There are a lot of 18th century portraits showing men in richly patterned waistcoats and plain coats, and the pine needles in this pattern match the green of my 1730's coat perfectly. I'd been planning on making a 1730's suit with these materials for a few years now and it's so good to finally do so!
The brocade is 68 cm from selvedge to selvedge, which is another thing that makes it much closer to 18th century silks than modern ones. The full piece was 3.93 metres, and I used about a metre and a half.
Historical Sew Monthly group informed me that it's a picked apart Maru Obi, and that this is the most formal and elaborate kind of obi. They said the staining and the very firm crease down the middle would indicate that it was worn and picked apart to be cut up and remade into other things, and that historically some fabrics like these came to Europe via Dutch merchants, which is very interesting!
They even suggested a website that sells old kimono and fabric, and there are tons of obi there in a very wide range of prices, so if you're looking for similar brocade then that's a good place to look! (Though I very much doubt you'd find enough for something big like a gown, since they're mostly old one-of-a-kind ones. Perfect for a waistcoat or jacket though!)
Searching "maru obi" on etsy also turns up a lot of similar ones, but they run much more expensive than a lot of the ones on Ichiroya.
|The back of the brocade.|
Pretty old, but not so old that I feel bad about cutting into it.
|Stiff, but not excessively so.|
|Italian, c. 1740-60, the Met.|
|Waistcoat part, c. 1726-1735, National Trust.|
In the part 1 post about my 1730's coat I mentioned lengthening my waistcoat pattern and lowering the pocket flaps. When it was time to finally make the waistcoat I mocked it up twice more and ended up moving the pocket flaps even lower. They should be about level with the coat pockets, and when I tried the coat on over the first mockup they weren't.
This waistcoat doesn't have sleeves, but I think I'll try doing a sleeved one next time.
|My finished pattern.|
|Starting to piece onto the back corner.|
the same cotton/silk blend I used for the coat lining.
I had a bit of an "aha!" moment while working on the coat when I realized that these fancy strips might actually show a little bit while you were moving, because the centre back edges of the coat skirts just butt up against each other, as opposed to the ones on later coats (like my 1790 one) which overlap.
|Waistcoat, 1747, The Met.|
an embroidered waistcoat, which I mean to finish sometime next year.) The back lining is brown linen.
|The pocket flap on my completed waistcoat.|
|Sleeved waistcoat, c. 1700's-20's|
(That's my best guess for the date. I wouldn't put it much later
because the pockets are very low.)
I marked out the location of the pockets on the wrong side of the fabric, and ended up trimming the buckram down a bit here to make room for the slits. I cut pocket bags from the same off-white silk taffeta as the front lining. I cut the slit in the usual shape - a long slightly curved cut with a short downwards cut in the middle.
|Pocket slit cut and edges pressed back.|
Pocket bag halves pinned to be sewn together.
|Pocket bags in!|
|Buttonholes worked, but unlined.|
I did the false buttonholes by just making buttonhole stitches on the surface of the fabric, and they're not bad but are a bit thicker than I'd like them to be.
Shortly after I finished all these buttonholes I came across Neal Hurst's tutorial for 18th century false buttonholes, which are nicer than mine, so I'll need to do some samples and practice that technique.
wooden moulds from Burnley & Trowbridge, covered them in cloth in the usual way, and sewed them on in the usual way with heavy linen thread.
(Link to the B&T tutorial for covering buttons.)
(Link to their tutorial for attaching buttons.)
|Buttons in progress.|
The pocket flaps are sewn down along the top edge, and about 2 cm down the sides to keep them lying nice and flat.
When I lined the functional buttonholes on the coat I pieced in all the lining bits around them edge to edge, but for this waistcoat I decided to copy the lining technique shown in WAISTCOATS: From the Hopkins Collection 1720-1950. I cut out the left front lining with a gap where the functional top 12 buttonholes would be, leaving a generous seam allowance on the long edge. I cut little rectangles from my silk scraps to fit in between them.
|The lining bits. The rectangles are a bit big and uneven, |
but I trimmed them down to size as I sewed them in.
