My husband is a ballroom dance instructor - I call him my very own personal Patrick Swayze. He has to wear slacks, shirt, and tie to work every night - and this fall he found a vest at Goodwill that he likes to throw in for a change every once in a while. For Christmas, he asked for another vest. I TRIED to be lazy and just buy him one - but all the vests I found were cheap (polyester, mass produced monstrosities) and expensive ($85 for a plain black polyester vest? Weak). So i broke down and made him one.
The striped fabric was a scrap of really lush suit-weight wool, black with grey/silver pinstripes. The lining and back are a high-quality polyester lining. Buttons from Hancock's - I had wanted to use pewter buttons, but didn't think about it in time to order any. We can always switch them out later, if he wants me to.
Although I usually draft my patterns, I ended up using a commercial pattern for this - I didn't have time to draft something nice, and all I have is his chest measurement, so I needed something that worked off of standard sizing. Enter Folkwear 222 - Vintage Vests.
Pattern Description: From Folkwear: "Victorian gentlemen at the end of the 1800s needed a vest or waistcoat to be considered well-dressed, and smart Victorian women often paired vests with walking skirts for street wear. Our vests offer a variety of stylings, including collarless V-neck, bias-cut vest with shawl collar, and short front-darted style. Traditional bow tie, with instructions for tying, is also included."
Pattern Sizing:Misses 6-16; Men's 36-44.
Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it? I made view B - the men's bias-cut vest. It looked just like the pattern envelope photo.
Were the instructions easy to follow? Yes! Although I've made a number of Renaissance doublets, this is my first attempt at a Victorian style vest. I had never done welt pockets before - and could not wrap my brain around how the geometry worked. I followed the pattern instructions meticulously, step by step, working on faith that they would work - and they did! All instructions were clear and well written, accompanied by line drawings when necessary.
What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern? I loved working with this pattern. It went together beautifully - there were no grading issues, all the pieces matched up nicely, and the instructions were clear and simple to follow.
Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others? Yes! I have a feeling that my husband will be wanting a few more vests...
Conclusion: Overall, this is an excellent pattern. The instructions are clear, the sizing is accurate, and I was able to create a beautiful finished product with little fuss. As with all patterns, it may be necessary to tweak the sizing to fit the wearer. The key to creating a finely tailored garment is, of course, pressing - since the fashion fabric is a soft wool, I made lots of use of my steam iron and tailor's clapper to press all the seams into submission. There are a lot of little pieces and curved pieces in the collar, and it's a bit tedious to clip and press all of those pieces - but it's worth it in the end! Don't scrimp on the pressing.
For my theatre's production of Dancing at Lughnasa, we're making some pretty nifty period aprons. The costume designer pulled some catalog images from the 1930's and passed them off to me. If you're ever bored, 1930's Sears catalogs are really fascinating glimpses into history - and the ad copy is awesome.
'Capucine' hat, done in handspun merino yarn. This is an amazingly easy, fast knit - I cast on and finished in an evening, when the weatherman was predicting snow. Snow in the South is a rare enough occasion that it deserved a new hat!
And here's the current incarnation - done in 100% wool gabardine, completely hand sewn with silk thread. Guards are black wool twill tape. Sleeves in green herringbone linen, lined in plain white linen. Lacing points for sleeves are commercial cotton cord with bolo tie points - they will be eventually replaced with lucetted cord with homemade agilets. :
I started out with the support layer - I chose to do a corded corset, done in two layers of medium weight linen and boned with hemp cord. I feel like this gives the proper support, and shapes the bust to the Italian silhouette. Love that curved bust!
The bodice is done in a wool gabardine, lined in two layers of medium weight linen. The dress is entirely hand-sewn - each bodice piece was finished and then whip-stitched together. I was honestly a little worried that the seams wouldn't be able to take that sort of stress, but they hold up beautifully!
Here is the bodice on the dress form. The guards are thin wool twill tape, hand-applied in a pattern taken from various Campi paintings:
And... this is where fitting photos start getting a little sparse. Here, the skirt has been cartridge pleated onto the bodice. Sleeves are done in a lovely herringbone twill linen, lined in lightweight linen. Here I haven't added the lacing points, and you can see that my eyelets are a bit off.
And - the finished product! The base dress is entirely hand-sewn with silk thread, all interior seams fully finished. I'm fairly pleased with how it came out. I still have problems getting the lacing holes on the curved-front bodices to line up properly - something I need to work on. But other than that, I'm fairly pleased with how it came out. Constructive critique is always welcome.
