Saturday, 22 June 2013

Blueish-Grey And White Striped Waistcoat

 Hello! I am quite happy to be presenting my first ever regular clothes post.

For as long as I can remember I have been wearing the plainest clothes I could find. Plain, dark, solid coloured shirts and plain, dark, solid coloured pants. Almost all of them in knit fabrics. These were the most favorable options when all there was to choose from was either boring or ugly/indecent. But now that I can sew reasonably well, I can start putting together a wardrobe that I actually like, and start dressing the way I want to.

I want to dress sort of like a late 18th century or early 19th century man. Their clothes were all so fabulous.
For my first real everyday garment I have made a waistcoat.
 It is my fourth waistcoat. I may post about the first three later, under the title "Early Sewing Disasters". My pattern was loosely based off of Disaster Waistcoat #2, which was based off a very chopped up and mangled lab coat.
 It still needs some work. The seams that attach the back pieces to the side pieces either need to be moved further back or further forward. The top of that seam is at an awkward angle that puts a lot of extra bulk into the seam allowances.

My fabric was synthetic and stripey. It was from Mama's stash but she gave it to me a couple of years ago. I think it might have been a bribe to get me to do my homework or something.
 The wider stripes are plain weave, but the narrow ones are made of floats. The grey stripes look greenish in some lights, but they aren't.
I had a bit of trouble stiffening the lapels. I wasn't going to use fusible interfacing because I don't really like it, plus I only have small scraps of it. It probably wouldn't have been stiff enough for this waistcoat anyway.
I have no hair canvas and I do not know if Fabricville sells hair canvas. Even if they did I probably wouldn't buy any, for I am very low on cash at the moment. So I was left with whatever I could find in my stash. I found a drapery fabric that was sort of thick, a cotton polyester blend, and made a lot of pitiful pad-stitching.
The piece of "interfacing" that I wasted so much time on. There is another triangle of fabric over the lapel.
 The pad-stitching is pitiful because it hardly made a difference at all in the stiffness of the fabric. Mostly it just made it thicker, and left a discreet field of pockmarks on the underside of the lapel. I was disappointed, but not really surprised.
The lapels and collar still needed interfacing, so I washed and ironed a small portion of the cross stitch stuff that I used for the top of the silly hat. It shrank a surprising amount.
 I didn't make as many stitches because it was difficult to put the needle through this material. I was careful to hide any stitches among the floats in the narrow black stripes in every place except the underside of the lapels.
The collar with one layer of cross stitch fabric.
 Somehow the stripes on the collar matched up perfectly. The lapels weren't so lucky.
 The waistcoat is lined with polyester satin. I bought a great deal of it to use for various linings a year or so ago.
The waistcoat has six buttons, three of which are functional. They are plastic buttons that I covered with scraps of white silk leftover from the bow-loops on the silly hat.
Buttons being covered, the small circle on the left is to pad out the front slightly to help hide the hollow spot in the button.
 I really like these buttons, though they are more difficult to put through the button holes. The button holes are machine sewn because synthetics don't deserve hand sewn ones, especially when one has wasted so much time pretending to tailor lapels.
 Aside from the general inferiority of the materials, there were a few mistakes. Most notably where the topstitching sort of smeared the ends of the stripes at the top of the lapels(this can probably be attributed to the shiftiness of synthetic fabric).

But once it was finished, I discovered the strangest sewing mistake I have ever seen. On part of one of the shoulder seams the fabric appears to have been snagged a few millimeters out from the seam and sewn under. It creates the effect of a short section of piping.
Weird, isn't it?
 I haven't the faintest idea how it happened, but since it is remarkably neat and uniform for a sewing mistake, it doesn't really bother me.

Update: I found another strange mistake.
The collar is off center by about a centimeter. You can tell from the stripes. I don't know how this happened either, though it might have something to do with the placement of the lapel interfacing. It took quite a while to notice, so I guess it's not too bad.

