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Jim_Ruley
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« on: June 16, 2007, 01:33:44 PM »

Hi folks,

This week I started construction on a pair of Federal infantry officer's trousers.  These were cut like civilian models so there is much here that may be of general interest.  Here is progress to date.


The first picture shows the layout of the wool pieces.  The material is a Hainsworth light blue cloth, a bit heavier and not as fine as their broadcloths.  It's about the same weight as County Cloth's light blue "kersey" but is a much richer blue color.  The draft is to the client's measures from DeVere's.  In addition to the fronts and backs, you can see waistbands, fly pieces, pocket facings and back tabs.



The second picture shows the officer's dark blue welt going on.  A piece of dark blue broadcloth is doubled over and basted to the trouser back.



Next, the inner pocket facings are sewn to the backs, and the seam pressed open (exposing the welt):



The fronts are now sewn to the backs.  The chalk mark on the right shows where the seam stops, overlapping the pocket facing.  The seam is pressed open.



The fronts are also tacked to the backs above the pocket mouth:



Leaving the pockets for the moment, the fly catch is sewn on the front of the right leg only:



The watch pocket welt piece is sewn to the right front.  The stitching stops 1/4" from the edges so they can be turned in:



The welt after turning in and pressing, but before sewing:



The pocket bag (one-piece) is sewn to the welt:



The welt is folded and stitched into place:



The watch pocket bag is closed:



Next, we'll finish assembling the side pockets.

Enjoy,

Jim R.
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Jim_Ruley
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« Reply #1 on: June 16, 2007, 01:46:50 PM »

We begin by turning in the seam allowances at the pocket's outer edges, then sewing the outer facing in place so the raw edge is a little bit inside the folded edge.  This edge will be left raw inside the finished pocket.  If using a material that would fray, we would let the facing protrude beyond the edge and catch it in the seam.  The inner facing was already sewn to the trouser back.



Next, the bag is turned wrong side out and the bottom closed up to a couple of inches below the facing.  It's hard to see due to the dark color, but one of the bags here has been turned right side out and pressed.



The bag seam is now topstitched.  The side which will be visible inside the finished trouser should show the "right side" of the backstitch.



We begin attaching the bag to the trouser by basting it inside the trouser front:



The edges are turned in, and the raw edge outer facing felled down over them:



The pocket mouth is topstitched through all layers, binding the bag in place, and the basting is removed:



The inside edge of the pocket bag is now sewn to the seam where the inner facing joins the trouser back:



The inner facing is now "caught" by sewing a backstitch blindly through the layers.  Believe it or not, you can feel the edge position pretty well with the fingers and get it where it needs to go.  This trick came from the 1901 "Tailor's Guide".



Finally, the bottom of the pocket mouth is tacked together for strength:



Hope this is of interest,

Jim R.
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Jim_Ruley
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« Reply #2 on: June 16, 2007, 08:31:35 PM »

And a bit more progress...

On the right leg, the side pocket and watch pocket bags are basted together at the top:



With the pockets complete, it's time to sew on the waistbands.  The left side is shown:



On the right side, the stitching is stopped short on either side of the watch pocket welt as shown:



After pressing the waistband, the welt is pulled through the gap.  It will be sewn down after the waistband is interfaced.



Leaving the waistband for the moment, the fly catch on the right leg is lined as shown.  It's important to fell the lining pieces behind the edge so they won't show when the trousers are worn.



Here's a closeup of the button catch under construction.  The wool and lining are basted together and the lining has been felled:



5/8" buttonholes are now made (5 total) to button the fly closed:



Enjoy,

Jim R.
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batya schreiber
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« Reply #3 on: June 17, 2007, 03:17:01 AM »

Wonderful! Like the broadfall trousers, simply fascinating. Your pictures and descriptions are remarkably clear- I'll probably refer to them often if I ever get to the point of constructing trousers for my son.  -Batya
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Jim_Ruley
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« Reply #4 on: June 17, 2007, 06:06:52 AM »

Hi Batya,

Thanks for the compliment.  If you have any comments or questions please let me know.  These are just methods I've found to work well, and there may be some obvious improvements I've been overlooking.

