I take some fabric stiffener and pour a bit of it into a suitable plastic vessel and add about twice as much water. I just use the fabric stiffener that my mother has in her studio, and there is one bottle that's "Eileen's" and one that's "Stiffy" if the brands make any difference.
As far as I can tell they're more or less the same goop, and judging from the smell and texture it's very similar if not identical to white glue. Not historically accurate, but it's something that's already in the house, and as long as my buckram is sufficiently stiff I don't think it really makes a difference what exactly it's stiffened with.
(If you want to read more about historical options I highly recommend this post. Great comparisons, including video clips of how the buckram moves.)
So, anyways, about 2 parts water and 1 part fabric stiffener. I don't measure it and it always turns out fine. I iron my selected fabric. (Worn out linens are a historically accurate option, and a good use for shirts when they get too full of holes to wear, but sometimes I'll use washed cotton muslin.)
I cut out a piece of fabric just big enough for all my interfacing pieces to fit on and I put it on a smooth surface. I have a (not attached to a window frame) windowpane I like to use, but that's at my parents' house so here I'm using a mirror. If the buckram needs to be really big, like it did for my 30's coat, I'll put it on top of the laminated worktable.
Ok, that's all I have to say about how I do buckram! Now onto the sewing.
Last December when I ordered some obi silk one of the ones I got was this nice dark brown and gold brocade. It has a very small pattern of ovals with tiny little stylized animals in them.
Like these two:
|1786–90, British, The Met.|
Check out the fun art deco-esque border design!
|1785-89, French, Les Arts Decoratifs.|
There's also this one, this one, this one, this one, this one, this one, and this one. (That last one is featured in Costume Close Up.)
They would have cut the fronts so the decorative border would be right along the edges, and then carefully cut and stitched bits of it onto the other edges. Since mine was just a tiny bit of stripeyness on one end of a 68 cm wide piece of fabric, I couldn't do that, but I did have just enough to do the pocket welts, the collar, and the lapels.
For this waistcoat I used the same pattern as the yellow striped one.
|Pocket welts cut out, interfacing being added.|
Construction-wise it's pretty similar to the yellow striped waistcoat made from the same pattern.
|Lining the pocket welts.|
|I strategically trimmed away a bit of the edge so the seam allowances would be small.|
|The finished facings. |
The pieced one is on the left.
I put in the pockets in the usual way. Cutting a slit, turning the edges under, and stitching the pocket bag to it. Pocket welts are carefully stab stitched on top.
just as described in my 1730's breeches post, and then made teeny little death's head buttons with 12 mm bone moulds from Burnley & Trowbridge. I used DMC cotton pearl for these, in dark brown and golden yellow, and used the brown for the buttonholes too. I left the lining of the button side until after the buttons were sewn on.
The waistcoat is lined with the same cotton damask remnant as the aforementioned 1730's breeches, and I sewed it to the front along the front edge, and then the armhole.
a waistcoat with a pieced linen back, and I loved it so much I decided to do it again. (And will likely do more, as I still have a lot of linen scraps.)
I sewed a bunch of scraps together with backstitch. I could have done more machine sewing on this waistcoat, but I just didn't feel like it. At one point I sewed a scrap to the wrong side, and am posting that picture here because I think it's important that we remind each other that we all make sewing mistakes.
Didn't take too long to pick this off and re-sew it.
previous waistcoat I made from this pattern I complained of the wrinkling in the shoulders, so for this one I basted the shoulder seams and basted the collar in to check the fit before sewing them. I fussed around with the shoulders a lot but it didn't seem to help. The shoulders on this one are less wrinkly than the last, but it's only because the fabric is stiffer.
I went and had another look at pictures of extant waistcoats, and it turns out there's a fair amount of variation in the shoulder seam placement. On earlier waistcoats they're typically pretty far back, but on these collared ones some have the seam right on top of the shoulder, or even slightly in front.
I've adjusted the shoulder seam on my pattern so it's on top of my shoulder, which I think will fix the wrinkle problem. I'll see next time I sew it up.
Since this is mostly scraps and re-used material, I submitted it to the Historical Sew Monthly for the Re-Use challenge.
The darker brown linen on the back is partly from some strips of fabric someone gave me that had been part of an art installation, and I think the lighter bits are from a piece of linen my grandmother found in a thrift store. There are a few tiny little scraps of some nice brown ribbed silk that are from an old drapery sample book someone gave me. The lining is a remnant of very nice bedsheet cotton I got from a fabric donation at school.
I also saved some of the thread when I picked the obi apart. It was partly sewn with running backstitch, but there were also some long areas of running stitches in heavy brown silk thread that was still in pretty good condition. I was able to pull some of it out without ruining it, and re-used it all in various parts of the waistcoat.
What the item is: A man’s waistcoat.
How it fits the challenge: The main fabric is silk from a somewhat worn old obi, the back and interfacing are all scraps, and I even re-used some thread.
Material: Heavy dark brown/gold silk brocade, dark brown cotton damask, brown linen, one teensy bit of brown ribbed silk from a drapery sample.
Pattern: Drafted by me.
Year: c. 1790’s
Notions: 9 bone button blanks, silk thread, linen thread, cotton thread, linen buckram.
How historically accurate is it? Pretty good, I think! It’s hand sewn everywhere except for the centre back of the lining, the cut and look are pretty accurate, and the techniques are too to the best of my knowledge. Materials are mostly accurate, aside from the DMC cotton pearl I used for the buttons & holes, and the cotton bedsheet damask lining.
Hours to complete: 40
First worn: April 3rd, 2020
Total cost: Less than CA$20, though I’m not sure how much exactly. I bought the obi, the button moulds, and most of the thread, but the rest was given to me. The obi cost very little and I only used a fraction of it.