Tuesday, 15 October 2019

Yellow Striped Waistcoat

I made another waistcoat! I finished this one on September 22nd and am mostly happy with how it turned out, though the wrinkled shoulders do vex me.
It's made from a striped silk taffeta I bought in Ottawa in the spring of 2018 (on a road trip that I still need to post about...). It's the same stuff I used for part of the lining of my bright green waistcoat.
I'd only made two collared late 18th century waistcoats before and wasn't happy with the fit of either of them, so I drafted a new pattern for this one. It's better but I still need to tweak it a bit.
I'm currently working on an embroidered waistcoat that's the same pattern shape, so this one was sort of a trial run, since I hadn't sewn one of these with historically accurate construction methods before.
Those other two waistcoats both have little vents in the back and side seams, but most of the extant waistcoats with this cut don't have those, so I made this one closed all around on the bottom edge. I based the pattern somewhat on the one in The Cut of Men's Clothes, but I had to make mine much curvier to fit around my hips.

I pieced the back out of 6 scraps of brown linen. One of these seams is two selvedges butted together and whipstitched, because this linen had nice firm selvedges. You can just barely see it on the left side of this photo.
(I also pieced a little bit of different linen to the topmost corner of each of the silk fronts, to make the cutting layout more efficient. This was not at all necessary, I just really like piecing and saving on fabric.)
All the seams in this photo are hand sewn, just because.
For the buckram interfacing I stiffened some cotton muslin. The lining is a pale green cotton sateen that I got at the fabric swap in January.
I hadn't done waistcoat pocket welts using the 18th century method before, but it turned out to be very easy. As with with bigger pocket flaps, you line them first and then just stick them on.
My welts. I folded the edges in around the buckram and
hand stitched the lining on the back.
The pocket bags are the same green cotton as the lining, and the openings are reinforced with another bit of buckram.
There are only 3 machine sewn seams in this waistcoat - the pocket bags and the centre back of the lining.
I cut a slit, turned back the edges, and whipstitched the pockets in.

Attaching the pocket welt.
It's so much easier to line up stripes this way!

For the collar I used two pieces of silk for the front edge, and another scrap of linen for the centre back. I folded the edges in around a piece of buckram and lined the collar in 6 silk scraps.
I hand sewed all the scraps on one at a time.

The inside of the finished collar.
I cut little facing bits for the lapels and stitched them down to the green cotton lining.

The one other time I made a waistcoat with these little lapels I was very confused as to how they were stiffened, but I have since obtained a copy of Costume Close Up, and learned that the lapels aren't stiffened at all! The buckram on this style of waistcoat stops just above where the buttons end.

I wasn't sure how exactly the buckram was supposed to be attached with this sort of waistcoat, so I tried tacking it to the lining this time instead. It worked well enough but I don't think I'll do it that way again, as it made the lining a little bit awkward to sew in along the front edge.
Front lining with the buckram about to be stitched into place.
As far as I can tell from photos, I think the front lining is sewn on just the same as it is on earlier waistcoats, but a bit more carefully around the lapel. I used off-white silk thread for this.
It was a bit fussy to press the edges in so the lining and outer fabric were the same size.
Edges all pressed in and lined up nicely.

I sewed the lapels carefully, with tiny stitches.
The rest of the edge was done with le point a rabattre sous la main, as usual.
I was so economical with my cutting and piecing that I didn't have enough scraps to cover my buttons. There were a few more little ones that hadn't made it into the collar lining, but I ruined those with a lot of pen markings doing samples for another thing, and they probably wouldn't have been sufficient to cover all 8 buttons anyway.

I could easily have cut button covers from my remaining yardage (I have about a meter and a half left) but I decided to try teeny tiny matching deaths head buttons instead. I used the second smallest bone moulds from Burnley & Trowbridge, and the finished buttons are about 12mm.
I covered them with fine linen yarn from my mothers stash, in off-white and pale yellow.
They were quick to cover, and not difficult to do, but holding onto them did cause some finger cramps.
My tiny buttons with subtle X's on them.
I think I was inspired by the little deaths head buttons that appear on several of the waistcoats in Waistcoats From the Hopkins Collection.
The waistcoat on this page was dated c. 1800-1805, but there were very similar buttons on an earlier waistcoat.
I sewed the buttonholes through all the layers, after lining the fronts. I felt like this made more sense for this style of waistcoat than the usual earlier method, and photos of the inside of two different waistcoats from the aforementioned book show buttonholes sewn through all the layers.
They're sewn by hand with yellow DMC cotton pearl.

The outside of the fronts.

And the inside.

I backstitched the side and shoulder seams with linen thread.
I pinned the collar in place, basted it in with a running stitch just to be sure it was sitting correctly, and then backstitched it in.
I folded the neckhole bit of the front lining carefully over the collar seam, stitched it down, and popped in the back lining last, as usual.

Finished! In pretty good time too. I can't remember exactly when I started it but I think I did it within the space of about 3 or 4 weeks.

That slight wobbliness along the front edge is why I'm not
going to try tacking the interfacing to the lining again.
I hadn't started this with the Historical Sew Monthly in mind, but seeing as it's fairly plain I decided it worked for September's "Everyday" theme.

What the item is: A man’s waistcoat

How it fits the challenge: It’s pretty plain and informal, and I do intend to wear it for everyday.

Material: Silk taffeta striped in dull yellow, beige, and off white, brown linen for the back, pale green cotton sateen for the lining, and two different silk scraps that were used in the collar lining.

Pattern: My own, based mostly on photos of extant originals.

Year: c. 1785-95

Notions: Eight 11mm bone button moulds, muslin I made buckram from, DMC cotton pearl for the buttonholes, silk thread, linen thread, fine linen yarn.

How historically accurate is it? Pretty good! It’s hand sewn except for 3 seams (the pocket bags, and the CB seam of the lining), I think I got the cut pretty good, and the materials are mostly accurate except for the lining. All the piecing makes it more historical too.

Hours to complete: 25:19 - less than I expected!

First worn: September 22nd, 2019

Total cost: I bought the button blanks, the silk, and some of the thread. The lining was from a fabric swap and everything else was given to me. I used so little of the silk that I doubt the whole thing came to any more than $20 Canadian.
I took these photos with a self timer in the old house I was doing an artist residency in last month. It was a nice, quiet time and I got a lot done on the embroidered waistcoat I mentioned earlier.
I will have to make some changes to this pattern before I sew it up again, particularly the shoulders. Since I drafted a whole new pattern mainly because I was annoyed by the wrinkled shoulders of my previous waistcoats, it was disappointing to have them turn out wrinkly again.
I think I need to scoop out the side of the neckhole a bit more, and to not make the shoulder seam straight. It ought to fit the shape of my shoulders better, I think. Next time I should try adding a little triangle insert piece like you see on so many extant waistcoats. I'll also change the centre back of the collar so it's tapered just a little more, as I think it sticks out from my neck the tiniest bit too much.

Here it is with a coat I finished in August but still haven't blogged about yet.
But I just got some good photos of the coat this weekend, so I will post about it soon!

(I am now working on the waistcoat for my 1730's suit, but still haven't started the breeches.)