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Trouser Making - Ironwork


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#1 Sator

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Posted 06 September 2009 - 09:02 PM

This comes from the 1950s Rundschau book Zuschnitt XII edition. If you have found this useful, you may want to consider subscribing to the current Rundschau journals or browsing through their current books on their online store.

Part I - the Topsides


With modern slim cut trousers, a moderate amount of ironwork is unavoidable, especially on clients with prominent calves.

Overview of Ironwork:

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The topsides with a modern hem width of 48-50cm require moderate stretching of the leg and front seams beneath the knee.

The topside is moderately stretched along the inseam bit by bit from top to bottom:

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The side seam is moderately stretched:

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Through shrinking, a moderate hollowing out can be seen of the inseam:

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The fork must be moderately shrunk (or held short) in order to ensure a clean adjoining of the right and left panels.

The front corner of the waistband area should be moderately shrunk (Abb 470). Alternatively, as the waistband is put on, the topside can be sewn short in the shown area. The fork of left and right is reinforced with lining (Abb 469). It is recommended that the lining here be doubled over on the bias to sit backwards on the angle of the inseam, before the ironwork commences. This avoids having to trim the rear corner of the lining, which tends to stand out - particularly with thin materials.

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The pleats must be correctly basted on in order for the finished trousers to have the correct fall:

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The trousers must be correctly basted so that the central and the smaller pleats lay smoothly - preferably with a machine.


Part II - the Undersides



The underside of trousers have to also be worked up with the iron, especially when they are slim cut. With trousers of a hem and knee width of 48-50cm traditional ironwork has to be undertaken to lend the trousers the proper shape. This need not be too arduous a task. The ironwork described here, dependent thought it is on the nature of the cloth, contributes significantly to the fit of the trousers.

Abb. 472: Moderate ironwork at the knee level at the side seam

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Abb. 473: Diagonal ironwork at the calf and moderate shrinking at the inseam

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The iron is moved diagonally to the highest point of the calf, and the width falling onto the side seam is shrunk in.

Abb 474: Moderate ironwork at the knee level at the leg-seam

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The inseam is stretched moderately at the knee

Abb. 475: Diagonal ironwork at the calf and moderate shrinking at the side-seam

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The calf is stretched from the inseam inwards with a diagonal movement and the excess width shrunk in

Abb. 476: The round of hip at the underside is moderately shrunk short

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Abb. 477: The fork is cut so that there is a bit of extra ease for comfort

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The underside is normally cut so that the inseam at the fork is 1-2cm wider than the side seam. This ease must be brought to the place where it is really needed - the deepest round of the seat.

Abb. 478: Moderate stretching of the top of the inseam in a diagonal direction

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Abb 479: Forceful stretching with a diagonal movement of the iron in a backwards direction of the seat seam

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Abb 480: Lay the trousers along the underside panel and repeat the ironwork with the same diagonal movement

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Abb 481: The arrows indicate the form taken after successful ironwork on the underside

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There is moderate length at knee height in the leg and side seams resulting a hollowing just below the knee. The is more or less pronounced fullness at the calf level. There is sufficient fullness at hips and seat.

Abb 482: The desired overall shape and ease for added comfort in the seat seam

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Abb 483: The topside and undersides fit effortlessly together

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#2 Sator

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Posted 06 September 2009 - 09:48 PM

The overview of the overall schema for the ironwork of trousers from die Zuschneidenkunst, published by the now defunct journal Der Schneidermeister in 1927:


e = shrink

d = stretch


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The final shape imparted to the trousers by the ironwork is as follows:

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There are some subtle differences but overall it is very similar to the Rundschau method shown above.

The following enormous essay on the correct technique for trouser ironwork comes from die Zuschneidekunst, 1938 published by der Schneidermeister.

