I didn’t think I’d watch the Great British Sewing Bee. First, there was the stupid title. Second, the intro. As if decreeing an anachronistic pastime fit to be aired. I turned off. But after reading this review, I had to catch up on you tube and then got hooked. The question the series left me with was “Was the time allowed for the challenges reasonable, or over generous, or too short?” What do you think? Its a long time since I’ve sewn to a timetable. I decided to put myself to a sort of test.
I picked something I don’t usually make – men’s trousers, and drafted a pattern. This wasn’t an entirely random choice of course. Dark mutterings about the size of my stash and the need to replace trousers have been going on for some time. Perhaps a challenge would distract from the tedium of menswear?
Here’s a rough run down of how I did.
Cut out 30 minutes. It was actually 40, but I cut the myriad pieces for back welt pockets. Then I put the whole trouser-making thing off, used welt phobia as an excuse, and sewed more interesting stuff (a dress for me, post later). “Don’t bother with back welt pockets, nothing ever fits in them” was the response. Worth knowing, but excuse gone west.
I snipped in pattern markings as I cut, and pin marked dart points. Then I timed the stages.
Fuse interfacing to waistband, 5 minutes. Stitch back darts and press, 5 minutes.
Stitch pocket line seam of side pockets. Press to pocket. 3 minutes. I know the Bee trousers didn’t have any. I just never met a man who didn’t use those.
Understitch and press, 3 minutes. Dither, then decide to topstitch, 3 minutes.
Pin and stitch pocket back/side front pieces. 4 minutes.
Bind pockets. 10 minutes. Not strictly necessary, but pocket strength tends to be an issue for those who don’t use handbags. At least in this house it does. Remind self that zip is going in the opposite way. I’ve heard it has something to do with cloaks and swords, innuendos will not besmirch this page today.
Lightly press centre lines to position zip. 3 minutes.
Lay zip face down on RS up left leg, touching centre line, pin. Stitch fly side of teeth, 6 minutes (needed to change machine foot). Flip the zip over, so its right side up.
Press under a line on right leg 5mm away from centre line into seam allowance, pin it down the other side of the zip and stitch it. 5 minutes.
Make the zip guard, press it, stitch it to right leg side in the seam allowance. 10 minutes.
Stitch part of the crotch seam. 6 minutes. This part is a bit of a fiddle. Pin zip guard out of the way.
Pin centre lines together, top stitch fly. 6 minutes.
Pin and sew leg seams, zig-zag and trim. 20 minutes. Overlocking would have been quicker, but I didn’t have matching threads.
Stitch crotch seam and second stitch, in a smidge, to strengthen. Zig zag, clip where needed. 10 minutes.
Make the bleeping belt tabs, all eight of them. Stitch them to the trousers just below the waistband line. 15 minutes. Did GBSB have belt tabs? Stitch back seam of waistband, 3 minutes.
Stitch the first seam of waistband. Curse because the ends aren’t a dead match, rip off, restitch. 15 minutes.
Stitch down the tops of the belt tabs. 15 minutes – beginning to flag now.
Stitch the waistband ends. 6 minutes. Press the band edge under on the WS. Pin from the RS. 10 minutes. Got to get that part right, or it won’t get caught in the next line of stitching.
Stitch in the ditch to secure waistband, 5 minutes. Hooray, it worked first time.
Neaten the hem edge of the trouser legs. 5 minutes.
Turn the hem up and tack. 10 minutes. (checking both legs the same length, seams pressed in the same direction and measuring)
Blind hem, press stitches to try to bury them. Rip out tacks. 10 minutes. If I wasn’t hurrying I’d probably have fiddled with the stitch settings to get a smaller grab. But, as rtw cotton trousers usually have a straight stitch machined hem, they’re still a cut above.
Press the trousers, make a buttonhole. 12 minutes, sew on a button, and a trouser fastening 10 minutes.
So in the region of four hours. I haven’t admitted to finishing them yet, it should be good for a couple more days of closeted buzzing of the sewing machine, making fun stuff. “Just finishing the trousers dear”.
I have zero enthusiasm for menswear, can you tell? Its marginally more exciting than hemming tea towels. (Sorry Patrick. )
I’m still wearing the mad may me mades, but have decided to post a week’s worth at once.