April – July 2013

A pair of men’s knickers made of Italian import wool from my stash. I used the newly revised Laughing Moon California Pants pattern with knickerbockers, 1850 – 1910. Aaron’s also wearing a Victorian shirt and black silk ascot made with the LM shirt pattern, a cotton/cashmere sweater from the Goodwill, golf socks, some comfy dress shoes, and an Irish tweed cap. The outfit was meant to be worn with a cream brocade silk bow tie, which went very well with the knickers. But Aaron tells me that he is done with bow ties. Apparently I will need to learn to tie them myself if I want to see them on him!
Aaron doesn’t have any summer-weight Victorian clothes. Knickers seemed like a fun option. The fabric looked like it would make good Victorian menswear. I did have enough fabric for a matching coat. However, I will not be making one. So I think the outfit ended up reading less Victorian and more 20th Century.
Menswear is challenging. Because I used this fabric, I was way out of my skill range. The plaid took two full days to cut. The wool is somewhat loosely woven and the seams ravelled quickly. I was overcasting seams that were also lined. One good thing to come out of this is I was forced to improve my skill on my serger. (After years of non-use). This fabric also wrinkles like mad, so I first interfaced the waistband with tricot to stabilize it, and then interfaced with sew-in hair canvas. My Pfaff does keyhole buttonholes and these came out pretty well. They even look good from the back. But since they’re on the fly they’ll never be seen.

One of the revisions to the LM pants pattern is an additional 2″ of rise. This is a big improvement. I’d become accustomed to making 2 1/2″ alterations to raise them up to waist level. There are many pieces involved in making that one change! On the other hand, I was unimpressed with the knicker’s knee opening. In my opinion, the overlapped edge doesn’t work. It gaps awkwardly. I’ve made several pairs of LM pants – a mock-up for the knee opening didn’t occur to me. I might have drafted a placket. (Incidentally, the instructions do not mention this but one must clip into the seam allowance in order to hem the side slit. Also, I press my side seams toward the back, not the front – why fight with the pocket?) After all the effort it took to deal with the difficult fabric, I just didn’t have any patience left. I may address the issue down the line. But for now, the knickers are done. And that’s saying a lot.