I'll admit, I'm not much of a quilter - I'm a costumer by trade and hobby, so quilting is a wee bit foreign to me. but when a good friend asked me to do a t-shirt quilt for her husband for Christmas, I couldn't say no!
First, here's the top all laid out. As you can see, he's a pretty big football fan.
One of the interesting challenges of this project was the condition of some of the shirts - the client had her fiancee's old high school football jerseys, which had obviously been well loved. I ended up stitching around all the holes, to keep them from getting bigger as the quilt gets used. It seemed much less intrusive than patching.
The other big challenge was the mesh jersey. I ended up backing it with a piece of broadcloth, and stitched around the numbers to stablilize them. Once the block was quilted, it felt really strong and secure. Also note the kickin' fishing fabric. I don't know if he's a fisher, but manly quilting fabric is harder to find than I thought it would be.
The finished product! Laid out on a queen sized bed in my messy bedroom.
Things I learned: WALKING FOOT. OMG, I used a friend's machine with a walking foot for the second half of the quilting, and it was BLISS.
it's not perfect, but my friend is thrilled, so I'll consider it a success.
Materials: Wool, wool, and more wool. A little linen, here and there, but mostly wool. The underdress is a lovely salmon-colored wool twill I picked up in Los Angeles a few years ago, and the overdress is an oatmeal-colored wool melton. The embroidery thread used on the seams of the overdress is wool. I used silk for the straps of the overdress, and a band of linen on the interior, across the top of the apron dress as facing.
Pattern: The overdress was patterned using Mistress Genevieve d'Aquitaine's <a href="http://genvieve.net/sca/vikingapron.html">pattern here</a>, and overall it worked out well. On a personal level, the blocky cut feels unattractive - were I to make another one, I'd use the geometric pattern as my base and then fit the seams to help it skim over the body a little more smoothly. That's a personal aesthetic, and probably not historically based at all.
Based on my (admittedly, limited!) research, Norse cultures used embroidery to decorate the seams of their garments. (http://www.cs.vassar.edu/~capriest/vikembroid.html) I decided to use a Vandyke stitch along all seam edges on the apron dress to spruce it up - I like the way the Vandyke lays on the fabric, as opposed to the more common herringbone stitch.
Detail of the Vandyke stitch used on the seams
Here you can see the Vandyke stitch is complete, but the shoulder straps have not been added and the hem has not been cut on either the overdress or underdress. Neckline on the underdress is merely chalked in. Here, I had done a rolled hem on the top edge of the overdress, but it felt/looked too bulky. Later I took that out and added a linen facing, which got flipped to the inside and stitched down. It looks much cleaner and less bulky.
Here, the shoulder straps are pinned into place with the 'turtle brooches'. The brooches are borrowed from a friend, who made this set out of sculpy. I had originally tried to make straps out of the oatmeal wool, but they were too thick for my taste, so I ended up doing these out of some scrap silk duiponi. Eventually I'll replace them with some inkle-woven bands.
Bling! What pulls the Viking look together, IMHO, is the bling. I bought one of those el cheapo glass bead kits from AC Moore, and supplemented that with some nice hand-made glass beads I had picked up over the years. Here, the neckline of the underdress is faced and pinned, but not stitched down.
The final product! The Frost Giants were kind enough to grace us with their presence on the morning of our event, so we had a lovely dusting of snow to take photos in. The coat is an older project that needs to be taken apart and re-done now that I know what I'm doing. The hat was purchased from a fur vendor at the Carolina Renaissance Festival a few years ago.
Accessories make all the difference - our event was mostly indoors, due to the snow, so the big fur hat got replaced with the little wool hat and linen coif. I wore a recycled fur collar most of the day to keep the back of my neck warm.
Overall, I'm pleased with the outfit - there are some things that need tweaking, and the underdress needs to be taken in. (It deserves it's own entry, and I'll do that when I take it apart and re-fit it) But it kept me toasty warm, looked appropriate, and was comfy - so I'll mark this one off as a success. Even if I don't feel like a princess.
Not the world's best photos - I still need to get some nicer ones taken that show off the dress. This is the same basic dress as my green linen Campi dress, only done in a finer weave salmon colored linen with green linen guards. The skirt is cartridge pleated onto the bodice, and there are some lovely green herringbone linen sleeves that it was just too darn hot for.
It's been FOREVER since I've taken photos - but I have been dyeing up a storm. This is about half of what I have, the other half should be photographed and processed tonight. The silk is particularly hard to photograph, but you do what you can.