Monday, 27 April 2015

1795 Men's Suit Project - Waistcoat

This will be my first foray into men's clothing. As I just finished the 1795 open robe from the Margot Hill book, I couldn't stop looking at the illustration of the men's ensemble that went with it, so I decided to give it a shot. To start things on the easy side, I went with the waistcoat first

1795 Waistcoat, Silk.
Double Breasted.
Chest: 38"
Waist: 32"

This pattern is deceptively simple, having only the two parts. Of course, after you make up the facings, the binding (optional) and the welted pockets, there are many more pieces.

For the lining, I chose a copper-brown silk that I had on hand. I did not using any kind of interfacing. Although the final product came out sturdy and well shaped, I still wish I had interfaced it. Next time I definitely will.

Anyway, below you can see the facing being pinned to the lining front. Disregard the facing pieces hanging over the edge. I was trimmed them off to match later. Also, note the fact that the horizontal stripes line up. With a stripe this large and pronounced, you must make sure they line up and meet.
 Also, I just laid the facing pieces over the lining pieces, rather than treat them as a separate piece to be attached. It double layered that space, which I wanted for the button holes to come later.

I'm not sure of the proper terminology, but my method of constructing this was to that I could do a sack lining that including the armholes. When making sleeveless things, you end up having to bind the armholes or do some other clever narrow turning to finish them. I really prefer this method. You just sack line everything, leaving the shoulder seams open on the lining and the main fabric (stop stitching a good inch or so to the edge so you have room to turn the seam allowance and work later).

 Below we have the waistcoat, all finished up with buttonholes already done. I'm sorry I skipped so many steps at the this point, but the rest before it was really just on-the-fly stuff having to do with facings and edge bindings,

Here you see the right side of the waistcoat laid smooth with the left side folded back. I was lining up the button holes to mark placement for the buttons at this point.

Making Buttons

I have done self covered buttons for years using the little metal kits you buy at the fabric store. Well, a metal shank like that would not be period accurate for this and (to be totally honest) I didn't have on hand anyway. I do, however, have a whole bunch of metal cover button blanks that I bought online which turned out to be garbage (their backings didn't fit them at all and were made of cheap soft metal). So, I have tons of blank to use for hand covering.

I just cut out circles a little bigger than the blanks and ran a gathering stitch around the edge. Then, placed the blank in the middle and cinched it up. After that, it's sort of like the tight wrapping method one uses when making fly fishing lures. Below you can see a bunch before trimming. 

Below is a button after I have covered it and tightly wrapped the "shank" with thread. This method won't really work with thick fabrics because the shank becomes too wide and will pucker out the button holes.

I added fray-lock glue to the shanks and let them dry overnight.

Here is the button after the fray-lock dried and I cut off the excess fabric. The cool part about this method is that you can make the shanks as long or short as you want depending on the thickness of the garment you're making. Next I'm going to try handmade thread buttons (later).

Side view of finished button. I almost forgot to mention that if you want to get really fancy, you could embroider the fabric circles before making the button, like the put an initial on them or something ;)

All Finished! 

I didn't include step pictures of the welted pockets because there is nothing special about them. It's basically every tutorial you've seen on welted pockets.

**I took many pictures in different lighting to give an idea of the color. Also, I had to pad a female dress form to be more masculine, hence all the fabric strip you see. 

Tuesday, 21 April 2015

1795 Open Robe & Gown - Construction pt.II and Completion

Pattern: From Margot Hill, The Evolution of Fashion. 

There isn't much information to give on construction with this ensemble due to it being so simple. Unlike many open robes from that era, mine is a simple construction with a horizontal waist seam (as opposed to the more complex long seam styles with fold layer shoulders, etc. that were around then).

Currently being sold on ebay HERE

 Above, showing the silk facing being applied to the sleeves. Note on Sleeves: If you ever make this pattern, the sleeve runs large compared to the size of the rest of the garment. I highly recommend narrowing it and/or taking down the size of the shoulder puff.
 I did fittings for the open robe over the white dress, which makes sense since the one will be worn over the other. Here you see the robe bodice after I have basted the lining in.

 Above and below show the skirt being pleated to the bodice. I did even knife pleats. The original pattern calls for gathering, but silk taffeta is far too thick and "scrunchy" for gathers.

Complete Ensemble