Saturday, 28 April 2018

Extremely Stripey Breeches

Several weeks ago I made a pair of striped breeches with the same cotton I used for my striped waistcoat. I have many complaints about them.
They're lined in plain white cotton, because anything dark might show through the white stripes. The kneebands are lined in cotton twill, rather than being folded in half lengthwise, and I realize now that I should have been doing this on all my earlier kneebands.
The gap at the back has a small triangle of fine black cotton, and another one of those shoelaces.
The waistband is lined in the same off-white twill as the kneebands. The waistband buttons are some sort of white material with metal shanks, while the ones on the knee are 3/8" bone molds covered in fine black cotton.
The buttonholes are by machine, as is most of the sewing, because the materials are neither good quality nor well-suited to breeches. They took a grand total of 20 hours and 39 minutes.

I wanted to try doing ties on the knee instead of a buckle, but sadly the best thing I could find in my stash for this was terrible cheap satin ribbon, which very much needs to be replaced because it's slippery as hell and WILL NOT tie tightly enough. Next time I'm at the fabric store I'll look for grosgrain or cord or something.

The good news is that the crappy ties can be easily replaced! I attached them by poking two holes with an awl and threading the ribbon through, then secured them with some whipstitching on the backside between the two holes.
I can see by where the buttons ended up that I still need to taper my pattern more.
Another big complaint is that the stripes don't go straight down, they bend. The outseam needs to be taken in a bit by the knee, and the inseam needs taking in a bit lower. I really should do this so I can make the appropriate adjustments to my pattern, but I'm not sure when I will as it's sure to be a big pain in the butt.
They look wonky from the back too.
At least they look okay from the side! Paired with the striped waistcoat they're a bit much, but I like the way they look with my grey wool waistcoat.

I'll hopefully do the alterations on them sometime soonish...

Sunday, 22 April 2018

Linen indoor cap #2, and a bit more about my job

 Dear me, I am behind on posting again. I finished this cap at the end of March, and it's taken me 3 weeks to post it! I have another pair of breeches to post too.

This linen indoor cap is very similar to the other one I made, but with the addition of a ruffle.
Instead of hemming the bottom edge I attached another strip of fabric to it with a flat felled seam. I was hoping to get the look of the one in this 1792 William Cowper portrait, but my ruffle sits pretty flat against my head. I think I'd need a stiffer linen for that.
Although I cut the cap to the same width as my other one, it somehow turned out a bit too loose. I added a drawstring to the channel made by the flat felled seam to tighten it up just a smidge. This makes it a bit less comfortable than my other cap, but not too bad.
This same detail appears in the extant cap belonging to William Cowper.
While I am late posting this cap here, I did submit it to the Historical Sew Monthly on time!
The challenge: #3, Comfort at home
What the item is: A man's indoor cap
Material: Linen
Pattern: None
Year: Second half of 18th century
Notions: Silk thread, small piece of cotton cord, polyester satin ribbon
How historically accurate is it? Maybe 80 or 90%? I had very little reference material, but it's so simple I doubt it can be very far off. It's all hand sewn. The ribbon is definitely wrong, but I'll replace it when I get some better stuff.
Hours to complete: 5
First worn: March 31st, 2018
Total cost: No idea, I forget where this particular piece of linen came from. Very few dollars.

Since I have so few photos, and so little to say about the cap, I thought I'd use the rest of this post to talk a bit about my job.

It's at a local tailor's shop and I have worked there for 5 weeks so far. We make a lot of military messkits and police tunics. My tasks consist mostly of cutting linings (and interfacing and cuffs and facings and epaulettes), sticking on interfacing, sewing darts and back seams, and basting things for first fittings.
Here are some photos:
The table where I cut linings.

The shelf where the military buttons and whatnot are kept.
I've been getting along quite well with the cutter, who works across the table from me and cuts out most everything besides linings.
Here's a lovely fish we made to decorate this bulletin board with:
He's the scrap from in between 2 jacket side pieces.
And our other fish, which I brought in to spruce up this dusty vase that was on the shelf for no apparent reason:
She's in two halves, with magnets!
Here is the magical machine that sticks fusible interfacing on:
You press it on lightly with the iron, then feed it through the hot rollers!
Never have I seen interfacing so thoroughly and evenly stuck!
And here's the expectant mother pigeon who lives above the front door:
That's all for now, I hope to post my breeches soon!

Monday, 2 April 2018

Grey wool waistcoat

3 months ago I made a pair of breeches with some pieces of wool from a pair of old pants, and a bit of similar wool from a skirt. I covered some buttons in the breeches fabric, then decided to use contrasting ones. I said I'd use the rejected buttons on a waistcoat made from the leftover skirt fabric, and here it is!
It's the same pattern as my striped waistcoat, but with lapels and a slightly different collar.
I finished it 2 weeks ago, but I also started a full time job 2 weeks ago, so have been very busy and haven't had time to write this post.
My new job is at a tailor's shop, and I've been cutting a lot of linings and sticking on a lot of fusible interfacing. I feel very fortunate to have a job that involves sewing!
My boss told me very firmly that I cannot hand sew without a thimble, so I did more hand sewing than necessary in order to practice.
This waistcoat is about half machine sewn and half hand sewn, and it took a total of 23 hours.
It's lined with the same blue cotton as the breeches, and interfaced with some very sad and limp hair canvas I got at fabricville years ago.

The wool is pieced on both shoulders, and on one side just under the armhole.

Like the striped waistcoat, it has an annoying wrinkle at the shoulder and I don't know what's causing it. I really should have investigated this on the mockup before I made the waistcoat. I hope I can fix it without removing the collar.

I'm also a bit annoyed by how much my weight is fluctuating. When I made this pattern I had to curve the front edges outward a bit so they'd fit smoothly, but now it's considerably looser there and I'll have to straighten the front edges a bit on my next waistcoat.
Here's a picture of the waistcoat being worn with the breeches, but the snow is so bright they both look black.

This photo shows the two different shades of wool much better.
I like the fact that the unpicked wool bits were given to me by my grandmother, and the blue cotton lining came from the stash of my other grandmother.