The Working Up of Trousers


Die Verarbeitung der Hose


The correct fit of trousers cannot be achieved by cutting alone, for this must be achieved for the most part through ironwork. Many more errors in trousers have their origins in inadequate ironwork than in the cut. The most important factor in trousers is their width. Different widths demand a different method of working up with the iron, although difference in posture and body habitus also influence this. Even the most perfectly calculated cut could never create well fitting trousers without the proper ironwork.

First we will study the difference in the ironwork technique demanded by difference in the trouser width. The narrower the trouser the more pronounced the curves that the panels will have, with a hollow at knee and foot, as well as roundness of the calf area. On the other hand, the wider the trousers are cut, the straighter the form will become until with much wider cuts, it almost forms completely straight lines. However, in the finished trouser the side and legs seams must nonetheless always form an almost completely straight line. The rule is therefore that:

The wider the width at knee and foot relative to the seat width, the less ironwork is required. The narrower the trousers are at knee and foot, the more ironwork is required.

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Abb 550: On narrow cut trousers there forms at k, a large gap between top and undersides at the knee.

With a moderately wide cut of trousers in Abb 551 this gap is narrower than before:

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With very wide trousers as in Abb 552 hardly any gap is present:

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If follows that the narrower the trouser is cut the more ironwork will be required to get the seams completely straight. The hollow at knee and roundness of calf are extremely pronounced on narrow cut trousers. The undersides must therefore be very strongly stretched or shrunk to get the seams straight in order that they should effortlessly fit together. The hollow of foot must also be attained through vigorous ironwork on the topsides. With the moderately wide form, the shape of the seams is already fairly well balanced, so less the ironwork need not be as vigorous. With the very wide form, the seams are already almost straight so very little ironwork need be conducted.

The Difference in the Shape Between Different Widths

The technique of ironwork will be shown later, but we will examine first the differences in the final form taken at the completion of the ironwork.

Whether cut narrow or wide, the trouser seams must form an almost perfectly straight line from the seat to the hollow of foot. With narrow cut trousers this line may, at the very most, form a gentle curve downwards towards the calf. The straightness of the lines has also been attained in Abb 553 through a light and even stretching of the top sides in the area of the top side break from the middle of the upper thigh to the middle of the lower thighs:

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Additionally (provided there are no pleats), the topsides can be shrunk in from the letter g to the middle of the upper thigh at S1, or else the underside can be sewn long while making up - something particularly important in subjects with well developed upper thighs. On wide trousers or trousers cut with pleats this is no longer necessary, as there is already room enough there. If you were to shrink the topsides (or sew the underside long) on wide trousers it makes them too close and uncomfortable to move in at the knee. The shortness at the knee of the undersides will interfere with the forward stride of the leg with every step. With wide trousers the upper thighs are made up quite plain. The exception is with a subject of erect or stooping stance, as we will explain later.

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Abb 554: with moderately wide trousers, moderately vigorous ironwork will achieve an even run in the seams of topside and underside.

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Abb 555: With very wide trousers, little ironwork is required to get the seams straight.

Compare Abb 553-555, where the letter k shows the hollow of knee. You can also see that narrow cut trousers need a lot more ironwork to achieve a greater hollow of knee. Even the hollow of foot is least pronounced in the very wide form of trouser, to the point that it hardly exists any longer and the seams fall almost straight.

The Working Up of the Topside


The seams of topside and underside must form of completely straight line if they are to fit together with ease and without there being excess length on either side. This rule, of course holds true of the hollow of foot in top and underside.

In order to appreciate the degree of vigour of the ironwork required, especially of the topside, it is best to lay the topside and underside at the knee and foot side by side so that the gap between them at the hollow of foot v and at the knee k is the same:

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Abb 556 shows an example with narrow cut trousers, where there is a pronounced hollow at v and k. This hollow must be evened out through ironwork. After being worked up, the topside must have the same run as that given by the cut to the underside (although this does not relate to the roundedness of the calf). A comparison of Abb 556, 557 and 558 shows how the narrow trousers in Abb 556 have a more pronounced hollow from v to k than on the medium wide trousers in Abb 557:

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This means that less vigorous ironwork is required for the medium wide trousers.