I used fine white linen thread to put the lining in. One by one I folded in the edges of the rectangles and stitches them down right on the edges of the buttonholes with tiny whipstitches.
|This took forever.|
You can see the same technique in one of the photos of that extant waistcoat part, though sadly the picture isn't very clear.
|Waistcoat part, c. 1726-1735, National Trust.|
|Here's my finished lining next to the one in WAISTCOATS: From the Hopkins Collection.|
The one in the photo is dated c. 1725-40
I decided to add a piece of twill tape to the back of the neck area, to reinforce it. I don't know if this was done, but it seems a sensible thing to do, and I mean to open up this area on my coat and add a bit of tape there too, because the coat is heavy and it's pulling the top of the CB seam a bit more than I'd like.
|I folded down the ends of the tape and whipstitched them to the shoulder seam allowances.|
This will be hidden by the lining.
And in went the back lining, with little whipstitches, covering all the remaining raw edges and seam allowances.
|Part way through pinning the back lining in,|
Here it is over the shirt I made in February, and my everyday black cotton pants because this isn't a proper fancy photoshoot, just a few quick pictures to show what it looks like on me. Fancy Photoshoots will have to wait until after the breeches are done.
I really must get myself a good camera soon, now that I can't conveniently borrow my mothers'. Mine is old and terrible and has dirt mysteriously stuck in the lens.
|The back piecing.|
|Pocket flaps buttoned closed.|
|So many of my reference portraits are of guys sitting,|
so here's what the waistcoat looks like when I sit.
HSM challenge, which was "above the belt". Being slightly above knee length I had thought it was too long to be “above the belt”, but then I saw the inspiration post for November and saw that I was taking it a bit too literally, and that it’s ok if it hangs a bit below the waist as long as it's an upper body garment.
What the item is: A man’s waistcoat
How it fits the challenge: It’s worn on the upper body, so if there was a belt it would mostly be above it.
Material: About a metre and a half of vintage Japanese silk brocade (which is less than it sounds, the fabric is very narrow), some brown linen for the back lining, off-white silk taffeta for the front lining, and cotton/silk blend satin for most of the back.
Pattern: My own.
Year: c. 1730’s
Notions: 25 wooden button blanks, silk thread and linen thread (two different weights of each), and two different weights of linen that I stiffened for buckram, about 10 cm of cotton twill tape.
How historically accurate is it? Very. It’s entirely hand sewn, and the construction methods are accurate to the best of my knowledge. Aside from some nitpicky little things like the cotton/silk blend-y-ness of the back satin, and the inaccurate fabric stiffener, the materials are accurate.
Hours to complete: 61
First worn: Saturday November 30th very late at night, just for a couple of crappy mirror photos.
Total cost: Approximately $35 Canadian BUT only because the brocade and the linen were given to me, as was most of the thread.
And now, detail shots!
|I took a lot of closeups of the pretty pretty fabric.|
|Oh.. I just realized this button looks like a shooting star!|
That was completely unintentional.
|One of the false buttonholes.|
|One of the functional buttonholes.|
|A bit of water damage on one of the edges.|
This doesn't show at all under the coat.
|And the piecing on the opposite edge.|
|I'm rather proud of that little angled seam!|
|The lower back, with its fancy added strips.|
The one on the left of this photo is pieced too.
|Two bits of piecing on this shoulder.|
A bit one on the lower corner, and a teeny tiny one on the opposite corner.
|The back lining is pieced in two places too.|
|The corners on the front and back, as seen from the inside.|
|More piecing on the front lining!|
Have I mentioned that I love piecing?
|And a closeup of the inside view of the side seam.|
Overall I'm very pleased with how this turned out, and look forward to seeing the finished suit all together.
The 1730's breeches are not going to be finished before the new year, but at least I've started the patterning and finally dyed the wool!