Showing posts with label for the boys. Show all posts
Showing posts with label for the boys. Show all posts

Tuesday, 10 September 2013

Wedding Waistcoats Wanted

Having done a tie post as part of my series on knitting for weddings, the next logical step seemed to be to do a post on waistcoats for the groom and/or groomsmen. I was looking forward to this post as I expected to find a number of nice waistcoat or vest patterns. Alas, they don't seem to exist. There are quite a lot of waistcoat patterns available, a number of which are nice enough to wear to the office with a shirt, tie, and trousers, but not really any that looked stylish enough for a groom.

The one above is the only readily available pattern I could find that looked like it might do. The design is called "The Waistcoat He Wants", it was designed by Feature Knitting Designs, and it's a free pattern.

If that waistcoat pattern doesn't do it for you, there are two routes you might take. One way is to track down a vintage waistcoat or vest knitting pattern that you like, and use that. Old style vests were much smarter than the casual, relaxed fit vests you see now. I'd recommend looking for a sharp cut, some detailing such as welts, and a shaped bottom, as these things elevate the design.

The other possible way to make a waistcoat fit for a groom is to pick out a waistcoat sewing pattern that you like, make a rectangular length of knitting in a fine gauge but in any colour and pattern you like, then take it to a tailor to be made up. I'd consult with the tailor about the project before doing any knitting or even buying a pattern to make sure s/he is able and willing to do it and to get advice, unless you are a very good sewer, in which case you might tackle sewing the waistcoat yourself. When I was researching patterns for the first post in my series on twentieth century knitting patterns and I hoped to find a great waistcoat pattern, this is what all the Edwardian waistcoat patterns I found said to do.

And I'll just throw in about the only item of wearing apparel I found on Ravelry that was specifically designated as groom wear, Groom's Socks to Prevent Cold Feet, by Eline Oftedal. It is kind of a fun idea for a gag gift, but I can't imagine any man of my acquaintance actually being willing to wear these, and it seems like a lot of work to do just for the sake of a joke. However, if you know a prospective groom who could use such socks, the pattern is available as a $5.99(USD) download.

Thursday, 5 September 2013

The Ties that Bind Off

Today's post was originally intended to be a post about ties and waistcoats for my series on knitting for weddings. But when I researched tie designs, I soon realized that they deserved a post of their own. So although this post may certainly used as a resource for knitting ties for weddings, I've tried to write a fairly comprehensive post on ties for all occasions.

Knitting a tie that looks right can be a bit of a challenge. Many of those I looked at looked too limp, too thick, had rough-looking or uneven edges, were twisted, or just didn't hang right. They looked homemade as opposed to handmade, and I'm sure you all know the difference between those two looks. It's so important that an item that is worn front and centre with a suit in a professional or formal setting looks doesn't look "loving hands at home". And achieving that seems to be a matter of getting the shape, proportions, and weight just right.

The best and most classic width for a tie is 3.25 inches, although any measurement from 2.75 to 3.5 inches is fine. The successful patterns I looked at all recommended fingering weight/4 ply yarn, and though silk was often used, a wool/nylon blend will also work, or a cotton yarn for summer wear. It seems to me that no knitter will ever need a lot of tie patterns, but should just select one good pattern for each shape desired (standard, straight, and/or skinny) and keep using it, changing the colourway and patterns as desired.

The Preppy Tie depicted above was probably the best example of the standard tie that I found. The fact that it is knit on the bias is probably the key to its success, as the usual three or sixfold woven tie that men wear is cut on the bias. It might be a little difficult to get a hold of this pattern, as it was originally published in the January/February 2011 issue of Knitting Today!

Here's another bias knit tie from Interweave Knits. It's very similar to the one above, but this time the pattern is readily accessible as a $4.50(USD) download. It is too short on the model. Make sure the length is right when the tie is on: just touching the waistband of the wearer's trousers. It always looks a little...Freudian...when men get their tie length wrong.

This pattern for Traditional Neckties, also from Interweave Knits, again looks very similar to the two above, but might provide some pattern variations, and is available as a $5(USD) download. I really like the pattern of the tie in the top right-hand picture.

If you'd like to make a straight tie, this basic seed stitch tie pattern from Benyamen Conn might serve you well. It's a free pattern.

The Ed's Tie design, by Sally Melville, has a good texture and seems to hang well. It appears in The Knitting Experience: Book 3: Color.

The Angelus Knit Tie is another straight tie with a great texture and bit of stripe. It's a free pattern.

Here's a striped tie, designed by Christy Pyles for Knitter's Magazine.

This New School Tie is from Knit 2 Together: Patterns and Stories for Serious Knitting Fun.

If you'd like to make a skinny tie, the Rustic Elegant Tie is a good textured skinny tie pattern. It appears in Knitting Classic Style: 35 Modern Designs Inspired by Fashion's Archives.

If you like a more sporty skinny tie, the Tsubaki Cotton Necktie might be the design for you. It's a free pattern.