In Abb 558 you can see that there is very little hollow there in the very wide trousers:

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The topsides need only be stretched a little at the letter v.

Practical Implementation of Ironwork

The ironwork must be carried out with a good hot iron. An insufficiently hot iron makes the work difficult, and there is the danger that the cloth will be soiled. Delicate cloth forms flecks which are difficult to get rid of.

i]Wetting the Cloth[/i]

The area should be well wetted without soaking it. Excessively dry ironing is ineffective.

The Stretching of the Seams

Once you have judged how wide the hollow between topside and underside is, begin the ironwork as shown in Abb 559. The iron is placed on the cloth firmly enough that the cloth cannot slide underneath the iron when pulled. As the right hand presses firmly on the cloth, the left hand pulls forwards evenly on the topside seam as shown in Abb 559:

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The seam must be pulled forcefully, with a tug that is evening widely distributed, and so that it is directly on the seam.

The left hand should grasp the seam widely from the seam to topside break and pull it forwards with a forceful tug. In this way the iron is slowly advanced forward. In order to avoid a distortion of the shape, and the formation of creases it is best to try to avoid forcefully trying to achieve the final form in one foul sweep of the iron. The final form should be achieved rather with repeated after passes of the iron, before each of which the cloth is repeatedly moistened. Only once the desired flawless form has been achieved should the ironwork be allowed to progress to the next stage. The partly worked up topside must have the appearance shown in Abb 560:

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The worked up seam of the topside must lie completely flat before moving on.

The Second Half of the Topside

Once the inner half of the topside (you can also start with outer half) has the desired form, the seam lying away from the body is worked up in likewise fashion. How the trouser seam is grasped is shown in Abb 561:

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This second side of the topside is worked up to be long enough that it lies just as flat as the opposite seam in Abb 560.

The Follow-Up Work

Repeat ironwork on the topside is performed on each trouser leg. The trouser leg is folded down the middle so that the seams look exactly evenly. The trouser corner is pulled forwards with a forceful tug as shown in Abb 562:

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This ironwork can be conducted with somewhat greater force as the seams tend to spring back a little to their original form. If the ironwork is conducted with special vigour you will attain the necessary form straight away without having to shrink the topside at the hollow near the hem.

The Working Up of the Underside


The Upper Thigh Section of the Side

Lay the trousers on the ironing table so that the side seam lies towards the body, and the stretching can be carried out from top to bottom. Once you have determined how much the thigh area has to be stretched, place the iron at the top of the inseam as shown in Abb 563:

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The iron should be placed firmly on the cloth, and the trousers grasped at the knee area so that the thumb firmly holds onto a large width of cloth. With an evenly forceful pull, the thigh area is sufficiently stretched so that the sideseam becomes completely straight, and the trousers lie fully flat all the way down to the break. The breakline can also be shrunk somewhat short. You should try to achieve the final form more through stretching than through shrinking. If the underside is to be made extremely short relative to the topside, as with very erect figures, the thigh area can be so worked up that it forms a gently curved line. The topside must also be worked up to fit this line.

With many trouser cutting systems, the side seam is already cut in the thigh area so that it has more length than the inseam. The inseam is thereby more hollow than side seam above the line of the knee. With these cuts the side seam should not be stretched as strongly. However, the inseam, as we will later see, must be stretched significantly more forcefully. The cuts in this book are drafted so that the side and inseams have the same amount of hollow, so that the ironwork can be conducted with equal force.

The Hollow of Knee

Once the thigh to knee area has been imparted the desired form, the work on the hollow of knee can begin. With a somewhat biased, forceful run, as shown in Abb 564, try to draw out a more or less pronounced hollow of the side seam at knee level:

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These bias runs of the iron achieve the desired length in the knee quicker and better than forceful pulling in the direction of the side seam. Once you have pulled the hollow of knee strongly towards the front, press the calf area well back and shrink the usual length in the hollow of knee right in up to the back trouser break.

