Thursday, November 13, 2014

1830s Dress Coat - The Reveal

Look at those shoulders! Just look at them!

The shoulders are the only part of this coat I just don't like. Maybe someday I'll update the coat to some 1840s sleeves instead of the earlier poofs that it has now.

Here's a photo from when I wore the outfit to Old Sturbridge Village. As I recall the weather was warm and the snow was melting to make a lot of mud. But at least I was warm enough in my outfit. The hat is shaped wrong for the period, but it'll have to do.

Yesterday I had my wife take some other photos in our living room. I thought I'd pretend I was reading. :)

If this were the 1830s I'd be clean-shaven.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

1830s Dress Coat - Finishing

It's been an awfully long time since I've posted.

I'm sorry.

We bought a house.

It was built in 1738.

It needs some TLC.

I actually finished the 1830s coat and went to the Old Sturbridge Village dinner wearing it, but basically as soon as I finished we bought the house and then I was immersed in home improvement projects. I kept thinking, "I have to post to my blog" but then projects took over.

That's not entirely true, because I've done a few other tailoring projects since then, but I somehow kept getting distracted from posting to my blog. And I apologize.

Here are the details on finishing the coat, and I'll post photos of the finished result next. Sooner than 8 months, I promise.

Anyway, after doing my fitting with basted seams I ripped the whole coat apart and started sewing it together for real. Obviously everything is hand-sewn - all seams are back stitched, and most everything else is felled or catch-stitched. As always, you can click on the images for a larger view.

The skirts are pleated into tails.

The collar canvas is basted to the cloth before being padded.

The collar and revers. I'm not sure why the left lapel is so wrinkled. It really isn't that bad when I'm wearing it.

The sleeves. The 1830s coat has funky, floppy cuffs. And giant poofy sleeve heads. I really don't like the style, but I'm a slave to fashion.

The sleeve linings. Obviously the cuffs have working buttons (i.e. "surgeon's cuffs").

The outside of the cuffs. Floppy, floppy.

Friday, January 17, 2014

1830s Dress Coat - Drafting and skeleton baste

Don't let the name "dress coat" fool you here - although it was certainly a coat for wearing to fancy occasions (and has today become the standard for white collar wear), this tail coat shows up in William Sidney Mount's work tattered and full of holes as well. It was pretty much the only alternative to a frock coat. Short jackets were less common.

The one I'm making is single-breasted, which means that it doesn't actually button in front. It will have buttons and fake buttonholes. I chose a design from around 1830, instead of closer to 1840. This means that it doesn't have a separate side panel, but instead the front and side are cut as one. I haven't decided yet if I want side pockets, but I've cut some pocket flaps just in case.

The canvas is prepared much in the same way as the linen frock coat, except that because of the earlier period it doesn't have additional canvas pad stitched into the chest. Instead it gets chest padding like the 1830s vest. I cut the canvas:

Chalk out where I want the padding, and add wool batting. You can also see where I added gores to shape the canvas:

After covering the batting with a piece of linen I pad stitched the whole thing:

The linen side of the padding:

Then the canvas was basted into the fronts. You can see at the shoulder seam how the canvas is already shaping the coat. It looks as though the basting wrinkled the coat, but it isn't really that bad. The camera flash really brought out the worst of it.

Don't I look grumpy? This is the skeleton baste: everything is only basted together, with no lining or collar. The sleeves aren't set right - they need to turn forward a bit, and I don't like the puffiness at the sleeve heads. I may have to do some serious gathering.

This example, from Augusta Auctions, shows how drastic the sleeve head gathering can be:

Anyway, I made lots of chalk marks. The diagonal slashes at the waist are where I want to shrink out some fullness, and the armscye is going to be drawn in below the right shoulder.