Formal Outfit, Part 2: Toile time!

So, I’m forging ahead with this, despite the obvious timing issues.

The good news is, the Belvedere Waistcoat and Fairfield shirt fit almost perfectly as they are in size XS! This was surprising given that in my binder, I’m almost 10cm smaller overall than the body measurements called for, and much shorter in height too. I also decided not to do the half-placket version of the Fairfield that I had envisioned, as it’s quite a lot of adjustment and I just couldn’t wrap my brain around it. (And, it turns out, the Fairfield does only have 8 buttons down the front – so I have enough in my tin of Merchant & Mills shirt buttons for it.)

(As a side note as well, it turns out I was incorrect in my assumption about the difference between a waistcoat and vest. There is none – waistcoat is the UK English term, while vest is the American term. However, with that being said, a waistcoat with a contrasting back should always be with with a jacket. A waistcoat with a self fabric back (that is, the same fabric front and back) can be worn without a jacket.)

But, there’s always a snag…

The Problem with Pants

This is the second toile.

Front and back views of my second toile of the Thread Theory 'Lazo' pants, in calico. On the left, one leg of the front is shown. There are several pen marks in green and purple, and many black safety pins. I have had to overlap and adjust the four-way seam, pin a large wedge out of the top of the leg, pin another wedge out of the size seam, and I still made more adjustments. 
On the right, the back is shown. There are again lots of pen marks, plus a wedge pinned out of the top (near the waistband) and a second wedge pinned out from the side seam to about halfway down the centre back seam.
That’s going to be fun to transfer to the pattern.

As you can see from the pen marks and general state, the Lazo pants toile didn’t go nearly as well. It’s the same pain point as on many pants patterns for me, and RTW pants too – the seat, or crotch seam.

This is the roughly U-shaped seam that runs under the body, joining the left and right legs. It’s a difficult area, owing to being affected by a huge number of factors – relative size and shape not only of each leg, but also of buttocks, lower abdomen, the angle of lower back and pelvis, the hip joints… And it’s not an area that moves in just one axis either – legs can move from side to side as well as back and forth, they rotate, they bend at the middle, and all of these movements shift the entire area. So, as simple as pants can be, they get complicated fast if this area didn’t fit perfectly the first time.

And, predictably, that’s what happened here. The first toile included my poorly-considered adjustment to the seat seam length, which then messed with the whole area. I made a second toile, this time without adjusting the seat seam length (despite my seat rise being much greater than the pattern size called for) and, well…

… it’s still got issues. I haven’t even tried to adjust the taper of the leg yet, since I’m still trying to get the rest of it right. I ended up pinning the toile with the inseam and seat seam open, and still had to faff around with pinching out bits here and there. Almost all of the proportions need major adjustments. I’m severely regretting not making the effort to make myself a pants sloper when I still had enough time – it would have been much easier to replicate this style from a sloper, I think. The best I can do is going to be copying a pair of black Target business slacks that I have (which are a tad too tight in the waist these days, especially with multiple layers under the shirt) and hoping for the best.

Better news

In happier news, the fabrics for the vest have arrived! Despite taking samples from Tessuti, I couldn’t choose – and the fabric I really wanted promptly went out of stock. But, I was then reminded that The Remnant Warehouse exists, and went looking. I snagged 2m each of this Ruby Star Society print, and this tone-on-tone print.

And so, the big decision – I’m making the vest reversible. This isn’t too hard – I just need to cut the facing from my ‘lining’ rather than ‘main’. (I don’t think I’ll be able to make the welt pockets accessible from the reverse though. But it’s not a huge issue.)

As to fabrics for the shirt, sadly, I don’t have enough silk noil to make it, so silk-linen blend it is. Owing to the ever-cooling weather as well, I have plans to made a warm undershirt in cotton loopback (think sweatshirt-type fabric), and another under-binder shirt with a gusseted underarm so it’ll conform a bit better there as an underlayer needs to. (I promise I’ll make a post about how to hack a gusseted underarm onto set-in sleeve patterns sometime. Promise.)

I had a job interview come up this week and wanted a nice button-down to wear with it – but I was worried about cutting into the silk-linen blend, so I went with some midweight linen from The Fabric Store (colourway ‘Bone’) that I bought years ago for… something, and never used. I did end up carving a little out of the waist, and I’ll need to deepen the back darts (or possibly take some width out of the entire back) but otherwise it’s damn near perfect. (I do need to be a bit more watchful in what I’m doing on the cuff and collar corners though, and on the sleeve plackets – one is twisted because I didn’t stop to ensure I had everything oriented correctly for the sleeve on that side. Oops.)

So, with just under 3 weeks to go… it’s full steam ahead.

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