The Shaping of the Calf

Once the trousers have the desired shape from the top of the inseam down to the knee, begin with the shaping of the calf area. With all normal trouser cuts in this book the round of calf is equal on side seam and inseam. Whenever dealing with a patterned cloth, we want the hind trouser break to run with cloth pattern, and the trousers are to be ironed seam upon seam. In any case, it is easier to achieve a relatively strong shaping of the calf through ironwork on two sides than it is through a more forceful working up from the side seam outwards. In many cases, the round of calf is more desirable more outwardly. In this particular case the reader is directed to a special cut in is book. Only that ironwork is described here that is conducted equally from side and inseam. The attainment of the correct round of calf gives many tailors great difficulties particularly when it concerns hard cloths, and when the cut has an especially pronounced round of calf. Even when particularly vigorous shrinking is performed some springing of the cloth back to its original form has to be expected. One should therefore attempt to attain the shaping of the calf through skilful biased runs of the iron (utilising the greater stretchability of the even the toughest cloths in the bias) without having to shrink the seam too vigorously. How the iron is deployed in the first pass for the calf at knee height, and the trousers are grasped in the seam corner with left hand is shown in Abb 565:

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The iron is so deployed so that the tip of the iron points in the direction of the hind trouser break at calf height. The iron is passed in a somewhat angular movement from knee level to the round of the calf of underside trouser break, with even tension on the cloth.

When one pulls the lower corner of the cloth tautly with the left hand, and advances the iron on an angle towards the calf, the cloth is stretched in this direction, namely along the bias. The whole of the calf is pushed over to the underside trouser break without forming too much length in the side seam.

If the first forceful pass in the direction of the round of calf should prove insufficient, the angled pass can be repeated, only in a shorter pass. Place the iron at the hollow of knee, grasping the trouser with the left hand in the breakline at the calf level and make one forceful angular pass from the hollow of knee to the calf. Once one has attained the necessary length in the underside break at calf level, the remaining round of the side seam is vigorously shrunk in until one has attained perfect straightness of the side seam up to the lower hollow of leg.

It is advisable to perform the ironwork so forcefully that the side seam at the calf level appears somewhat hollow, for only then one can be certain that even after a slight spontaneous reversal of the ironwork, the correct straight seam line will remain. The correct final form of the side seam is shown in Abb 566:

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Note the slight curving in of the side seam at the knee, and directly above the knee.

Ironwork on the Inseam

The Layout of the Trouser

Once the outer side of the underside has the desired form, the ironwork on the inseam can begin. If the first ironwork on the inseam is to be carried out on the same trouser leg on which the initial ironwork to the side seam was carried out, then the inseam must be laid out away from the body, because the trouser must be worked up from top to bottom. Many tailors turn the trouser around carrying out the ironwork on the inseam of the other trouser leg. With this method, the ironwork on the inseam can be conducted in the same manner that we previously described for the side seam. Which method one chooses is a matter of preference.

The Thigh Area

If one wishes to work up the side the inseam one after the other without turning the trouser around, the ironwork is commenced as it is shown in Abb 567:

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First you pull the calf area of the inseam evenly on the width of the iron strongly enough that inseam forms a straight line. The iron is pressed down firmly at the top of inseam and the cloth pulled strongly with the left hand at knee height.

The Hollow of Knee

This work may begin even when the ironwork has yet to progress so far as to produce the desired form of the upper parts. The iron is place around the middle of the upper thigh somewhat on an angle on the trouser break. With a forceful pull, the hollow of knee is drawn out as shown in Abb 568:

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If this angular pass is carried out with enough force, one can achieve the desired hollow of knee even on relatively hard cloths without having to shrink in the break line. Additionally, one can stretch the inseam above the hollow of knee so much with this angled pass that one attains a completely straight, even slightly curved in inseam.