Here is the waistcoat on me, along with The Cravat Of One Hans Pfaal, one of my fathers old shirts, and a pair of my awful knit pants. I really need to sew suitable replacement items, the shirt is far too wide and the collar is all wrong, and tucking in the shirt makes obvious shirt lines in these knitted pants.
 I like this waistcoat very much, even though the materials weren't great. Big buttons and big lapels are both features that I love. Speaking of big lapels, can you see the Count Olaf influence? He has a fabulous wardrobe, as many movie villains do, and the coat he wore in the scene where he is introduced inspired me to cut the lapels this way.
I tried to smile, but there was too much sun shining in my eyes.
 As you can see, I used the wrong side of the fabric for the back. For some reason waistcoats that have the same fabric on the front and back just look weird.
 I think wearing waistcoats will improve my posture. I am sitting up much straighter than I usually do because slumping in this thing causes awful wrinkles.
That's it for the waistcoat part of this post, here is where things stand on the Historical Sew Fortnightly:  I missed the Pretty Pretty Princesses challenge. I was going to make Ana de Mendoza's eyepatch, but I could not find any suitable cord. I'd still like to make it some day.

For the the next challenge, Lace & Lacings, I intend to knit a pair of lacy 1840's mitts. I decided upon this project 3 days ago, but have not yet started them. This is because, while looking for my fine yarn, I came across a piece of felt. In this piece of felt were several holes and three disgusting, brown, hairy larva. Oh crap.

I've spent the past two days going through everything in my room and looking for anything made of wool, fur or feathers. Thankfully there wasn't any moth activity anywhere else. But moths are not to be taken lightly. All my wool and fur things are now in a big black bag with a thing that puts off bug killing fumes. All my feathered hats are in a closet with another fume thingy, where they shall remain for the next few months.

At least it's summer, so it's okay that all the furry and wooly things are unavailable. And I am very glad that nothing else was eaten.
I know that this group of moths is an important part of decomposition because hair doesn't rot, but I still think they are EVIL!
 I now have eight days to knit a pair of lacy mitts. I think I can finish them on time, especially since lace knits up quickly. At least that's what I've heard. I've actually never knit anything lacy before, but I have knit other things, and the knitting books say that lace is relatively easy.

Have a good day, and remember to watch out for the moon, which is going to be closer to the earth than usual this weekend.
This isn't a full moon, but it does sort of resemble one.


  1. I think you did a great job, even with the struggle with the synthetic fabric. I haven't used fusible interfacing in ages (not that I'm that fond of it anyway), since I bought a huge roll of 5 yards of what I believe is sew-in interfacing from my local, creepy fabric warehouse for 3 dollars. I was suspicious with the bargain, and with the non-fusible aspect, and with the store in general, but many moons later it is my favorite thing to use! I even use it to drape patterns, to make toiles--it's great! And it offers such a comforting stiffness (:

    1. Thank you! I have been extremely suspicious of fusible interfacing ever since I tried to use a piece and it shrank on contact with the hot iron. Sew in interfacing is great, and it probably holds up to washing better.

      I am intrigued by the description of your local fabric warehouse, what makes it suspicious and creepy?

    2. Haha, well for starters, it's along a highway, in a cluster of old, grey decrepit warehouses. It doesn't even have a sign, just a painted tarp hanging over it's garage door with the words "FABRIC. No strollers" Inside, its got tables of fabrics sorted by type, and even a section that sells underwear, photo frames, and the kind of toys that come with a happy meal. The whole thing is grey and windowless, and you have to park several yards away by the Liquor Warehouse and then walk through several warehouses. Blech!

    3. That is really suspicious and creepy!

      What a weird thing to write on a sign. It doesn't sound like anyone would bring strollers there anyway.

    4. LOL it's only redeeming value is that from time to time I've found the perfect fabric that I need for like 2-4 dollars a yard. I just have to dig for it!

  2. Great job Mira. You amaze me with your sewing skills.

    Aww, those pesky moths, I hope that I never see one in my wool stash.


    1. Pesky is far to mild a word for moths. I hope you never see one (for one means there are likely more) in your wool stash either.