And of course, I can't leave out the bow tie. Here's a pretty good one, the linen stitch Gestrikt design, by Malia Mather, as modelled by Stephen West. It's a free pattern.

Sunday, 16 June 2013

It's All About the Men Day

When I was casting about looking for a topic for a special Father's Day post, I soon hit upon the idea of doing a post consisting entirely of men's patterns, only to immediately realize it's the kind of thing I ought to do more often without the impetus of a holiday geared toward men. Which brings me to a matter I ought to address, namely that I know that in writing this blog I am often guilty of speaking past my male readers.

I often write as though I am assuming I'm speaking solely to female knitters, and when it comes to selecting patterns I focus almost entirely on women's apparel. I try to be conscious of it and to improve on using inclusive language, but I keep falling short. I'm not saying I'm aiming for a truly equitable playing field here. The analytics for this Facebook page tell me about 4% of my Facebook page followers are male, and it seems reasonable to assume the male subset of my blog's readers is also 4% of the whole. The reality is that I will wind up catering to the majority of my readers. But even so I need to make sure that my male readers don't feel ignored and unwelcome if I want them to keep coming back. So guys, whether you're a father or not, this post is for you. I've selected 14 menswear patterns from Ravelry for your perusal and possible use, and have written the accompanying commentary based on the assumption you'd be the one wielding the needles and wearing the finished product.

I don't know how included looking at menswear patterns selected by a woman are going to make you feel, but I've done my best to come up with some attractive options. Far be it from me to presume to know what men want, of course. In the past I generally have been successful at making or selecting gifts of clothing my male family members and friends liked and wore (sometimes to rags) when they got them, but then in those cases I knew the men well and had had a chance to learn what their tastes and individual preferences were. I don't know you, and just had to fall back on my lady brain's best judgment. As I scrolled through something like 85 pages of Ravelry pattern thumbnails looking for candidates for this post, my criteria was first, did I like it, and if I did, could I picture a man of my acquaintance wearing it voluntarily and happily? The knitted jock strap and knitted union drawers I found didn't make the cut. Here's hoping you find the patterns that did worth a look.

The Eddard sock pattern offers a bit of a twist on cabled socks — normally the cables aren't this pronounced in men's socks. This pattern is a free download.

The Émilien hoodie is fairly basic, but the simple strip pattern is effective and the excellent workmanship of the design really caught my eye. The whole sweater sits so perfectly on the body. This pattern is available as a $6(USD) download.

The Chicane would be a basic zippered cardigan, but the ribbed cuffs and contrasting horizontal ribbing at the elbows really give it a distinctive touch. This pattern is available as a $7(USD) download.

The Alberta is a basic vest lent some visual interest with the use of variegated yarn stripes. This pattern is available as a $6.50(USD) download.

The Brigade is a classic design with the zippered neck adding a modern touch. You will need a long neck to wear this one as is, although shortening the neck is probably an option. This pattern is available as a $7(USD) download.

I've tried to avoid including sweaters with stripes across the chest in this post because I know they're so ubiquitous in menswear, but I couldn't resist putting the Hacky Sack Hoodie in. Love the colours, and lowering the body stripe to the ribcage did help a bit. This pattern appears in Son of Stitch n' Bitch: 45 Projects to Knit and Crochet for Men, by Debbie Stoller.

Love the Handsome Scarf, which could be taken in either an old school or more outré direction depending on your choice of colour, as most of these patterns could. This pattern is a free download.

Most knitted ties tend to be less than successful from what I've seen, looking like some skinny, limp sixties-era artifact, but I do like this Bias Knit Tie. It's probably successful because it is bias knit, as fabric ties are cut on the bias. This example is obviously too short, so do be careful to get the right length. It always looks a little Freudian when men wear their ties too short or too long. This pattern is a free download.

If you found the Eddard sock pattern above too bulky for your tastes, you may prefer the Dude sukat design, with its more subtle cables. The ribbing should ensure a good fit. This pattern is a free download.

The Whitfield Jacket really does look like a jacket — that is, like something that you'll tend to wear only outside. I also can't help but notice that it has two chest pockets. My dad much prefers shirts with two pockets, though most shirts are made with one or none. This pattern is an $8(USD) download.

Love the Coal Springs scarf, with its simple yet striking design and which could be worn with just about anything in most male wardrobes. This pattern is a free download.

I very much like the Latvian vest, though I suppose it won't be to every man's taste. I think changing the colourway would go a long way to making this design something you'll want to wear. You can dial it down by making it more subdued or dial it up by making it brighter. This pattern is a free download.

The textured cross pattern on the Ridgeway Pullover keeps an ordinary turtleneck pullover interesting. If you want to give it yet more visual interest, you could do the textured pattern in a second colour. This pattern is a $7(USD) download.

And I can't wrap up a post on menswear without featuring a design by that alpha male of knitwear design, Kaffe Fassett, whom I bet has never in his life been guilty of designing a chest-striped sweater. Here he is modelling his own Stone Circles pullover pattern that I can imagine working on nearly every man I know, depending on the colourway. This pattern is a free download.