The Round of Calf in the Inseam

Commencement of Ironwork

Once the trousers have gotten the desired shape from the top of inseam to the knee the shaping of the calf can begin. How the iron is to be deployed at the knee level for the first pass for the shaping of calf is shown in Abb 569:

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The iron is so deployed that the tip of the iron points in the direction of the underside trouser break at the height of the calf. The cloth is pulled tautly with the left hand and advanced somewhat forwards by the edge of the seam.

Biased Runs

When the iron is passed on the bias towards the calf, the cloth is stretched and the whole form of the calf is forced out towards the underside trouser break, so that not too much length is formed in the side seam itself:

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If the first forceful pass in the direction of the calf does not suffice, so that adequate length does not form in the break, and the side of the calf shape does not get pushed over to the break, the first angular pass can be repeated, only the pass is shorter. This is as shown in Abb 570. Place the iron on the hollow of knee and grasp the trouser in the breakline at calf height. Forcefully run the iron in a biased motion from the hollow of knee to the calf.

This realises the greater ability of the cloth to stretch along the bias even with hard cloths that take to ironwork poorly, thereby winning a pronounced calf shape. This also avoids the need for any significant shrinking of the seam. Whenever too much shrinking is needed there is always the danger that it will slip back to its original form, as well as risking shine resulting from repeated work on the same spot.

Shrinking in of the Inseam

Once the necessary length has been achieved in the underside trouser break at the calf level, the usual round of calf in the inseam is so intensely shrunk in that the seam forms a perfectly straight line all the way down to the hollow of leg. Preferably, the ironwork should be so forcefully carried out that the inseam even appears a little hollowed out as shown in the completed trouser form on the next page. Thereby one avoids the danger that the seams will partially slip back to the original shape and no longer be straight.

Ironwork on the Fork

Should the fork and inseam be stretched at all? Opinion over whether ironwork should be conducted at all over the upper inseam and fork is highly divided. Some claim that the inseam should be stretched strongly and the fork only a little, others argue that the fork should be stretched more vigorously whereas the inseam only a little. Both views are, in a way, correct. Differences in the way the seams have been cut demand different ways of working them up.

If the side seam at the upper thigh is fairly straight, and by comparison the inseam is cut very hollow, then the underside must be very vigorously stretched. However, if the trousers have been cut straighter so that the upper part of the torso is more crooked, less ironwork is required. The same principle holds true for the stretching of the fork. The straighter the undersides are at the top of the inseam, the less ironwork is required at the fork.

The width of trouser leg also plays a roll in judging the vigour of ironwork at the fork. The widest trousers should be somewhat stretched at the hollow of fork, especially if it has been placed relatively straight. Through this stretching the trousers become fitted at the hollow of leg directly under the closure of the inseam. The narrower a trouser has been cut the more vigorously it must be worked up. Through the working up of the fork, not only is a hollowing directly under the closure of the fork attained, but also a hollow that must lie in the break line.

How the ironwork on the fork is carried out is shown in Abb 571:

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Note how the iron is place on the fork. With narrow trousers the length that is produced through the stretching of the fork is pushed out towards the underside trouser break at the level of the seat. The break line is additionally shrunk in. By comparison, very wide trousers one should let the length remain in the fork, so that the break line remains straight. With wide trousers the stretching of the fork should not be extended too high up. Only the fork seam should be stretched at the hollow, whereas above the hollow around the level of the seat the fork is even worked short. This shrinking needs to occur particularly when the seam has been cut with a rounded shape. Where the length of the fork should lie on moderately wide and very wide trouser is shown in Abb 554 and 555.

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Abb 572: The completed ironwork with fully worked up side and inseams. The shape of the seams that needs to be attained through ironwork can be seen.

#3 dpcoffin

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Posted 07 September 2009 - 04:05 AM

Wonderfully clear, great to have such detailed pix!

