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Help with choosing a commercial pattern for first trousers


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#1 A Burch

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Posted 18 November 2017 - 01:35 AM

Good morning all.  I am brand new to this forum though I've been reading through posts for the past few weeks trying to find an answer.

 

Some background information that I hope will help express my level of sewing experience before I ask any questions.

I have some hand sewing and machine stitching experience though minimal garment experience.  I have done side seam shirt alterations, upholstery work, leather goods and various fabric items like handkerchiefs, napkins, curtains, bags etc.  However, I've never made a pair of trousers before and I have a few beginner questions.  I do not expect to make a career out of tailoring and I have ample time and patience for this.  The main driving force behind coming here is that I have a lot of difficulty finding trousers that meet the demands of my work environment and being self employed, I do not have the resources to pay for bespoke trousers at this time assuming that I could find a great tailor in my area.

 

My problem with any off the rack trousers I have been able to find thus far.

They are not flexible enough to meet my needs when treating patients.  I am a chiropractor and I teach physiotherapy exercises in the office with my patients.  I also lift weights and hike regularly so I have thick legs and a relatively narrow waist.  I basically need trousers that I could do deep squats, lunges and yoga poses in without busting seams regularly.  I would really like to move up from the Under Armour stretch chinos that I have been wearing to something a bit more formal.

 

My specific questions and please feel free to direct me to other threads where some of them may have been answered.  I did try searching, but I haven't come across anything that stood out to me on this.

 

1. What should I look for in a commercially available pattern to accommodate that level of movement?  Any specific ones that you would recommend?

2. Is worsted wool still a suitable fabric for this?  What fabric should I use for the toile?

3. Would I be better off planning for braces or belt supported for this?

4. Which of the many trouser making books listed in the beginner's resources would be best able to help me adapt a commercial pattern based on the physicality need?

5. Realistically, am I endeavoring on an impossible task?  I settled for the stretch chinos a couple of years ago for office wear, I just don't like the casual nature of them. 

 

If it's not possible to engineer the flexibility into a pattern then please don't just leave it at that.  I've already decided to learn how to make trousers and waistcoats for myself anyways but I'll just go through the self tuition thread as is.  I'm wondering if there are some specific things that would apply to my work needs not covered there.

 

Thank you for any help or guidance that you can offer.

 

Adam



#2 Simontam

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Posted 18 November 2017 - 03:26 AM

[quote name="A Burch" post="48695" timestamp="1510932949"]Good morning all.  I am brand new to this forum though I've been reading through posts for the past few weeks trying to find an answer.
 
1. What should I look for in a commercially available pattern to accommodate that level of movement?  Any specific ones that you would recommend?
2. Is worsted wool still a suitable fabric for this?  What fabric should I use for the toile?
3. Would I be better off planning for braces or belt supported for this?
4. Which of the many trouser making books listed in the beginner's resources would be best able to help me adapt a commercial pattern based on the physicality need?
5. Realistically, am I endeavoring on an impossible task?  I settled for the stretch chinos a couple of years ago for office wear, I just don't like the casual nature of them. 

My suggestions for your questions are as follows:
Q1. To accommodate that level of movement, you may look for trouser with crotch gusset built in as one of its design features. These might include some Kung fu trouser, kimono or cycling pants.
Q2. Why not try some other fabrics with better elastic property than “worsted wool”? Anyway, this is more a personal preference rather than a functionality concern if you only wish your trouser look much formal and smarter like suit.
Q3. I would look for elastic waist band for better functionality, healthier and safer reasons.
Q4. Sorry, I don’t know the answer.
Q5. Not necessarily, maximum flexibility movement in trouser could be sometimes tackled by a number of factors, namely; the right choice of fabric, the right choice of construction method, and the right choice of design. Sometimes, individuals preferences would over ride some of these factors. Typical example is in the case of Jean, it is durable but totally not flexible, yet it is the most popular workwear in our elder generation before the evolution invention of more elastic denim fabric!
 

#3 posaune

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Posted 18 November 2017 - 04:50 AM

I basically need trousers that I could do deep squats, lunges and yoga poses in without busting seams regularly.

 

I do not think that doing all your sportive things worsted wool is what you should take.

