The overview of the overall schema for the ironwork of trousers from die Zuschneidenkunst
, published by the now defunct journal Der Schneidermeister
e = shrink
d = stretch
The final shape imparted to the trousers by the ironwork is as follows:
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.
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:
With very wide trousers as in Abb 552 hardly any gap is present:
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:
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.
Abb 554: with moderately wide trousers, moderately vigorous ironwork will achieve an even run in the seams of topside and underside.
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:
Abb 556 shows an example with narrow cut trousers, where there is a pronounced hollow at v
. 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
than on the medium wide trousers in Abb 557:
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:
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:
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:
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:
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:
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 UndersideThe 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:
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:
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:
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:
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:
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:
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 InseamCommencement 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:
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:
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:
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.
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.