But what really is the point of all this shaping, beyond making a good impression when the pants are first tried on? It seems to me that a day's wearing stretches and distorts most pants considerably more, and mostly in the opposite directions. And are you supposed to take the pants back to the tailor for repressing as needed, or was this part of the skill-set of the average valet? I must say also that I've always been impressed (depressed?) with how disheveled, or at least rumpled, most everybody looks in old photos of the high-born and highly dressed, suggesting that in the heyday of this kind of impressive-sounding extra shaping and pressing finesse, it wasn't doing much good once the garment was in use… Or am I way off base? Very likely, since I've no experience of this level of work, on either side of the iron.

#4 jefferyd

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Posted 07 September 2009 - 08:31 AM

Wonderfully clear, great to have such detailed pix!

But what really is the point of all this shaping, beyond making a good impression when the pants are first tried on? It seems to me that a day's wearing stretches and distorts most pants considerably more, and mostly in the opposite directions. And are you supposed to take the pants back to the tailor for repressing as needed, or was this part of the skill-set of the average valet?


Look at diagram 477- you see that there is a hollow at the knee when the panel is folded along the crease line. If you fold the front part along the crease line you will have a similar but less pronounced hollow. We know that these seams will be joined and pressed into a fairly straight line. If you imagine straightening out the seam of the back panel to meet the front, you create excess length in the back thigh (a little ripple). To deal with this, some of that excess length is shrunk out (which, you are right, will eventually need repressing after having been worn) but the hollow seam is stretched out so that it will become straight WITHOUT adding too much length to the back thigh, as in figure 987. In fact, if you think about it, a crease line is normally straight unless it is manipulated so the crease line could not have the shape it does in figure 987, nor could the seam be straight but the pant still flat, without this type of manipulation. It's all in keeping with the stretching and shrinking we do on the rest of the garment (remember stretching the top sleeve into a curve from our sleeve article? I know it's a long time ago....)

The rest of the manipulation is very subtle fit, but it is these subtleties that make the difference between a good trouser and a great one. It does need to be maintained with a proper pressing, but that is not outside the reach of the home valet, and one of the reasons it drives me bananas to hear about people taking a steamer to their suits! It ruins all the shaping! I’ll try to illustrate the difference on my next suit.


If you're completely new to the concept of ironwork. check out this piece on the one piece back.

J
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#5 jefferyd

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Posted 09 September 2009 - 09:35 AM

As promised, shaping versus no shaping.

The first shot is the fitting in which I did no shaping and sewed the seams straight with no allowance for fullness or stretching. Yuck. That's for David's benefit.

Then I ripped them down, did the proper shaping and put them together properly. Much better.

Details on my blog.

J

FITTING, NO SHAPING



After ironwork




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#6 Bentpin

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Posted 10 September 2009 - 02:37 AM

To Jeffryd,
They certainly look great.
I went to your blog and was interested to read you feel the waistband should also be shaped. I look forward to you expanding on that.
Just out of interest, I have had a suit finished for me at one of the more established tailors at the Row and the trouser has been shaped as you have done though the waistband is straight, and the turn ups are not quite so wide ( 1 1/2' - I am only 5' 8'' tall!) and I asked for them to rest on the shoe just a little - they also shaped the back of the bottom slightly lower then the front crease. I also had only one back pocket put in ( just my preference, of course).
However in my Rive Gauche evening suit ( superb!! by the way - but alas it does not fit anymore) the trousers, which are low rise to be worn without belt or braces and have no adjustment tabs - the waistband is shaped just a little as it nears centre back - it is shaped up by about 1/4'' at the seam. that is the major shaping but there is also a very slight dip between the front pleat and the centre front, hardly noticable, in the trouser waist seam, to help lift that area - the trouser waist seam of the front is otherwise completely straight, as is the waitband there.
In you blog you suggest that perhaps trousers are less capable of individuality or originality than coats (I hope I read it right!) but I must say the Saint Laurent's Rive Gauche ( at the time - i don't know about now) were immediately recognisable as Rive Gauche.
They still seem to me to have an individuality particular to Saint Laurent.
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#7 Schneidergott

