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This archived content is from Mary Wilkins’ sewing and quilting message board “Sew What’s New,” which was retired in August 2007. It is being provided by “Sew What’s Up,” which serves as the new home for many members of “Sew What’s New.”
From: Melanie T
Date: 12-29-2005, 10:28 AM (1 of 4)
My brother wants my sister and I to help him make a summer weight suit. She and I are dressmakers, and don't have any tailoring experience, but are willing to learn as he is determined and a very good sport about helping us with crazy projects.

We need recommendations for a good pattern and tailoring book/video/dvd that we can use to get started. It doesn't have to be beginner or simple, we are planning to use these skills for many years of sewing on our husbands, dad, other brothers, etc. Most of what we have found online is for womens's suits, and is not suitable for this application.

He hasn't sewed in a long time, but ten years ago he won the Michigan Make it With Wool junior division. He made a wool letter style jacket that he still wears for nice occasions. He drove us nuts then by being a perfectionist, picking out every seam until it was just perfect. Of course, it paid off when he won the contest and we didn't even get honorable mentions :). We were so proud of him, and mom still sews on the machine he won (I stole hers when I got married).
4 little sewing machine mechanics (6, 4, 2, Born June 14)
Ontario Canada
User: Melanie T
Member since: 09-21-2004
Total posts: 155
From: paroper
Date: 12-29-2005, 05:06 PM (2 of 4)
I'd pick a Vogue or Butterick pattern. They won't skimp on details (on the garment) read the directions and they'll have a lot more pattern pieces. You may not need much more. The hard part may be getting quality fabric, lining, and the proper interfacings. What little sewing that is being done right now is a little more relaxed than what I would be looking for in a good suit. You might check as a fabric/interfacing source. If you have a major university nearby, you might want to look there for a good tailoring textbook if you think you need one. You also might be able to find a college textbook someplace like Amazon. The college textbooks usually have the best instructions (not necessarily for beginning seamstresses...but it doens't look like you need to worry about skill level).

Bernina 200e, Artista V5 Designer Plus, Explorations, Magic Box, Bernina 2000DE & 335 Bernette Serger, Bernina 1530 Sewing Machine, Bernina 1300 DC Overlock (with coverstitch)
User: paroper
Member since: 02-03-2004
Total posts: 3775
From: Melanie T
Date: 01-10-2006, 01:09 PM (3 of 4)
Just some info on this project that I got from other sources that might be helpful to someone else.


I have a cousin who made a tuxedo for her husband, and it turned out great. He wears the pants all the time because they fit so well. He wears the jacket with different pants, even jeans(!) and brags about his custom made suit. She has also made him another suit and she used Vogue patterns for both. I don't know of any other places that make patterns for men's suits. For the most part she followed the pattern instructions in the envelope, except she pad stitched the lapels on the tux jacket. The other suit she just followed the pattern instructions to the letter and it looks quite nice. I don't know where she learned pad-stitching and some of the techniques of taping roll lines and welt pockets, but I do know she spent quite a bit of time with an older edition of the Vogue sewing book. this is the business suit she made and this I think is the tux she made, although I could be wrong on the tux. I know she had a lot of fun doing both and her hubby enjoys his custom made things.


Hi Melanie,

Yup, I have the same problem! I have often told my husband, "no way, I'm not going to make you a suit, I'm not a tailor!". Prices actually drove me to use a simple sports jacket pattern to make him a jacket, and I used a vest pattern from another pattern. The jacket pattern is McCall's 6443, and the vest pattern Simplicity 8679. Frankly, the jacket is NOT as nice as a tailored jacket, but it was easy and I made it for a tenth of the price of one at the store or the tailor. The vest looks great, though. I still made him buy trousers ;).

Those patterns are pretty old (I am a pattern horder, and buy a pattern when I see it, since the "style" will go out of "fashion"). I hope you can find them at a fabric store As to tailoring, I am pretty helpless there, too!

all the best,


There is a men's tailoring book called "Classic Tailoring Techniques, A Construction Guide For Men's Wear". Authors are Roberto Cabrera and Patricia Flaherty Meyers. Published by Fairchild Publications New York in 1983.

Vogue has some great mens patterns. Kind of pricey but they are well tailored looking. Burda has patterns that are more casual. There is not a lot of choices out there for men in the pattern dept. I have a pattern for summer shirts that is very basic that has been used so many times it is falling apart.
Drafting patterns is complicated. I drafted one in class and decided it is not going to happen again.
The most important advice I can give is take your time and go one step at a time. You need to do fittings almost every step of the way. Let me know how it goes. Good luck. Bruce
4 little sewing machine mechanics (6, 4, 2, Born June 14)
Ontario Canada
User: Melanie T
Member since: 09-21-2004
Total posts: 155
From: sewing maven
Date: 04-02-2006, 09:49 PM (4 of 4)
I am working with a Burda pattern right now to make my husband a sport coat. Whatever you do - don't buy a burda pattern until you have jacket construction down pat - the instructions that they give you are so bad that I have had to use my books and not even look at the ones that came with the pattern. The book recommended on the previous post is most excellant but out of print and hard to find!
User: sewing maven
Member since: 04-02-2006
Total posts: 11
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