Sure, you can buy worsted wool with elastic or (I had some once) with a very elastic weave (without any poly) - but consider how often they must be cleaned.

 

There are some nice cottons weaves out there with a bit of elastic. In dark colors and a four way stretch. And for sports - small braces may look very good. The elastic waist looks sportive but not elegant in my opinion.

look at Mikhail's pic you see what I mean - very elegant 

http://www.ighof.com...ail_Voronin.php

The trouser must have a long enough back crotch and much bias at the seam so moving will be no problem at all.

lg

posaune


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#4 A Burch

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Posted 18 November 2017 - 06:39 AM

Thank you both for your input.

 

I am not set on wool, I suppose I just gravitate towards it because that is what my current dress slacks are and I like them a lot.  They look flattering on me and go great with my tweed jackets.

 

I really like the looks of the braces that Mikhail wears and I agree very elegant so I believe that I will pursue that avenue.

 

To put everything in perspective, this is what I currently wear every day.

https://www.underarm.../pid1261616-410

 

The fabric is 100% synthetic and has a noticeable shine to it.  Obviously the cut of these is casual but even the fabric itself looks casual as well.

 

If I could find out what kind of fabric is being used by this company, I'd be ecstatic.

 

Thank you all again.

 

Adam



#5 Simontam

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Posted 18 November 2017 - 09:21 AM

Quote: "If I could find out what kind of fabric is being used by this company, I'd be ecstatic."

 

Adam, check the following link and see more detail on how Paul Smith dealt with the elastic suit in his 2015 collection: it is not only the fabric at issue,  they also incorporated other factors, such as design and construction as well:  

 

https://www.harveyni...t-to-travel-in/

 

"Legendary Brit designer Paul Smith’s latest offering in an all-in-one solution to your problems. A Suit To Travel In is a new concept in formalwear. A suit, made of 100% wool, enhancing a naturally elastic and breathable nature. A half-floating canvas construction, coupled with an expert cut, provides the wearer with complete freedom of movement. Better still, the high-twist yarn gives the suit spectacular recovery; the creases simply fall away before they form."


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#6 A Burch

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Posted 18 November 2017 - 11:23 AM

Thank you for the link.

This confuses me slightly. If the fabric for the trousers is 100% wool then is it just the construction techniques employed that allow them to perform these maneuvers without damage? To place everyone's minds at ease, at no point do I need a full suit for my work needs, just flexible trousers. I would be very happy to find out that this is possible to achieve just through cut and construction. I'm a little at a loss as to where to proceed next. Should I just get an off the shelf pattern make a toile and see what binds or strains as I go through the more physical demands of my daily practice?

Thank you all.

Adam

#7 SPOOKIETOO

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Posted 18 November 2017 - 05:08 PM

Adam, I'm not one of the professionals here, but I've had needle, thread and fabric in hand since infancy and I've had little choice to be anything other than self-taught. My Mom started me out, but by age 14 I wanted to do more than she felt comfortable with.

 

Many decades later, I  came here to hone my skills with the excellent resources made available. But this site can be cumbersome to maneuver at this point - especially if you don't know enough to know what to look for.

 

First off - to answer your questions: Can dress-type woolen trousers be made to accommodate the physical needs of your profession? Yes. Absolutely.

Will you be able to create these with a commercially available pattern? I don't think there's a snowball's chance in hell of that happening. I think you will have to learn to draft your own pattern.

 

When I returned to garment sewing a few years ago, I thought I would just be able to alter commercial patterns to accommodate my middle aged body and posture. I am now learning to draft 'cause that doesn't really work, as I have too many issues to deal with. Not really time effective.

 

Anyway...from what you stated originally, you have limited sewing skills in general, but experience with other similar activities that leads me to believe you can do this, but it is a process. It may take you one to two years to produce your first pair of wearable trousers. There is so much to learn and understand.

 

Terri, on this site, ( she uses TTailor as a user on movsd.com - not sure what her user name is here, sorry!) is a theatrical tailor. She must create period costumes for performers to wear on stage. Actors/Dancers playing bankers, business men, professors - all must be able to pirouette, jump, squat, kick, etc. in her creations. She knows the tricks - it can be done, but this is nothing that you will learn overnight.  I think she is super busy at the moment, but you can check out her blog at atailormadeit.blogspot.com. Tons of wonderful info there.