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Posted 10 September 2009 - 03:48 AM

What type of iron would one use for this sort of shaping? Back in the days when those pics were taken that heavy dry tailor's iron was the only option, but what about today's steam irons? They should speed up the process!?
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"Nur der ist Meister seiner Kunst, der immer sucht, das Gute zu verbessern und niemals glaubt, das Beste schon zu haben."
"Only he is a master of his art who always seeks to improve the good and never believes to have the best already"

http://www.dressedwell.net/ It's snarky, but fun.


#8 jefferyd

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Posted 10 September 2009 - 04:12 AM

Oops- I forgot to show the waistband. It's cut straight, but shaped into a curve to follow the waistline better; you wouldn't be able to see the shaping on a finished garment, it will just hug the waist better. Photos tonight.

I'm reserving judgement on the cloth until it's finished, but this is P&B. So far so good, though it frays like crazy.

I did this at home with what SG would call a hausfrau iron- my Rowenta smile.gif It generates lots of steam and was good for that but it would have been even better with a vacuum table so I wouldn't have to wait for it to dry between passes. zzzzzzzzzz Never mind steam irons- I don't know how anybody survived without vacuum......

Oh ,and I agree that it would be nice if all trousers were made like this, but they wouldn't be able to sell them at Wal-mart prices. sad.gif
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#9 greger

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Posted 10 September 2009 - 01:08 PM

How do you do the waistband canvas? Cut it straight and shape it?

What do you use for waistband canvas?
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#10 J. Maclochlainn

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Posted 10 September 2009 - 05:07 PM

What type of iron would one use for this sort of shaping? Back in the days when those pics were taken that heavy dry tailor's iron was the only option, but what about today's steam irons? They should speed up the process!?



I use a pressurized steam system, but in the past I did a modified victorian technique. Using a dry house iron, I sponged and pressed out the fabrics using a square of unbleached muslin. You can also use a linen press cloth, but it sometimes leaves a shine.
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Silly Cognoscenti, Drape is for windows!

#11 Schneidergott

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Posted 10 September 2009 - 06:50 PM

I use a pressurized steam system, but in the past I did a modified victorian technique. Using a dry house iron, I sponged and pressed out the fabrics using a square of unbleached muslin. You can also use a linen press cloth, but it sometimes leaves a shine.


I have several heavy dry irons (mainly from Grossag) ranging from 4,5 to 6kg, which, along with a damp cloth, give a better result (sharper pleats and creases, flatter seams) than most steam systems (even with support of a suction table) would give. Especially when working with heavier fabrcs or those springy ones.
I just bought 4 thin cotton handkerchiefs (1,50 Euros) which I use as pressing cloths. They could be a bit bigger, but given the price I can live with it.
Did you wash that muslin first? I found that unbleached cotton muslin (Nesselstoff) is starched and will leave traces on the iron.

"Nur der ist Meister seiner Kunst, der immer sucht, das Gute zu verbessern und niemals glaubt, das Beste schon zu haben."
"Only he is a master of his art who always seeks to improve the good and never believes to have the best already"

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#12 J. Maclochlainn

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Posted 10 September 2009 - 08:07 PM

Oh yes, they were soaked and washed.

I would love to get my hands on a good heavy dry iron, but the ones I've found have been quite expensive. Is there a brand or a used specialists that might have a good heavy dry iron for an economy budget?
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#13 Schneidergott

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Posted 10 September 2009 - 09:29 PM

I would love to get my hands on a good heavy dry iron, but the ones I've found have been quite expensive. Is there a brand or a used specialists that might have a good heavy dry iron for an economy budget?


