My Own Mr. Darcy – Part 2

Uncategorized

Ben came to York with me last Saturday so he could try on his jacket. I think the photos speak for themselves…

Don’t worry, he’ll have boots on for the photo shoot.

He convinced me that he doesn’t need to bother growing out his sideburns to look more period because the collar would hide most of them anyway. I couldn’t argue with that.

Look at that posture! According to Ben, just having the outfit on makes you stand up straight.

And is it me, or is it easy to imagine that instead of a cell phone he’s holding, it’s some pocket almanac or calling card or other small hand-held Regency items?

Oh, the transformative power of costume!

Advertisements

Facing and Boning

Uncategorized

I am not a 3D-thinker. I can not look at somebody else’s perfectly faced breeches and translate them into the steps I need to take to face my own. Before this sounds any weirder, I’ll say that the facing is a bit of fabric that goes around the inside hem of each trouser leg – the same idea as a waistband. It sounded easy enough when Pauline explained it to me last Friday, but when it got down to it the whole button-stand/button flap thing was completely baffling and as a result I’ve done it Slightly Wrong. Turns out the flap that I so carefully and neatly slip-stitched into place is supposed to flap open so that you can actually button them up.

how not to attach facing

It’s not a problem really; it just means that my flap doesn’t have facing on it because I didn’t think it needed it (since it was going to be sewn down flat anyway, right? wrong) and had to budge it around so the damn facing would actually fit around the hem.

less-than-ideal solution

That’s the one I’ve adjusted; I still need to unpick and neaten up the other side. It seems so obvious now, the way the flap works, but yesterday morning I Did Not Get It. Le sigh. At least I know now, right? Trial and error, problem-solving, all that nonsense. Facing a pair of breeches will never baffle me again!

Now all I’ve got to worry about is that flap being strong enough to hold the buttons. I’m sure I interfaced it, but it it feels a bit floppy so maybe I didn’t (again, I’ll put that down to not having a clue how that bit was going to work). I brought the breeches home to fix that other bit of facing, which of course led to an impromptu fitting:

they fit! just about.

The first thing he said was, they’re too small. And I said what?! No, no they are not, they can’t be. What you think is “too small” is actually a perfect fit; you’re just not used to the way trousers fit in the 19th century. I was saying all this to convince myself as well as him, but once we got him pinned into everything (no buttons yet, as ever – sigh) he agreed that yes, ok, the fit is fine, just a bit tighter than he’s used to. What I need to do now is make damn sure those buttons at the hem go on nice and tight, because there’ll be a lot of strain on those when he sits down.

In other news, the sleeves of the jacket are well and truly finished! Properly on, lined and everything! I left myself notes for Monday when Pauline wouldn’t be here so I’d remember what to do:

notes

Here it is, the nearly-finished product:

finally!

A close-up of the collar:

could use another press, I think

I still need to stabstitch the lapel so it matches the topstitching on the collar, so I might go back in on Friday to work on that. Or I might leave it until the buttons and buttonholes bonanza.

Lastly yesterday I got all the bones into my corset! There was only one channel that I really struggled with; the rest were roomy enough for the bones to slide in fairly easily. AND the bias binding is on!! My finish isn’t brilliant but, for all intents and purposes, the corset is done. I brought it home with some lace hand-sew onto the top, more to hide some wayward stitch-in-the-ditch-ing than anything else.

There are still loads of things to do, mostly (bet you can guess) buttons and button-holes and some hand-finishing here and there. But the point is, everyone still has loads of little things to do! I’M ALL CAUGHT UP!!!

I’m going to relish this feeling, because no doubt it won’t last long.

All Sewn Out

Uncategorized

Here’s a look at what my schedule has been like for the last few days:

6.00: Wake up
7.26: Catch train to York
8.17: Arrive in York
8.31-9.30: Get to studio, catch up on breeches
9.30-13.00: Work on jacket
13.00-14.00: Lunch
14.00-18.00: Work on jacket
18.00-19.50: Catch up on breeches
20.10: Catch train home
21.20: Arrive home, eat dinner, crash.

Basically, I’ve been putting in an extra two hours every day – and I’m still behind. This is not entirely my fault. On Monday we were all meant to come in in pairs for two-and-a-half hour blocks, during which time we could spread out on the tables and cut out the fabric for our jackets. My slot was 4-6.30. When I got there at 3.30, everyone who had been on the morning and midday blocks were still there, because that’s just how long everything took. Unfortunately our tailoring tutor had to leave at bang on 6.30, which meant that unlike everyone else that day, I didn’t get an extra five hours to work. In the end I spent the entire two hours readjusting my paper pattern, and which I didn’t finalize til Tuesday. I got there eventually:

wool/cashmere blend

curtain lining (satin-weave cotton)

Turns out there are lots and lots and lots of steps in tailoring. Here are a few:

reinforcing the lapel

padstitching

A bit clumsy, but effective all the same. Padstitching is to ensure that the lapel rolls back nicely. It’s all hand sewn. This is how you know you’re doing it right:

prickly fingers

Yeah, those are my flaky fingertips, thanks to dozens of teensy pricks with the needle.

That’s as far as I got on Tuesday, and started with pockets this morning:

reinforced skirt pieces with pockets

And on it went.

reinforced center back panels

sleeves in progress

(nearly) finished sleeves

And there’s STILL loads to do.

In other news, I finally finished the damn fall front on my breeches!!

red lining!

more lining

Needs a press. This fabric is a nightmare.

janky pillars are janky

And oh yeah, I’m taking tomorrow off because Ben and I are leaving to visit my parents in Broadstairs for the weekend! Eeee! Which means I have one less day to work on my jacket… but it also means a weekend at the seaside!!

Meh. I’ll make it up next week.

Rolling Merrily Along

Uncategorized

After a rocky finish to last week and an unproductive two-and-a-half-hour cutting session yesterday, I finally feel like I’m back on track! I had my jacket pattern finalized by 11 am, and then moved on to cutting out my wool and lining. I got as far as pad-stitching the lapels by 6pm, at which point I switched gears back to the breeches (which, might I add, I had been dreaming about). I didn’t finish the fall fronts, but I’ve got everything sewn and pinned in the right places. My plan is to go in early tomorrow morning, work on the breeches for an hour, then work on the jacket for the day along with everyone else, and then stay a bit later to work on the breeches some more. We shall see how it goes…

Pictures soon!

How Not To Make Split-Falls

Uncategorized

We spent the entire day practicing split-fall fronts. My first attempt actually turned out pretty well:

up

down

This is how not to make them:

backwards

Essentially, I had sewn the flap (or bearer, as it’s actually called) going the wrong direction – opening over the hip rather than the center front. But oh well; that’s what practice in calico is for right?

Fortunately I’ve got lots of extra fabric for my breeches, so if it comes down to it I can do another practice with split-falls in the fabric before making them up properly. The end!