As the summer sun begins to show glimpses of its forthcoming menace, I’ve begun to look at warm weather projects again.
The Australian winter prolonged itself this year, hanging around much longer than usual, and keeping the idea of breezy fabrics well away from my mind. Though I did enjoy having more opportunities to layer and wear my last two projects – the flannel and corduroy suits – the extended absence of warmth wasn’t so good for the health.
When it recently came time to store the autumn/winter items and pull the spring/summer gear out, I realised I effectively only had one summer suit (brown Baird McNutt linen from last year). I tried it on for size, and discovered that it was now huge on me. The pant waist was so big, even when worn with braces the gap between my body and the waistband was glaringly present, and the jacket required 4cm shorn off through the abdomen and seat.
After noting how much adjustment my pattern needed, I ordered another length of linen from Baird – a brown glen check, reference Drumbeg R237/1112 – and started to put together the image of how I wanted this one to look.
The end design for this one turned out to be somewhat of an eclectic mix, utilising my favourite parts of Neapolitan and American styling. A very thin full canvas was used, with a quarter lining. My favourite three-roll-two and a half fronting makes yet another appearance. I used triple patch pockets, all with pleats, flaps and button fastenings. I considered adding a double besom ticket pocket with loop-and-button fastening, a favourite on client garments, though decided that would have been too much. The back, like the Gable suit, features a belt back with pleats either side, and is unvented. Shoulders are a large spalla camicia and the sleeve cuffs feature twin spaced buttons, a detail I like on classic American tailoring.
The trousers feature double belt loops, a flapped fob pocket and a back cinch adjuster.
The jacket was perhaps the most satisfactory piece I’ve done for myself thus far. The fit felt excellent (though I had the seat taken in further again after initial fitting), the complete lack of shoulder pad feels brilliant, and the triple patch pocket configuration is beautiful with the checked linen. It’s quite a busy jacket, though it was styled to be as such, so that it would make an excellent sportcoat when the trousers blow out.
Frustratingly, I yet again experienced the phenomenon where I thought I’d nailed my waistline size only to find that I shrank again while the pant was being made. I decided to bring the seat and thigh in with the waist, as my own frame is now getting to a point where a notably larger thigh measurement simply isn’t needed, and I’ll likely attempt a pure straight leg on the next iteration of the pant pattern. I also brought in the seat on the jacket.
The final fit, post alterations, turned out well.
Worn below with my linen shirt from Proper Cloth and Corneliani tie. Other accessories are an Akubra belt, Garrett Leight frames (previously covered) and Crockett & Jones derbies, also previously covered.
We also got a couple of bunch books comprised of Italian-made shirting fabrics from a textile merchant called Hesworth. Spying some interesting linens and linen-cotton blends in one of the bunches, I decided to road test the linens with a horizontal striped purple pure linen cloth (while it’s easy to turn any fabric 90 degrees during cutting and construct it in said fashion, to achieve a horizontal stripe, this particular fabric has been woven with the intention of the stripes appearing horizontal when the grain is aligned normally).
I had it made up in my usual unlined button down collar with 8.8cm collar point length, unfused placket (I tried a 9 button placket this time, instead of my usual 8) and unfused rounded cuffs. Rounding out the details are an exaggerated spalla camicia sleeve head, a shirred/pleated back yoke and cuffs with the same style of pleating. People in the sartorial world like to quote unique Italian names for each of those details, but I haven’t troubled myself to learn them.
I quite like the effect of the exaggerated shoulder pleating when the shirt is worn. It enhances the appearance of the wearer’s deltoid muscles, giving the image of a solid shoulder cap.
I’ve found the fabric, however, to be quite uncooperative. It could certainly have benefited from a light collar interlining as even with the button-down collar points it still collapses in on itself. The back of the collar struggles to align with itself too, this fabric being the first time this issue has presented itself on a collar construction which I’ve used dozens of times. I also found that the loose weave of the cloth had so much give, the neck circumference would stretch by 1cm after being buttoned for only a few minutes. Thankfully this issue was solved by shrinking it during a 90C washing cycle.
It’s not a bad cloth (and the horizontally striped pattern is cool), though not much cheaper by the metre than the likes of Thomas Mason, whose linens I would still preference over this one.
What’s next? A navy double breasted blazer, intended for summer wear, made from 310g VBC hopsack. Four widely spaced buttons, 12cm lapel width, triple patch pockets. All that good stuff.