Wednesday, 18 June 2014

It's heavy, it's hot, it's a redingote

So the finishing stages of my revolutionary costume weren't that fun. I had everything so well planned, and then I ended up with a bad cold, and almost cut off a fingertip so the last days of working on the redingote I felt like crap, and it hurt to do much at all with my fingers. Still I had decided to have it finished by the 15th of June, and as you saw in my latest post I managed that.

For the redingote I had bougt 2 meters of red wool from The wool was cheap, but it was also very heavy and stiff. I had started to cut out all the pieces in the lining fabrics, the same blue and unbleached linen that I used for the waistcoat. When placing them on the fabric I realized that I had cut it quite close with just two meters, and I was glad that I had chosen a shortsleeved style. In the end I had to narrow down the gusset quite a lot to be able to fit everything on to the fabric.
I used modern construction techniques, constructing the lining and the outer layer separately before attaching them at the neck and I sewed everything on the machine. I slipstitched the lining to the outer fabric at the edges by hand, and where there were raw wool edges I kept them raw, since they don't unravel and a hem would be quite clumsy.

For the collar I wanted double collars, one long cape-like collar and one shorter. I started with just placing some scrap fabric on the finished coat where I wanted the collar to be, and then I simply cut until I was happy with the shape.
The finished pattern looked quite like a half circle with a cut off corner. I pieced together the collar from different scraps of fabric that were left.
The upper collar was simply the widest rectangle of fabric that I had left. I pinned it to the inside of the neck and just folded it in place.I cut it more rounded when it was in place.

The last things to add were the trim and the buttons. The trim is a polyester sweeper fringe, but it was the only one I could find in diferent colours that were quite close to the style of the original. For the buttons I wondered for a long time on what to use. On the original you can see what looks like big blue oval button. I first tried to find metallic buttons, thinking that the blue colour could be pewter or gunmetal. I only found very expensive 18th century reproductions, and since I already cheated in materials and construction I didn't want to spend too much on the buttons. In the end I decided to make my own fabric covered buttons.

As a base I used flat plastic shank button. I cut out a roundel of fabric. I then sewed a gathering stitch with buttonhole thread around the edges and pulled it. That encased the button and I tied the thread. With the wool fabric the roundel was a bit too big, so the backside was just as thick as the shank. These are only decorative buttons though, and in fact that was good since I could attach them in the fabric, rather than just through the shank. When I sewed the buttons on I used the gathering thread.

Plastic button, pattern for the fabric, back and front of the button.
This is the finished redingote, together with all the other pieces of the costume.

 Now I'm going to change the dressform to my sister's measurements and start working on her wedding gown so I'm not sure when I will make the next update on this blog, since the wedding gown will be secret until the wedding day in August.

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