Monday, June 24, 2013

1830s Broadfall Trousers: Pockets

Next up for the trousers are the pockets in the bearers. The first thing to do is to sew the bearers to the backs of the trousers along the side seams. In theory I could also sew the fronts along the side seams, but I figured it would be easier to maneuver without them in the way.

A strip of linen is basted behind the pocket marking on the back of the bearer. The linen extends over the side seam, so it will also reinforce the fronts when they're attached.

The first pocket jetting is basted along the pocket marking, and lines are drawn in chalk where the pocket ends.

Then I realised that I'd basted the jetting in upside down - I want the selvedge to be at the end of the jetting so I don't have to fold it under when I fell it to the pocketing. Again, the pocket ends are marked.

The top jetting is now basted in place as well, and the pocket ends are marked to be even with the bottom ones. I've drawn in two chalk lines 1/8" from the pocket mouth, just to ensure a straight line when I stitch them.

After stitching, I turn the bearer over and cut open the pocket from the back. Note the two "V" cuts at the ends, which are only cut through the bearer and linen - not through the jettings.

Again in the front, you can see the cut doesn't go through the jettings.

I turn in the top jetting so it hangs straight down in back, and the bottom jetting so it folds high enough to cover the entire pocket. The pocket opening is basted shut, and I side stitch along the bottom edge of the lower jetting, just going through the bearer, linen, and lower jetting, not through the top jetting. This fixes it in place, but doesn't sew the pocket shut.

Then in back, I baste two strips of linen for bearers.

I side stitch two "D" shapes at the ends of the pockets.

You can see that this stitching goes through the linen bearers. I also fell the side of the larger bearer to the side seam inlay.

Now here I'm kind of making it up on my own. Before putting in any linings, I thought I should have the waistband taken care of, so I basted in some linen, turned over the edge of the waistband, and sewed it all down.

You can see by this point there's a lot of basting going on. :)

Then I felled in the front lining. The pocketing is a little thin so you can see through it, but I don't think that matters too much.

Finally I added the pocket itself. The curve is sewn in a French seam to enclose the edge, and the jettings are felled onto the pocketing.

The front of the finished bearer, with only the basting holding the top of the pocketing on left in. I'm not sure how I'm going to finish the rest of the waistband lining, and I think I may add a waistband curtain over the pocketing later. Otherwise I'll just finish the top of the pocket to act as the lining through the side seam.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

1830s Broadfall Trousers

Broadfall trousers ca. 1840
The Metropolitan Museum of Art
Unlike the modern trousers which have what is called a French fly, broadfall trousers have a flap covering the entire front, which unfastens and lowers to remove them. The trousers in the image to the right are made of cotton, but I've also seen period examples in linen and wool. I'm making mine out of brown wool serge, which will do nicely for cold weather.

I also discovered that broadfall trousers were still in common use for the Navy at least through the sixties, and are still referred to by this site as "nautical pants." (Which, actually, look really cool, and I'd totally wear those as modern casual trousers.)

I don't have a pattern for these - the Kannik's Korner pattern I used for my Regency trousers are for a small fall (or half-fall), and the seat is a little loose for this period, so I decided to draft my own. I also don't have a full-on draft for broadfall trousers, so I drafted some French fly trousers based on an early draft, and then used the directions from the 1947 edition of Tailoring: How to Make and Mend Trousers, Vests, and Coats by The Master Designer in Chicago. Basically, all you do is use the fronts to draft the bearers (which go behind, and fasten the trousers closed at the waist), and then cut the fronts down by two inches.

I layed out the pattern on the cloth, added inlays, and cut it out.

Step one: add crutch reinforcement. Just cross stitched some cotton pocketing in place.

Step two: serge (i.e. whipstitch) the raw edges of the trousers which will be left exposed. This took eight hours. Let me repeat:

This took eight hours.

Yup, a necessary evil. I see why sewing machines have a place in the workroom.

Here's a picture of one of the bearers, with the pocket mouth marked.

I thread-marked all the inlays and the back darts - which are called fish, because of how they are shaped in a flattened oval.

The first step of actual tailoring, now that everything is prepared. Sew up the back fish.

First I basted it in place...

...and sewed it up, and then ironed it flat. I could have cut the fabric out, but I wanted to leave it in case I need to alter it in the future.