Thanks,

Jim R.
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Jim_Ruley
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« Reply #5 on: June 17, 2007, 07:42:44 PM »

Today's progress:

Continuing with the flycatch.  Extra material is shaved off to permit the lining to wrap over the edge:



Lining is felled to the front of the left leg in the fly area:

 

The completed flycatch is basted and pinned into position.  The edge of the lining is felled down:



The flycatch is now secured to the trouser front by topstitching through all layers:



Now it's time to complete the waistbands.  If a flimsy material will be used to line them I like to put in a layer of cotton drill as interfacing.  Here it is being basted to the seam allowance:



The waistband seam allowance is turned over the interlining and secured with a cross stitch:



Buttons may be sewn on at this point so the stitching doesn't penetrate the lining.  The front button is sewn on the inside of the waistband so it will not show on the outside of the finished trouser.  I have a large stock of the white china buttons shown from flea markets.  They are far more durable than the metal or paper-backed tin ones sold by sutlers, and cannot rust out.



Here's the completed left side of the trouser with silesia waistband lining felled on.



The right leg will be completed in a similar manner.  Up to this point the legs have been kept separate.  This is the most comfortable way to work if the fabric is heavy, as you only have to handle half the weight of the trousers at one time.  However, if fitting is required it is possible to sew all the wool parts together and do all of the finish work afterwards.

Enjoy,

Jim R.
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Jim_Ruley
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« Reply #6 on: June 20, 2007, 07:44:17 PM »

Here's some highlights from the last few evenings' work:

On the right leg, the watch pocket welt is sewn down at the sides once the interfacing is in the waistband:



A buttonhole is worked on the right side to engage the rear-facing button on the left:



We begin joining the legs by sewing the front of the fork together with a 1/4-inch seam:



Then the crotch seam is joined from the fork to the bottom of the split below the waistband (I usually leave about 2" at the top for the adjustment belt).  The inseam is joined next, but that's not very photogenic  Smiley.



The last short section of the seam below the fly is closed by hand.  Then, the thread is brought through all layers for a few stitches to tack the bottom of the fly opening, and finally the edge of the button catch is whipped down.  Here's the finished result from the inside:



Here's the same area as seen from the outside (top of trousers to the right):



Enjoy,

Jim R.
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willeichler
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« Reply #7 on: June 21, 2007, 05:57:52 AM »

Jim,

WOW!  This is a totally different working procedure than I've used in the past.  When I start that next pair of trousers, I'll try this.

THanks for sharing!

Will Eichler
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iphigenia
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« Reply #8 on: June 21, 2007, 05:24:27 PM »

This is great-- thanks so much!  I get really overwhelmed when it comes to sewing men's clothing.  It's just so much different than women's stuff.  I will definitely study this thread when I get the courage to finish that pair of trousers I started a year ago...  Wink
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Jim_Ruley
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« Reply #9 on: June 21, 2007, 08:24:55 PM »

Getting down to the final touches now.

Here are the back belts, which are just seamed around, turned right side out and pressed.  You need to leave a gap in a seam to turn them right side out through.  The left one gets a buckle as shown:



Here they are after sewing in place on the back of the trouser:



I'm off to the Newark, OH event tomorrow and plan to try these on the client.  IF I get enough time during the weekend, I'll hem them up for him and might even get a picture of him wearing them.

Enjoy,

Jim R.
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batya schreiber
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« Reply #10 on: June 22, 2007, 01:47:53 PM »

Yes! I'm sure we'd all love to see the lucky new owner proudly modeling these trousers!  Hope you have a wonderful weekend.  -Batya
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Jim_Ruley
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« Reply #11 on: June 24, 2007, 06:03:57 PM »

Well, here he is!

Front view:



And back view showing DeVere's typical baggy seat:



Comments/questions welcome.

Thanks,

Jim R.
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Tom_Nixon
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« Reply #12 on: June 26, 2007, 03:43:31 PM »

Jim:
First rate job on the trowsers! If your client's fellow union officers, out of ignorance, deride the
loose cut of his pants, he can point to the following quote and and tell them to kiss his authentic
backseams! Wink

Quote
"1st. That when the wearer is standing up, the legs should naturally hang straight without forming creases and the extra width should fit cleanly and smoothly, the extra width which is required for sitting down and other movements, being allowed at the back: We can place it there because, this part being covered by the coat, a little extra fullness is of no importance.