 

Also, go to movsd.com. the site was established when Cutterandtailor was experiencing "technical difficultuies", so there are many of the same members. Last spring JRuley posted muslin fittings of drafted trousers for both he and his wife ( under the "Drafting, Fitting, and Construction" forum). The photobucket debacle removed all of the photos - which is really a shame, but by quickly reading through the posts you can learn what you will need to know in order to get help from the professionals - when you are ready for it.  There is a new thread begun by Will_F, that will also be of interest. Terri is active on that site when she has time.

 

Dig through Jeffery Diduch's blog "tuttofattoamano". Study anything applicable for your journey. It, like Terri's, is an AMAZING blog. Too much to even describe here.

 

The book "Trousers", by David Page Coffin. Buy it. Reasonably priced and gives very detailed studies of the making of trousers.  David is also a member here - and will jump in to help - when you are ready.

 

This site and movsd.com has numerous trouser drafting resources when you reach that point. Roberto Cabrera's "Mens' Tailoring" is also a good starting point . For more overall sewing knowledge in general, a copy of Readers' Digest Guide to Sewing can answer many newbie questions. A copy from the late 70's or early 80's is best. the "updated versions" have cut out 150 pages. If there is a process I haven't done in a while (years?) I will pull out my copy and look it up just to refresh my memory and then proceed to add information I have learned here and elsewhere.  The professionals will probably balk at that book choice, but it can answer many questions when you have no actual human to turn to IRL. Copies can be bought on Ebay for just a few dollars.

 

Fabric - there is so much to learn. But yes wool can be quite resilient. It not only has to do with the type of wool, but is very dependent on the twist of the individual wool yarns.  There are also things like knee linings that can be designed to take the brunt of the knee action in trousers- reducing the amount of stress on the wool fabric.  For your particular issues, some of the newer woolens are 98% Wool, 2% Spandex. This will probably be something you will want to explore eventually.

 

To start, I would suggest buying some inexpensive cotton twill. Don't waste money on wool at this point.  Look at Burda patterns, they seem to have a few decent contemporary trouser patterns for men. Go ahead and install a full fly zipper (you'll need the practice). This will simply give you the opportunity to learn to manipulate the pattern pieces and seams, control the stitching for any top-stitching, study the quality of the straight stitch on your machine, learn about the different parts of the trouser, and most importantly help you study how your body differs from "the norm".

 

The most helpful tool you will have for fitting is the camera on your cell phone. Learn how to take selfies using the timer and figure out someplace in your home to quickly take 4 pics straight on from each side with good light. Learn how to study these for fit.

 

In college, I sold shoes and could not afford dry cleaning bills. We had a dress code. I constantly had to climb ladders ( in 3" to 4" heels!) and squat down on the floor.  All of my dress trousers for many years were made from the same Simplicity Jeans patterns that I modified to not look like jeans. I used various weaves of cotton/polyester blends. The cotton was comfortable and the polyester allowed the wrinkles from squatting to release, helped keep the knees from bagging after squatting and sitting on those super low stools, and held the color through massive washings. The fabric was never shiny. My sewing machine had a stretch stitch and though I rarely sewed any knits, I always used that stretch stitch to sew the back seam on all of my trousers. I never once had a seat split on me - even with more than a little extra "junk in the trunk". :yes: There are all kinds of tricks that can be incorporated.

 

The really sad part is that those wonderful cotton/poly fabric blends from the 70's and 80's are almost impossible to find these days. I kept two pairs of those pants. When I pull them out every few years two things run through my mind:  My waist was THAT small! and Wow! the fabric looks so fantastic for items worn and laundered a minimum of 200-300 times. Work, school, and clubbing - for years!

 

One other thing, if you lived in my town , I would try to locate a trained pattern maker to help develop a trouser pattern. Levi Strauss and a local upper end MTM Suiting company both employed trained pattern makers at one point. I've met two of them and they were both working for bridal shops doing alterations - last I heard. If you can find a patternmaker that would be a huge timesaver.


