeing ‘on the street’ is the continuation of the hipster look which seems to be morphing towards a Peaky Blinders theme.

(images from google)

Previous style inspiration has ranged from tap dancing sailors to triplet ducks, so hopefully I’m heading in a more mature direction.

(Images: Disney & Wiki)

Please don’t mis-interpret any of this, I’m not about to stop continuing to make endless hangers of black and grey everyday clothing as and when I want/ need it. I just thought I should at least try to pay attention to fashion…

So I bought some grey pinstripe suiting.

Fabric & Haberdashery.

I shopped around a bit and unless I was going to spend hundreds of pounds (which I would have loved to have done) I was going to end up with a wool blend. As it was, I ended up going the complete opposite end of the scale and got a cotton viscose blend from Dave’s the Draper on Shepherds Bush Market for just £3.95 pm. At that price I didn’t blink at buying eight metres of it. Maybe I’ll regret going cheap in the long run, but it feels really soft and a good weight. I’m looking forward to wearing it.

Over Christmas, I was lucky enough to win a £50 voucher to spend at Abakhan Fabrics from an Instagram competition run by @WhatCorrineDidNext (Yay! Thanks Corrine & Abakhan!) so I used it to buy my 5m of interfacing and 6m of lining (satin backed dupion in a silver/ grey).

I had the zip in my stash as well as the waistcoat buckle.

The buttons (6 large and 17 small) I’ll find later.

I’m planning on making the shoulder pads… but more on that later.

So all in all it’s coming in on a pretty small budget.

Waistcoat.

On the Burda size chart I’m closest to a 38 but after checking the finished measurements on the pattern piece and measuring the length, I decided to cut a size 36 and lengthen it by 2cm. I did this as I traced it, by tracing the bottom section upto the lengthen line, measuring up 2cm then lining that up with the same line and carrying on to trace the top portion of the pattern piece. This saved a lot of cutting and sticking.

As an ‘advanced’ pattern it’s no wonder there are a lot of pieces to trace, twelve. And the pieces for each pattern are spread all over the four large tissue pieces. This was a bit of a headache and I resorted to ticking the pieces off as I traced them. I guess I should have traced everything at once, each sheet at a time, but I just couldn’t face that all in one go.

Cutting out took a while; Because of the stripes I cut the fronts separately – I lined a stripe up with the button line (& the grain line, of course) then flipped the piece over to get a mirror image. It looks like the (1cm) dart has ended up perfectly positioned over the (1 cm) stripe (would you believe it…?) so I’m feeling brave about matching the stripes through the welts.

Attempting to match the welts:

I laid the front pieces face up and marked all four pockets and the dart.

Fold the welt as it will look on the front and line up the seam line.

Draw the fabric stripes onto the pattern piece.

Keeping an eye on the orientation, line up your pencil markings with a new piece of fabric and cut out your welts.

Keep them safe by folding and pinning to the the fronts until it’s time to sew them.

The rest of the cutting out was plain sailing. So long as you remember to cut out four back (lining) pieces. The back tabs seem really short, I couldn’t be bothered to get the tissue back out to check if I’d traced them correctly so I just cut them longer than the pattern piece.

Time is of the essence and all this took me longer than I thought. Those jackets seem a long way off… at a bare minimum I can get away with a waistcoat and trousers – but only if the weather warms up!

Notes to self:

  • Don’t forget a shirt.
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