tuxedo or men’s suit pattern search
I plan on sewing a tuxedo for my son for prom this spring (it is only fair, since his sister had all of her formal dresses made by me!). My goal is to make a suit that he will be able to wear for both junior and senior proms. Since he is going to be growing even taller over the next year, I am specifically looking for a pattern that allows for easy alteration in the waist of the pants – you know, like men’s ready to wear higher- end pants. Does anyone know of a specific pattern that has this feature. Also, does anyone have a favorite tuxedo (or men’s suit) pattern they would like to suggest? Thanks!
Boy, if you find a good one, let me know! I found it interesting that one of the "Big Four" or is it three or two now, had a pattern for a woman's tux with tails, but not a man's version. I'm guessing you want more room in the waist? I just add an inch, or an inch and one half to the center back seam of the trouser, (so you have the option to let out 2-3 inches total). Make the waistband longer, too, and have a seam in the waistband at the center back, even if the pattern doesn't call for it. All my pants have a seam in the center back of the waistband. Sew the waistband to the left and right sides of the trouser, then sew from the zipper to the crotch, and continue up the center back. A cheap lesson: get a pair of mens' trou from goodwill or salvation army that is constructed the way you want to do yours, and deconstruct them.
Another point: I purchased a wool blend to make a tux for a friend, and at the end of one night of dancing, the legs were already showing wear. (Disappointing at $16 a yard, but not totally unexpected.) It was just one or two isolated areas, so I wonder if there was something at the hall, a rough spot on some doorway or something, that contributed to the damage. Sequins and beading on a dress can catch on some fabrics, so you may want to keep that in mind when you choose fabric for his tux.
I did alterations for 25 years, feel free to email me with any questions. Good luck, Carol
Thanks so much for the response, Carol. The description you made of how to construct the waist band is exactly what I was looking for. Your method is so simiple! Do you think a wool or wool blend would be my best choice, especially if I may need to let out the length of the pants the next year? Would a wool do the best job of hiding the old hem line? Thanks! Deb
A wool blend will be fine, I think. You'll find that some of the tuxes your son would have rented to be polyester. I know it makes some folks shudder and say "ewww, poly," but some do wear well. So you could use either, with a satin lapel maybe? Will this be black? Trim down the outseam?
And if you want to really take a chance, take a 10" square of that wool blend, measure carefully, and run it through a short cold wash. Measure again, and carefully examine the results. Running a length through the washer for preshrinking is a whole lot easier than wrapping it in wet sheets, or steaming it to pre-shrink, and cheaper than having the cleaners do it.
It will be a black tux. Yes, a satin lapel and stripe on the legs will make it less run-of-the-mill. There is not a whole lot you can do to fancy up a tuxedo - except possibly go crazy with the fabric choice for the vest and tie! I certainly miss using my creative juices on my daughters dresses. I would actually prefer to use a poly for the tux, just to keep the cost down on an item that probably won't be worn more than twice, but I am afraid of a hem line mark on the pants if I have to lengthen them later (especially on a black fabric). What do you think?
Just don't press the ever-loving life outta that hem, it should be ok. For what it's worth, I've had better re-hemming results by taking out the old hem, and pressing the material flat from the wrong side, and then turning up the new hem.
The poly sounds like a good idea. That's why I was kind of hinting at it-especially if it's only going to be worn a couple times.
Great advice. Thanks for all your help. I'll drop you a line when I finally finish the project.
You will always be glad if you make this tux for your son; this kind of sewing creates a wonderful bond. About letting pants cuffs down--the old faithful white vinegar used on polyester still works for me and you can control how lightly they are pressed in. I chaperone a lot of proms and many, many of the students remove their shoes to dance! If he walks on his cuffs, there is not much hope for them. Also metal folding chairs are notorious for snags at the joints. Use as little lining and interfacing as possible to reduce warmth of the jacket. The polyester will help support this.
Thanks for the reminder about white vinegar. I had forgotten about that trick. I appreciate your other hints. Every little bit helps.
Vogue has a men's tux pattern that is very classically tailored. I'm not sure if it has this feature, but putting in a split waistband would help if it needs to be altered.
This post is archived.