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#8 SPOOKIETOO

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Posted 18 November 2017 - 05:29 PM

BTW - if you posted the right link to the UnderArmour trousers you are currently wearing, They are not !00% synthetic. They are listed as Cotton/Polyester/Elastane. This means the cotton and polyester are at least equal or that there is more cotton than polyester. So the percentages could be 49/49/2 or 65/30/5 or whatever. If the fabric gets shinier as they are worn this could be explained by laundering and ironing at home. Most sales men I know even take their cotton chinos to the dry cleaners. They just look better, longer if you do.

 

Then again, as I said earlier, the quality of cotton/polyester blend fabrics these days just isn't what it used to be. :no:


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#9 A Burch

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Posted 19 November 2017 - 01:40 AM

Thank you for the very detailed information.  That, I think, hits all of my initial questions.

 

I was already looking at Trousers and was planning to buy it but I'll take a look for the other ones as well.  I will check out the other forums and blogs that you mentioned.  I'm nothing if not persistent.  I'm self taught for making knife sheaths, gun holsters, wallets and other leather goods.  I'm self taught for upholstery too.  I took an antique couch, stripped it to the bare wood frame and replaced everything from the coil springs up so I'm persistent.  The couch took about a year total between research and work, but it's been serving us well for the last 7 years and still looks good.

 

It's odd about the UA pants.  They were a little shiny hanging on the rack at the store from day 1, but that's not too important.  What is important is that I only get about a year to 18 months out of any individual pair before they start to show noticeable wear in some areas and I don't wear any of them 2 days in a row.  They're getting a little harder to find in the non-skinny leg variety which is an absolute no go for my legs and I'm concerned about how much longer I'll be able to find them or something equivalent.  Lastly, they look a little too college campus/golf course for me and I would really like to move up from that.

 

All right so after Thanksgiving, it'll be a trip to the fabric stores in my area for some cotton twill and a pattern.  I'm a reasonable drive from Boston so if there are any recommendations, I'm all ears.  I'll hit up ebay and amazon for the books in the mean time.

 

Thanks again to everyone so far.  Now that I have a reasonable starting point and direction, I won't be posting a lot of questions here until I look for feedback.  Everyone has been very helpful to this point.

 

Adam



#10 Futura

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Posted 20 November 2017 - 09:47 AM

For more overall sewing knowledge in general, a copy of Readers' Digest Guide to Sewing can answer many newbie questions. A copy from the late 70's or early 80's is best. the "updated versions" have cut out 150 pages.

 

The Reader's Digest book is available for free on Open Library, though it does always have a long waitlist!

https://openlibrary....Guide_to_Sewing


Edited by Futura, 20 November 2017 - 09:48 AM.

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#11 SPOOKIETOO

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Posted 21 November 2017 - 06:13 AM

Futura - thanks for posting that link. It would be interesting to hear the thoughts some of the professionals may have about it. Again, it covers all of the basics and even has some tailoring.

Again, just a good basic sewing guide (500 pages+/-) for anyone studying/learning on their own.

Most copies on Ebay go for $10 or less including shipping.
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#12 SPOOKIETOO

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Posted 21 November 2017 - 06:20 AM

For those with more knowledge than myself:

Given Adam's issues with small waist/thick thighs, would it not make more sense for him to begin developing a pleated trouser as opposed to a flat front? I think this would build in extra maneuverability right away, and after he has a good working pattern, he could work on a flat front.

Again, just thinkin' out loud.
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#13 Simontam

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Posted 21 November 2017 - 10:38 PM

For those with more knowledge than myself:

Given Adam's issues with small waist/thick thighs, would it not make more sense for him to begin developing a pleated trouser as opposed to a flat front? I think this would build in extra maneuverability right away, and after he has a good working pattern, he could work on a flat front.

Again, just thinkin' out loud.

 

Great idea, hidden inverted pleats at waist level could be considered if the wearer still wishes to maintain a slimmer silhouette for his pants! 



#14 greger

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Posted 22 November 2017 - 06:35 AM

Pleats and darts. Some guys can use two, maybe three, darts per back side and, the top of the back seam. Two or three pleats per front side. 






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