Wednesday 29 July 2009

Suits you, Sir

Recently I have had a number of enquires about the trousers I have been making based on the classic series costumes. I have therefore decided to make them available for commission.

If you are interested, please get in touch by emailing me at

Five Trousers - season 19 design

Screen accurate copy of trousers as worn by Peter Davison in his first two seasons.
Fabric is bespoke printed by Spoonflower and has been designed to accurately match genuine garment. Although never seen in full on screen, pattern has been based as closely as possible to the trousers as seen in Planet Of Fire.

Trousers have high V-split back; zip and hook & eye fastenings; two side pockets; buttons ready for braces (braces not supplied!); lined from waistband to pockets.

Five Trousers - season 21 design

Made to a pattern to match the trousers seen in Planet of Fire, these trousers are made with a fabric design not previously made available. This design of trouser was also seen recently in Time Crash, where Peter Davison wore the pair that had been let out for Colin Baker during the regeneration scene in Caves Of Androzani.

Trousers have high V-split back; zip and hook & eye fastenings; two side pockets; buttons ready for braces (braces not supplied!); lined from waistband to pockets.

Six Trousers - season 22 design

Made from authentic woven pillow ticking and dyed to just the right colour as described in Making Phoenix Fabric.
NB: trousers shown are made directly from the California Pants pattern and are not strictly screen accurate. Trousers made will be to a revised screen accurate pattern.

Trousers have zip and hook & eye fastening; two side and two back pockets; buttons ready for braces (braces not supplied!); lined from waistband to pockets.

TERMS AND CONDITIONS: All trousers are made-to-measure to dimensions supplied by buyer. If mutually agreed, a calico test to check fit is available at £20. Payment of 50% deposit on commission, balance due within one week of completion of garment, and once cleared, items will be shipped. Payment by PayPal preferred, or if in UK, cheque is acceptable. Shipping within UK is free by recorded delivery, outside UK items will be sent FedEx, payable by buyer. No liability can be taken for incorrectly taken measurements supplied by buyer, but all efforts will be made to ensure your complete satisfaction with your order.

Sunday 12 July 2009

Ten Trousers part two - making the backs

Having successfully finished the fronts of the trousers, it’s time to turn attention to the backs.

Back fitting
First thing I need to do is put some reinforcing interface around the areas that will be sewn. These are around the back pockets and a small fitting dart that goes between the pockets and the waistband.
Looking closely at the GAP trousers I find they did this in one piece, so I copy the shape and cut my interface in a similar way (see right). Because the interface does not cover the entire area of the fabric I am stiffening, the edges are cut with pinking shears to avoid a line being visible from the right-side of the finished trousers.

I then iron the interfacing in place and sew the darts (see above left). I don’t bother to trim the seam allowance of the darts because they are so small and it may only weaken the trousers. I press the darts flat from the right-side (see above right).

Back Pockets
I am now ready to do the back welted pockets. Setting welted pockets like these has become a regular thing for me, but this time I need pay a little more attention to detail; the welts are a little finer; the pinstripes means cutting needs to be more precise; and because the trousers are not fully lined, the pocket bags will be exposed and will need to be much neater and have no exposed raw edges.

I have extensively covered welted pockets before when I was making my Calico Tennant Coat, the Alcantara Tennant Coat and Six Trousers, so I will skim over a few things and try to focus on only the unique aspects of these pockets in this entry.

The pieces I prepare are two interfaced welts, folded and pressed in half; one interfaced pocket facing; and a button loop made from pinstripe fabric (see left). I have carefully cut and pressed these so pinstripes will be visible on each.

I then mark the position of the pocket (see below left) and sew the welts on the right-side, flipped upside-down (see below right).

I then cut between the two welts (see above left) and snip to the ends of the stitching in a Y shape at each end (see above right).

Wednesday 8 July 2009

Ten trousers part one - cutting and fronts

At last, the day is here when I start cutting the JoAnn fabric (see right) and begin making my suit!

I got the fabric from the US through the kind help of Bob Mitsch, who managed to track down the last few remnants of the fabric on behalf of a number of cosplayers. Thanks Bob!

Looking back a few months I would have been terrified to start cutting the trousers, but now I feel I have gained enough experience and knowledge to do them with confidence.

I will break the entries for the trousers into three parts:
Part 1 - cutting and making the fronts
Part 2 - making the backs
Part 3 - sewing the legs and waistband

Part 1 - cutting and making the fronts

I am doing the trousers based on the lifted pattern from the GAP trousers, and plan to follow this as close as possible.
I bought a pair which were the same cut as the screen used trousers and are a perfect fit for me (see right). This means I don’t need to adapt or change the pattern, aside from a couple of real minor tweaks.

I carefully took the trousers apart, making a few notes as I went.
I only took apart the unique pieces, such as the fly; one front pocket; one front and back and the waistband. I kept one front pocket and one back pocket fully intact as reference.

I then made a paper pattern from the fabric pieces (see left).

Sunday 5 July 2009

Making My Five Trousers

Now I have got my Five Trouser pattern sorted out, with its high conjoined waistband, I can set about making the real thing.

I ordered two yards of the Spoonflower printed fabric, and I quickly discovered that it was only just enough to make the trousers.


I want to get the fall of the stripes just right, so I found some decent reference pictures and had them on hand while I was cutting the cloth (see below).

This particular picture (see left) was helpful in working out the scale, as I could count the stripes between pocket edges and work it so they would fit to the width of the trousers I was planning to make.

For the fronts I noticed how the wider stripe cluster runs up the front fly, so I position the pattern so it falls in the appropriate place.

Once I have cut one side from the pattern, I then turn the cut piece over and line it up to the stripes below.

I can then cut a perfect mirror copy to make sure the trousers are symmetrical (see below).

The only downside of ensuring the stripes fall correctly is that you cannot cut the pieces as economically as you would like, and even the excessive areas of selvage are not as usable as I would like because again the smaller pieces still need to fall correctly on the stripes.
As a result I found I needed every inch of the two yards I had ordered – it cannot be done in one yard!

Wednesday 1 July 2009

The Return Of Steampunk

Over on my Tennant Coat Blog I showed off the 1903 Singer 27K sewing machine I use for all my work.

Though it was not this actual machine, it was a hand-crank Singer 27K that I first learnt how to sew when I was around ten years old.
I was always interested how something that could essential only stitch in a straight line could produce such wonderful three-dimensional and tactile objects, such as the rag dolls my Mother would make for me and other family members in the late 60s and early 70s. I still have a clown made for me as a Christmas present when I was about five years old in 1971, and a girl in petticoats my Mother made for herself (see right).
If you want to read more about the Singer 27K that I use,
you can download a PDF of the original manual HERE.
For years I was resigned to the fact that a straight line it did, and a straight line it would always do.