Then I closed up the front, to about halfway down the crutch reinforcement. This felt strange, since usually this is where the fly goes. Keep in mind that this portion of the trousers is unchanged from a usual French fly-front, other than being 2" shorter than the waistband, so it just felt weird.

Here's how it looks with the seam pressed open.

Then I made a lining for the fall, from the same trouser fabric. In retrospect since this is a heavier fabric I probably could have made it from cotton or linen, but it'll work this way too. The darker part at the top of the lining is the selvedge.

To define the edge and give support, I basted in a strip of linen, and then linen tape on top of it. Everything got stitched down so none of the stitches show on the front.

Cross stitching on the back of the linen strips, and felling and whip stitching on the linen tape. The back edge of the tape is just sewn to the strips, not to the cloth of the trousers.

Then the seam was turned over onto the tape, and basted down, then cross stitched in place.

The lining was basted in place.

I didn't turn the edge under the lining, so I used a thick felling stitch to keep the raw edges from fraying.

Finally, a row of side stitches was put in around the edge in front. This will eventually get four buttonholes, but I don't have the right colour buttonhole twist right now.

A close-up of the side stitching.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Linen buttons

I had a question based on my last post about how I made the linen buttons. Here's a little example to show how.

I start with a brass ring from Burnley & Trowbridge. They're supposed to be 3/8", but they're actually just a little bit bigger. No problem - just make sure to adjust your buttonholes accordingly. Also, adding the fabric will increase the size as well.

I cut a square of fabric 1" big.

Taking a stitch on each of two sides, draw the sides in. This is three stitches, in a sort of "S" shape to draw the sides in.

Repeat on the other two sides, using the same length of thread.

Now draw in the corners, two at a time as well, and take a few stitches through the whole mass to hold it together.

Backstitch around the inner edge of the button. This is still the same length of thread, which I haven't cut.

The finished button is about 1/2". There are two ways to attach it now. The first is to use the wad of fabric at the back as a shank, and sew through that to attach the button. I think it's more secure to stitch up through the button and make an "X" of stitches in the centre of the button as if it had four holes. There's no way that button's falling off in the wash.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

1830s Trowsers, or Drawers

Women and children, avert your eyes. I'm making underwear!

The directions for these are again straight out of the Workwoman's Guide. They fit just fine except that the waistband is a little short - there's a big gap in the back. It laces to fit so I suppose it's not really a problem, but it might be nice to eventually fit a new waistband so I don't have so much space in back.

As with most of the directions, these are measured in nails, and start with squares and rectangles. The first diagram shows how to turn a folded rectangle of fabric into the shape it needs to be. I did this by measuring and putting a pin at each of the relevant points. I then folded the fabric between the two pins - for instance, to get the angled line at BG (Fig 20) I put a pin at B, one at G, and folded the fabric between the two pinned points. After making a crease I then cut along the crease. Easy as pie.

One thing to note is that this section of the Workwoman's Guide describes these undergarments as either "trowsers" or "drawers." They seem to be somewhat interchangeable, except that the descriptions tend to call the ones for women and children trowsers, and the ones for men drawers. I'm not sure if that's standard or if it's just what the author felt like doing.

Below you can see the beginning of the shape taking place. I measured wrong and ended up with fabric just a little too narrow, so I added little corners onto the two points. Not a problem at all with the finished drawers:

The triangular piece is added on separately, and only attaches to the back half of each side. This is before I've cut the addition to size, and I'm simply lining up the angle:

And here I've attached it with a flat felled seam (all of the seams are 1/8" flat felled seams):

You can see now the two legs sewn together, and the two triangular extensions attached:

Finished! Seriously, these were pretty easy to put together so I don't have a lot of in-progress photos. Any open hem (the front fly area and the back gusset, for instance) are finished in a rolled hem. The bottoms of the legs have tape sewn into them for the linen drawstrings. I wove the back lacing on a lucet.

This is the gap in the back. It might show off a nice plumber's crack, but at least they'll stay on my waist. As you can see the backs are gathered into the waistband, so if I do re-work the waistband I'll have the spare fabric to make it longer.

A close-up of the linen buttons. The directions said to use "metal buttons" so I used 3/8" brass rings and covered them in linen. The front fly doesn't get any closure, but the overlap is enough to keep it shut. I hope.