2nd. That the wearer should be able to sit down, stoop, run, or in fact make any movement, without the trowser cutting him at the fork, and without the sit of the legs being much deranged." -Louis Devere*.

I'm also glad to see your most recent trowser post as I have just drafted my first pair of common trowsers according to the "infallible principles" of Mr. Edward Minister**.

It seems Edward, if I can call him Edward, like De Vere, uses a plumb line to draft both the fore fashion part as well as the back panels. From this vertical plumb line, the various leg widths are calculated on right angles.

Ted, if he doesn't mind that I call him Ted, then goes on to instruct on drafting what at first appeared to be a very high rise of the back waist, and what also seemed a very dramatic fork. Neither was the case: Seeing your adaptation of De Vere's tells me that the  waist, which rises to the small of the back, is indeed as intended, and would certainly hide the shirt under a vest, even if the wearer were sitting down and leaning forward.

If a none-to-gifted amateur like myself can make a workable trowser draft on the first try, then maybe Eddie's method really is infallible.



"Don't call me Eddie Baby"

*Handbook of Practical Cutting on the Centre Point System (1866) R.L. Shep reprint p.47
**Minister, Edward The Complete Guide to Practical Cutting (1853) R.L. Shep reprint.
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debi casey
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« Reply #13 on: June 26, 2007, 08:20:39 PM »

Thanks Jim for all those pictures.  I was most impressed by the hand stitching of the fly facings as opposed to the modern method of stitching them by machine and just turning them.  By stitching them by hand, the facings aren't visible.  What a great idea.
I have just one question, where do you buy your black buckles?

Continuing to learn,
Debi
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Jim_Ruley
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« Reply #14 on: June 27, 2007, 02:55:41 AM »

Quote
I have just one question, where do you buy your black buckles?

Hi Debi,

The buckle I showed came from a closeout sale at a fabric store in Newark, OH.  So far as I know there aren't any left  Sad.

In the past John Zaharias has had a good selection of both original and repro ones  Smiley.

Thanks,

Jim R.
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Jim_Ruley
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« Reply #15 on: June 27, 2007, 03:00:15 AM »

Quote
Seeing your adaptation of De Vere's tells me that the  waist, which rises to the small of the back, is indeed as intended, and would certainly hide the shirt under a vest, even if the wearer were sitting down and leaning forward.

Hi Tom,

I must admit to adding a little additional "rise" to the back of these trousers beyond what DeVere included in the draft.  He shows the back waist being drawn perfectly square to the seat seam.  However, he remarks that this puts the top of the back right on the natural waist, and the trousers may be cut higher if desired.  So to prevent any possible "gaposis" I usually add an inch or two at this point, depending on the wearer's size.

Hope this helps,

Jim R.
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J-Waters
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« Reply #16 on: June 30, 2007, 07:29:55 PM »

First post. Thanks for letting me in folks.

These are really nice pants, Jim.

Patterns for new customers are an educated guess, which is why tailors have fittings, and because of the fittings they can true up the patterns for that customer. For fittings they have inlays so they can widen or shift seams. I think the back fork would be better if it were longer (I maybe wrong), and from the knee to the crotch a bit of a curve to get rid of some of the excess. I suppose it would have been hard to have any fittings when at these shows.

In the old days there were lots of tailors, so lots of competetion. Cutters were taught a few ways (out of many) to make patterns and then from there they develope their own methods, so each cutter has his own way of doing it, but always keeping an eye on the competetion for new ideas and even methods.

The sewing looks excellent.
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« Reply #17 on: July 13, 2007, 05:24:03 AM »

In the past I always had trouble with the fly. No matter what I did, I always ended up with severe fraying at the bottom of the fly. With the jeans-cloth some confederates favor, it was a nightmare! Now I realize that the fault is the pattern's, not mine! If you cut the seam the fly is on, of course there will be fraying! I relaly like the pattern i use, but I think it would benefit from a few modifications in the fly and in the back rise, as that section never looked right to me.