That would be me! ^_^

Just let me know what weight you'd prefer. I mainly use an old iron which I got from Austria, so I have several spare ones from Grossag. All old but in good working condition. You are in Holland, so 220V should be fine. But you'd have to find the right plug, which is still available.
The iron looks like the one in the first picture in the tools of the trade thread (red handle). It has a thermostat, which is absolutely necessary if you want/ have to keep it on for hours.

This is the plug (with the iron from Austria in the background):

Posted Image

It is made of ceramics, so it won't melt.

This is the counterpart on the iron:

Posted Image

Shipping with Hermes across the border is 14,- Euros.

Just so nobody gets me wrong: I'm not a professional seller of such heavy irons, I just happen to have bought a lot of those (usually for little money), some are not working, I think 2 or 3 of the lot. That leaves me with 5 working irons, which is more than enough.

I do have a 8,5kg iron that runs with 110V but it has no use for me here. It did get warm when I put 220V on it for a few seconds, so it should be fine. Sadly, it has no thermostat and needs supervision during work. But once heated up, those heavy irons stay hot for a long time, so once heated you can turn them off, for safety's sake. They won't stop heating up until they melt...

Posted Image

In case somebody should be interested: shipping to USA is 45,- Euros or about $60.00.
I'd say it's easier and cheaper to find one locally.

"Nur der ist Meister seiner Kunst, der immer sucht, das Gute zu verbessern und niemals glaubt, das Beste schon zu haben."
"Only he is a master of his art who always seeks to improve the good and never believes to have the best already"

http://www.dressedwell.net/ It's snarky, but fun.


#14 jefferyd

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Posted 11 September 2009 - 12:20 PM

How do you do the waistband canvas? Cut it straight and shape it?

What do you use for waistband canvas?


Sorry, got distracted by all that heavy steel.....

Waistband is cut straight and then shaped. I use a wrapped horsehair which is not as stiff as haircloth and won't migrate; I cut 4 pieces with the hair running up, then stitch 2 together with a few rows of stitching to make 2 firm pieces. I like that better than commercial banroll which I have a harder time trying to shape. PLus it's much softer going around the waist than banroll.
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#15 Schneidergott

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Posted 13 September 2009 - 05:43 PM

I have started making a pair of trousers, using a flannel fabric made of wool and a bit Lycra and it's easy to press it in shape.
But what about those more rigid fabrics, those firm Frescos and Twills which may not allow that much shaping?
Slashing the pattern in the places where the shaping would take place and open/ close it respectively to create the desired shape won't work.
I don't want to waste my time and some fabric to try it out, so any input is welcome. Praying.gif

About waistband: In a tailoring booklet from 1937 (I think) they already cut it with the desired shape, slightly rounded. But that won't look good with patterned fabrics.
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"Nur der ist Meister seiner Kunst, der immer sucht, das Gute zu verbessern und niemals glaubt, das Beste schon zu haben."
"Only he is a master of his art who always seeks to improve the good and never believes to have the best already"

http://www.dressedwell.net/ It's snarky, but fun.


#16 J. Maclochlainn

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Posted 13 September 2009 - 06:08 PM

Doesn't any one use wiggan or holland (or both) to interline the waistband, or is this more common for "grown on" bands?
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#17 jefferyd

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Posted 14 September 2009 - 01:11 AM

But what about those more rigid fabrics, those firm Frescos and Twills which may not allow that much shaping?
Slashing the pattern in the places where the shaping would take place and open/ close it respectively to create the desired shape won't work.
I don't want to waste my time and some fabric to try it out, so any input is welcome.


I can't speak to fresco, but I find some of the more rigid cloth, though sometimes harder to shape in the first place, actually keeps its shape better than soft cloth.

#18 Sator

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Posted 14 September 2009 - 11:26 AM

The original German text for those interested:









Can German readers please check my translation of the final page. I had to guess what they mean by Spaltschluss and Schrittschluss.




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