Saturday, 7 June 2014

Finished waistcoat

After being away for a couple of days, a trip where I was once again just missing out on watching an exhibit with 18th and 19th century folk fashion in Norway but at least I got the program for the exhibit, it was time to finish the waistcoat.

I used four different kinds of  fabric for it. For the front piece I used a blue linen/viscose mix. For the backpiece and for the lining in front I used unbleached linen/viscose. I found a scrap piece of finer, and whiter, linen to make facings for the front and for the back lining I used a coarser unbleached linen. It is a bit of mix, and the different linings is because I simply didn't have enough of one fabric to make the lining, but it's historically accurate to mix and and use uglier fabrics where they can't be seen.

When starting I decided to make the whole garment by hand. Since it was only a total of five seams, and they were quite short, I felt that it would be a good way of getting more used to handsewing. I did use regular sewing thread and for the closure in the front I decided to use hook and eye tape, since I had that at home anyway.

I started with adding the hook and eye tape to the lining.
I then sewed the facing onto the lining. I followed the construction method as described in Costume Close-Up, where you sew the fabrics together by stacking the two outer fabrics and lining and joining them, and then using the remaining lining to cover the raw edges. I used backstitches for all the seams, and slipstitched the lining over the seams. On all the edges I turned the raw edges towards each other and slipstitched them in place.

Front outside

Front lining
side, outside

Side lining

Back, outside

Back, lining
Overall I am quite happy with it. The main issue is the fit in the front. I am not happy with the waist, or rather lack of waist definition there. Also the facing should have gone all the way around the neck, as it is now I don't think the unbleached lining will be visible since I will have both a coat and a fichu over it, but I am annoyed with it. I actually have less creases compared to what can be seen on the original fashion plates, and the back fits really well.

Just the facts:
Fabric: 1 m blue linen/viscose, 1 m unbleached linen viscose, 0,5 m bleached fine linen, 1 m unbleached linen
Pattern: Selfdrafted, after inspiration from the waistcoat on page 86 of Costume Close-up 
Year: 1788
Notions: regular sewing thread, hook and eye tape
How historically accurate is it? It's totally handsewn with almost accurate fabrics. The things that drags the accuracy down are the hook and eye tape and the small amounts of viscose in the fabrics. 85%
Hours to complete: Figuring out the pattern took a lot longer then I had expected. In all I worked a full week on this waistcoat.
First worn: For the photo above
Total cost:ca $30

What I learnt with this project
I managed to handsew the complete garment, which is a first for me. With the handsewing came the new techniques of attaching outer fabric and lining to each other piece by piece, rather than constructing two separate garments and then attaching them to each other. I can definitely see how you have more control with handsewing, but my stitches are a long way from being neat and uniform all over.

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