Wednesday, 4 September 2013

Black Linen Waistcoat

Last weeks sewing schedule did not go as planned at all. I had been working on a shirt pattern and preparing to make another petticoat (in order to do a proper photoshoot for my jacket I need another white petticoat to wear under the scalloped one so the blue one doesn't show through).
Unfortunately, I was dragged off to the cottage again and so had to work on a hand sewing project. (I know it's horrible to complain about one's vacation accommodations but there is no room to sew there.) That is why there was no post last week.

The project I brought was a waistcoat that I started for the Lace and Lacings challenge but didn't finish on time.

My inspiration was this lovely waistcoat from Sweeney Todd.
(I can't remember where I found this image. I tried to track it down but the only place I could find it was on tumblr. I hate leaving "source" links to tumblr.
Do any of you happen to know where the original source is?)
Update: Here it is!

I know it's not historically accurate but I love the cut of this waistcoat. I tried to find historical evidence of something close to this design, but didn't come up with much.
The closest extant waistcoat I have found is this one from All the Pretty Dresses. The cut isn't quite the same but it is velvet and double breasted.

All the Pretty Dresses has got quite a few posts on waistcoats and all of the early 19th century men's waistcoats have some kind of fastening in the back to give it more shape.
At least one of the waistcoats that Sweeney wore in the movie had a small bit of lacing at the back (His jacket had one too, you can see a picture in this article.) This regency waistcoat also has one.

Purple velvet Regency waistcoat. (source)
All of the extant waistcoats appear to have seams only on the sides and centre back. Most of them also have 3 pockets.
Here is a very quick sketch of what my waistcoat should look like.

I'm not sure how plausible the design is, but I plan on wearing it as part of my regular wardrobe so accuracy is not a huge concern.

My pattern, before shoulder adjustments.
 I used the pattern for the striped waistcoat to get the pattern for this one. I got rid of the seam in the front, straightened out the other two and trimmed a bit off the lapels and collar.
The front of the waistcoat is black linen and the back is cream coloured linen. The pieces are whip-stitched together. The lining is off white linen and is sewn together in the same way. It's assembled but not pictured here.

The white thread is linen and the black thread is cotton.
 After sewing the outside panels together and trying them on, I saw that the front piece did not extend far enough up the shoulder. The cream coloured fabric of the back could be seen clearly from the front. I removed the tops of the two back pieces and replaced them with pieces of black linen.
I think I may have overcompensated.

The piece on the left is fixed and the piece on the right is not.
 I interfaced the lapels and collar with cotton canvas.

 I put herringbone stitching around the edge of the interfacing in the hopes that it would help prevent fraying.

 I didn't do this to the collar interfacing because I sewed the collar much earlier and it hadn't occurred to me to do herringbone stitching yet.

The stitching holding the collar interfacing on.
 The collar pieces are sewn together with a running stitch. The topstitching is also a running stitch, but a very careful one.

The inside of the finished collar. The white mark is an "I" for "inside".
 I have marked out the placement of the pockets, but this is as far as I've gotten. I have never made welt pockets before so I'll have to try one out on a scrap before I go any further.
The locations of the two pockets on the left side of the waistcoat.
That's all I have to post at the moment. I have finished the shirt pattern and will hopefully be making a shirt from it soon. I've just started school this week though, so I don't have quite as much time to spend on my own projects.


  1. Mouse Borg
    That Depp/Carter image can be sourced here:

    There is another view of the same outfits at:

    I captured large versions of both images, if you want them to see more detail.

    1. Thank you Papa!
      The first link didn't work when I tried it because you put a period at the end. After I removed the extra dot it worked. You really must proofread before you hit "publish".

      I have updated the post and replaced the picture with the higher resolution one. I had the second image saved on the computer already but didn't post it because it doesn't show any more construction details than the first.

  2. Your hand-stitching is really quite beautiful (I've noticed it on your other projects too, of course, but it stands out so wonderfully here). And, beware of welt pockets - they are evil (but they do look so awesome one they're done). Good luck!

    1. Thank you! I have heard that welt pockets are evil, and from the instructions they certainly do look tricky. Since I'm sewing them by hand though I don't think these ones will be quite as bad as machine sewn ones.

  3. You will be doing a welt pocket as part of one of your sewing classes. I took the class a number of years ago and have my samples and notes but you may want to wait for proper instruction for this one. If I can do it, I know that YOU can!