Now a question: the pattern i have has a "yoke" in the back. I usually cut the yoke as one with the pants and then make a folded seam that appears to be a yoke, sort of like how you would fold the side back "seams" in a ladies bodice, but Deveres has no illustration of a yoke or fold or anything. Is it an extra step I can leave off?

Making pants for hubby's wedding! Too late to change the fly, hoepfully this fabric won't fray so horribly!
~bevin
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Bevin MacRae

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Tom_Nixon
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« Reply #18 on: July 13, 2007, 06:27:22 AM »

Bevin:
Quote
the pattern i have has a "yoke" in the back. I usually cut the yoke as one with the pants and then make a folded seam that appears to be a yoke, sort of like how you would fold the side back "seams" in a ladies bodice, but Deveres has no illustration of a yoke or fold or anything. Is it an extra step I can leave off?

Bevin:

Glad you brought that up. I was struggling with it myself. I'm with you in not seeing any reference as to how or even whether Devere attaches a waistband.

I'm cutting a pair of Minister's "Plain Trowsers" which include the following explanation:

Quote
"Mark from c to d, the length from the top to the hollow of the waist (2), supposing the trowsers to be cut without waistbands --if made with waistbands, the point C will be at the upper side...
Boldface mine -TN

I made muslins for pants without a waistband and a dress coat from Minister's guide and found them both to be close fitting all around without being tight. The guide is from 1853 and the product looks it! There is none of the fullness in the sleeves and legs as seen in the 1860's and, given the significant rise of the back waist where the yoke would be, no need for yoke or a waistband.  I'll post pictures in a new thread if anyone is interested.

-Tom

ps. I own a pair of original Brooks Bros trowsers, (I'm guessing from the 1880's or 90's) which have a 1 1/2" waistband, lined in white polished cotton, and notched in the back. There is a yokeless rise in the seat. It adjusts with straps across the seat with a black metal prong and frame closure nearly identical to the one on the aforementioned officers trowsers. It also includes six black metal suspender buttons and two hidden waistband buttons.
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Jim_Ruley
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« Reply #19 on: July 13, 2007, 07:46:50 PM »

Quote
In the past I always had trouble with the fly. No matter what I did, I always ended up with severe fraying at the bottom of the fly. With the jeans-cloth some confederates favor, it was a nightmare! Now I realize that the fault is the pattern's, not mine! If you cut the seam the fly is on, of course there will be fraying!

Hi Bevin,

It may also help if you hand-serge the cut edges of the front seam below the fly.  In fact, if you have time, it's a good idea to hand-serge all the cut edges in jeancloth trousers.

Quote
Now a question: the pattern i have has a "yoke" in the back. I usually cut the yoke as one with the pants and then make a folded seam that appears to be a yoke, sort of like how you would fold the side back "seams" in a ladies bodice, but Deveres has no illustration of a yoke or fold or anything. Is it an extra step I can leave off?

Take a look 'way in the back of DeVere's book, at Plate 37 (after page 114), under "Economy of Cloth".  Figure 5 shows his recommended layout for trousers.  You will note that the cuff of the front side overlaps the upper back, but there is plenty of leftover room to cut the resulting yoke piece out of the leftovers.  This is the origin of the separate yokes seen in so many military (and not a few civilian) trousers.  Now, for a one-off pair made out of an adequate length of cloth, the savings wouldn't be worth the extra sewing time -- which is why I didn't do this for the officer's trousers.

Quote
I'm with you in not seeing any reference as to how or even whether Devere attaches a waistband.

Hi Tom,

It's kind of sprinkled about throughout his trouser section.  Plate 20 (following page 60) shows his recommended method.  He cuts the trouser back higher than shown in the basic draft (to fit under the waistband), then seams a waistband on to the front and part way around the back.  Rather than use separate adjustment belts, he leaves the last few inches of the waistband free and puts a buckle on one end.  It's a neat-looking method but I haven't seen an original American pair of trousers made that way, so I use a separately cut waistband going all the way around.

Interestingly, in Plate 18 (following page 54) DeVere recommends cutting the waistband on a curve for "very thin waists".

Hope this helps,

Jim R.
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