Monday, 29 August 2016

Toile Pockets

I had hoped to be posting about my embroidered waistcoat by now, but it's still not finished (does anybody know the proper way to attach the interfacing and line the fronts? Please help!!), so this post on pockets will have to do for now.
It has birds on it! Though the lack of contrast doesn't photograph well.
I've had this smallish piece of light brown cotton toile for quite a while, and pockets seemed like the best thing to make with it. I don't actually have a use for pockets, but they aren't a very big project so that's okay. Perhaps I can make some wizard robes or something to wear them under.
I only managed to get one bird on my pockets, but it's whole and mostly right-side-up.
I drew up a pattern based on this pair from the MFA, and cut it out twice in the toile and four times in a soft canvas. (Soft because it has been washed a lot, I think.) Since the materials aren't quite nice or accurate enough to warrant 100% hand sewing, I stitched the toile layer to the front piece of canvas by machine. I drew a 20 cm line down from the centre top for the slit and sewed around that as well. I cut down the line and bias bound the edges.

I didn't want to cut a big diagonal chunk off any of my nice linen, so I made the bias tape out of a rather thick and slubby cotton, which was a bit of a pain to sew through. I'm also not sure stab stitching it on through both layers was the best idea, because it came out slightly wobbly and I stabbed my finger a fair amount. All the hand sewing is in linen thread, and the machine seams are polyester. (Horrible, yes, but it's all covered up.)
I had to join 2 strips together because the piece of cotton whatever wasn't very big.
 It's whipstitched because machine sewing might show.

I machine sewed the front piece to the back piece of canvas, and bound the long edges with more of the cotton tape. This time I stab stitched only the front edge on, and folded the other edge to the back and whipstitched it, which was a lot faster and less frustrating.
Front edge.
Back edge.

I hemmed the ends of a piece of cotton twill tape, whipstitched it to the tops of the pockets with some stabbing at the ends for strength, and they were done!

Apologies for the terrible lighting.

And all in less than 3 days, which is impressive for one so easily distracted as me. The reason I decided to make these now is because I haven't done a Historical Sew Monthly challenge all year, and since I couldn't get my waistcoat done for the Pattern challenge I wanted to have something. So, the facts:

The Challenge: #8 - Pattern

Materials: Cotton toile, cotton canvas, cotton something that I don't know the name of.

Pattern: Drafted by me.

Year: I think they'd work for any decade in the 18th century.

Notions: Cotton twill tape, linen thread, polyester thread.

How historically accurate is it? Ehhh, 70% maybe? I don't think the materials are too bad (except for the polyester thread used for the machine stitching) but linen would be better than cotton. The construction is pretty accurate except for the machine stitching, but it's all covered up by the binding so it doesn't affect the look.

Hours to complete: 11:08

First worn: Monday, August 29th, 2016, for pictures.

Total cost: $ 0. Everything was stash materials.

They're so huge I could fit a whole day's worth of food in them!
As long as I'm posting about pockets I suppose I should mention the other two pairs of pockets I've started, one of which I intend to finish.
Some time ago I began painting a copy of the blue flower pattern from my inspiration pockets, because I really like that fabric, but I decided it wasn't worth the time for something I wasn't going to wear
Lovely blue floral printed 18th century pockets. (Source)

I'm quite happy with the part I did paint, and plan to finish up the edges and use it for a needle case or something. The cotton ticking it's painted on would be excellent for a needle case.
Very nice. Very tedious.
It's mostly dry-brushed in fabric printing ink, which dries annoyingly quickly and so isn't very well suited to that method.
I want to do SO MUCH MORE fabric painting! But on things I will actually wear, like waistcoats.

I don't know if anyone will remember this, but my very first blog post here was about a pair of unfinished embroidered pockets. I started them in 2012, and still haven't finished them, but I will eventually, and having made this practice pair of pockets I will now be less nervous about sewing them up. I actually worked on them this summer, and they're currently this far along:
Wow, this picture looks terrible.
 Once again, does anybody have advice or useful links on interfacing 18th century waistcoats? The 18th century tailoring instructions I've found are rather vague. I've got a layer of linen and a layer of hair canvas carefully tacked all over to the backing linen on the embroidered fronts, but I don't know if this is right or how exactly I should go about attaching the lining to the front edges.


  1. Your handwork is amazing! I love the painted toile so much, and am in awe of your embroidery. :)

    For lining 18th century garments, I use the fell stitch or "le point a rabattre sous la main," which I talked about on my blog several years ago:

    For a waistcoat with hair canvas interfacing I would tack the canvas (minus seam allowance) to the waistcoat fronts, fold the front edge over, fold the seam allowance of the lining over, position lining a scant 1/8" or so from the edge with seam allowances facing inside, and stitch together with a fell stitch or "le point etc." Nice clean edges that don't roll! :)

    1. Thank you!
      I already finished my pocket flaps in pretty much the way you described, but have been quite worried that it wasn't correct and that I'd mess up the front horribly. I will indeed try the fell stitch for the lining! I hate it when edges roll to the outside.