Saturday, 25 January 2014

Fur Trimmed Waistcoat, Finished

It's finished! 9 days late, but finished.
As sewing projects go, this one was particularly frustrating.
In the last post on this, I was in the process of attaching the pockets. I stitched through both the welt and the pocket bag with a stab stitch.
The front half of the pocket bag sewn to the waistcoat.
I cut the wool under the welt at an angle, going as close to the corners as I could.
The back of the pocket, just before turning it to the inside.

The pocket after being turned to the inside.
I sewed down the ends of the welt with more stab-stitching.
The ends of the welt after being sewn down.

The second half of the pocket bag, pinned on.
I sewed the second  half of the pocket flap onto the wool bits at the top with a stab-stitch, and onto the rest of the pocket bag with a double row of running stitches.
The completed pocket, from the inside.
The fabric is sturdy, so hopefully this will not wear through. I hate it when clothing manufacturers use thin, cheap material for pockets and they wear out before the rest of the garment.
The finished pocket from the outside. There is a bit of a gap, but the fur hides it.
It was only after the second pocket was nearly complete that I realized the welts were a stupid waste of time. These pockets are right on a seam. There was no need for welts. I could have just sewn the pocket bag to the seam. The welts did nothing more than add a lot of bulk. What was I thinking?
It was too late by that point. I suppose I could have re-cut the bottoms from the sleeves of the coats, but that would waste even more time and wasn't really worth it.
I folded all the edges in and whip stitched them down. I did the same to the seam allowances, because they would not lie flat, and I didn't want lumpy seams.
I pad stitched the interfacing to the lining.
I don't know what the accurate method of interfacing waistcoats is, but I think now that they used fewer stitches. I don't recall having seen an extant waistcoat that was so pockmarked on the inside.
This picture doesn't show the pockmarks very well.
I sewed the lining together with a running stitch, leaving the shoulder seams open.
I pinned the lining in all at once, with the edges tucked in.
I whip stitched the edges, and sewed up the shoulder seams with a ladder stitch.
I did it this way because I didn't want the armholes to be the wrong size and mess up the way the whole lining fit into the waistcoat.
I was about halfway through stitching the lining in when I realized that the hideous pink wool I had made the back from was dyeable. Why did I not think of this sooner? I have dyed wool before.
I finished putting the lining in, and dunked the waistcoat in a pot of red dye. I tried to keep the front out of the pot, so that the back would soak up most of the dye.
It came out a decent shade of red, though I think there are a few bits of some other fiber in there, since some of the hairs are still white.
The dyed back against the original colour.
I had machine washed the wool before starting, so all the hot water didn't affect it much. It just made the pockets a bit wrinkled.
The middle buttonhole is half finished.
The buttonholes came out looking rather sad. It's hard to get nice looking buttonholes in thick, fuzzy material.
The 12 buttons I used were originally from my Grandma's stash. They have brown metal frames and fabric covered centres. There were bits of thread indicating that they had been previously used, so they also count as make do!
Since the fabric is very thick, I made little wrapped thread shanks. (This is actually in the wrong order, I made the buttonholes before attaching the buttons, as one does.)
After attaching the fur to the front edge of the buttonhole side, I secured the fur around the buttonholes. I marked them one at a time, cut around the buttonhole marks, and sewed the fur to the edges of the buttonholes.
It was horrible, until I clued into the fact that beeswax is sticky and was causing more trouble than it was worth by sticking to the fur. I stopped waxing my thread, and it was much better after that.
I also found this great little wire rake in my box of inherited sewing tools. It really helped move the hairs out of the way.
It is marked "Fuller".
All the fur is attached with whip-stitching.
I only put fur down one side of the front, unlike the one in the fashion plate, which has two distinct strips of fur. (Similarly, the feathered trim on this waistcoat is also in two strips, with buttons on one side.)
It took a lot of effort to not toss this thing on the UFO pile. The fur was frustrating to work with and there were three moments of "Arrg, what was I thinking?", which is quite a high number for a single project.
I like this waistcoat. It's very warm, and the fur hides the buttons almost entirely.
I really need to make some shirts. This one is far too modern, besides being nearly worn out.
You may have noticed that my hair is no longer down to my butt. I got 12 inches of it cut off. This was my first haircut in over a decade and I like it much better this way.
It's not the most flattering of garments on it's own, being made of bulky wool with straight seams and two big horizontal stripes, but it looks good when worn with a coat.
I attempted to copy the pose of the fashion plate guy, but the angle was wrong. (I am putting the fashion plate information here because the pictures won't stay side by side if they have captions- Magasin des Modes, February, 1788- Source.)
The breeches I'm wearing are actually cut off corduroy pants, and the coat is one I've had for years, so it doesn't have the right cut at all.

The Challenge: #1, Make Do & Mend
Fabric: Red wool from a second hand coat, pink (but not anymore) wool from a blanket, Brown linen.
Pattern: Drafted by me.
Year: 1788
Notions: An unidentified fur object, a bit of hair canvas, 12 metal & fabric buttons, thread(cotton, linen and polyester).
How historically accurate is it? Fairly accurate. The wool, linen and fur are pretty accurate (aside from all the little serger seams on the fur). The buttons and some of the threads aren't. I guessed at the construction, but I think it's mostly accurate.
Hours to complete: 52:42
First worn: Friday, January 24th, 2014
Total cost: The hair canvas was the only thing I bought, and it probably works out to a few cents because I used so little.

There isn't very much snow at the moment. We had two feet a few weeks ago, but it got rained on.


  1. Yea... you got it done, you made do and mended. I love the pose.

  2. Looks great! The ensemble really stands out. :)

  3. What a good post! Lots of good, close up photos and information about which stitches you used. Natalie

  4. The brush is marked "Fuller" because it was made by the famous "Fuller Brush Company". They were very well known back in the old days because they had door-to-door salesmen. Every town had a "Fuller Brush Man". They even made a movie by that name, and the expression "Fuller Brush Man" (in quotes) gets 720,000 hits on Google. A commercial icon in post-WWII America. When I was a kid my barber was the local FBM. I bet we have more Fuller brushes around, if we were to check the names.

  5. This is really, really cool! I love that you make garments that so few other historical costumers have made

    1. Thank you! I love making them. Things that I can't find any research on are fun puzzles.