Wednesday, 9 March 2022

Getting things just right.


I like to think of myself as a 'modern man'. I shop, I cook, I occasionally clean, I do my own washing if I can understand how the machine works, and, yes, I even do my own simple sewing repairs.

I've always been a little fastidious about trousers; Lady M might say obsessive. I'm prepared to wear them of any style, any material, and any colour, as long as the bottoms measure 14 ins.

At school we wore regulation dark grey pin-striped suits, and the trouser bottoms always annoyed me; they measured about 18ins, and, in my eyes, always required tapering. Not a lot, but enough to stop them flapping about. 

My friend Bill (his son is now an MP, so I'd better not give his full name) had a grandmother who was happy to do some simple sewing for a few quid, and after having worked on my first pair, more work came flooding in from other boys who saw how much better they looked. She ended-up doing a roaring trade.

I still do my own sewing when I can. As long as it's simple, involves straight lines, and can be hidden from sight, I'll always give it a go. I'm talking of hand-sewing; I couldn't cope with a machine!

I've recently bought a few pairs of new trousers, and, of course, they needed work. 

Lady M was highly amused by my rustic technique, but all went well, and I now have the trousers with the width of bottoms that I require.

It may sound strange that a man of my great age should be tapering his own trousers, but that's how I like it.  I shan't be appearing on The Great British Sewing Bee, but I quite enjoy getting my fingers pricked occasionally!

32 comments:

  1. I would be very happy to see my man fix his own trousers. He sends them down to his sister but has been known to sew on a button. Unfortunately he is the washing machine expert and will still criticise my loading and unloading technique.
    Your descriptions of your school years are fascinating.

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    1. I think my first ever attempts at sewing must have been with buttons. Quite a satisfying operation when one is small.

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  2. Can't say I've ever thought to measure my trousers but each to their own. We all have to have a hobby.

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    1. If you're happy however you look; that's fine. I happen to be a tad more particular.

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    2. I noticed that. Nothing like a handbag and a supermarket bag as a hat to set a bloke off.
      Folk here would take the piss mercilessly.

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  3. 14 inch turnups, that sounds quite wide.

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    1. 14 inches all the way round. 7 inches when ironed flat.

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  4. My brothers were all taught to sew on buttons and do their own mending; I know the oldest still does. I am not sure what you mean by 14 inch turn ups, but whatever, if you're happy that's all that matters.

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    1. I expect we all first learned to sew on buttons. 14 inch bottoms might seem quite tight, but I find it comfortable.

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  5. Like Rachel, I was thinking.....14 inch turn ups? (Would be up to the knees almost.)That would look extremely odd! Then realised on reading further that you mean the width of the trousers at the hem!!

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    1. Yes, the width of the turnups. I'm not au fait with all the correct terminology.

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    2. You are still saying it incorrectly. What you could say is width AT the turn up (two words) or you could say more clearly, width of the trouser leg at the bottom, or width at ankle, all of which have nothing whatsoever to do with the turn up except that it is located at the bottom of the trouser leg.

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    3. You're making me wish I'd never started.

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  6. The thimble is a marvellous invention. Hardy Amies used one all the time to avoid unwelcome pricks.

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    1. Now, there's a very good reply to this (which I know you are anticipating), but I shall refrain.

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  7. You sound very handy with all that you do, my husband can barely boil an egg let alone anything else... I think we shall have to have you stuffed and mounted!

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  8. I would love to meet you 'in the flesh' so to speak - and I don't mean without clothes - just face to face Cro - just to show me that you are sartorially as elegant as I imagine you to be.

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    1. I'm a dandy of the dandyish persuasion. But don't believe everything I say.

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  9. My wife was a teacher, and sewing was one of her subjects. She was quite accomplished at it. She preferred to teach me how to do my own pants rather than just doing it for me. I was even required to get my own machine. (Which means I was NOT allowed to touch hers!)

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    1. Sewing machines are a total mystery for me. Even threading an ordinary needle takes me about 15 mins.

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  10. I do simple alterations by hand as well. A tapered straight seam always looks more tailored. Your must be very precise to get the angle and measure just right and matching.

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    1. 'Rustic' is my middle name. I do my best.

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  11. I'm also a hemmer and that's also where my talent in sewing ends. I once got a high mark on the hem I did on a skirt for Home Economics class and to this day, I'm oddly proud of that. The other day I actually attempted to search for hobbies on the internet that involved hemming but apparently they don't exist. Embroidery and cross stitch is far too arduous for a simple hemmer like myself.

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    1. I have to admit that my wife does the actual hems. I wouldn't trust myself with anything as complicated.

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  12. Well done for wielding a needle and thread.
    I do all my patchwork and quilting by hand as well as other bits and bobs...but I do use a handraulic sewing machine at times!!

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    1. We have a machine, but it's hidden away in some dark cupboard somewhere. I wouldn't have a clue how to use it.

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  13. You do a mighty fine blanket stitch, too.

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    1. I do my best. I'm a self-taught amateur who failed his sewing test!

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  14. My youngest son did some sewing of his own a few years ago. He was invited to a 70s party and added paisley fabric inserts to the bottoms of an old pair of jeans to make flares, and sewed (roughly) a vest with the rest of the paisley. He'd never sewn before and hasn't since, but he does his own washing and ironing and shops for himself too.

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    1. Good for him. We should all teach our sons that a bit of independence is good for the soul. Relying on others to do simple things for us is lazy.

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