My Own Mr. Darcy – Part 2

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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!

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Unfinished Business

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Here is a list of the things that were meant to be finished by now, and are not:

1. shirt
2. breeches
3. jacket
4. waistcoat
5. ladies’ period combinations

In a word, everything.

In another word, nothing. Nothing is finished, and it has been five weeks.

But does this bother me? Not particularly. It’s not only me. No one has finished anything. Some of the ladies are much closer than I am – jackets completed except for buttons and buttonholes, breeches you can wear with waistbands on – but in general we are all behind together. And that makes me feel not-so-bad.

In fact, I think I’ve done pretty well on the jacket seeing as I gave up an entire day to work on it. There’s still a ways to go, but the collar is on and the sleeves are pinned into place, so it actually looks like something! Here, look:

*hallelujah*

Seriously, arriving at the stage of setting in sleeves felt like reaching the promised land. Never mind that I need to even out the pleats and sew them in properly; let’s forget about all that for now and lookit some pretty pictures!

back view

back view detail

And yes, those are functional pockets!

So that’s the jacket. We officially switched gears on Thursday and started work on our waistcoats (which I thought I had taken photos of but apparently not so hey ho, coming soon). As much as I was hankering to actually finish something, it was nice to set the jacket aside and focus entirely on something else. Especially something fairly straightforward and – dare I say it? – simple, like a waistcoat.

Ok, well, not simple exactly. Welt pockets require a level of finesse that amounts to three hours’ work – more if you’re pattern-matching. In the end, I got the pockets done and a few bits together (I’m nearly the furthest one along, for once! It’snotaraceit’snotaraceit’snotarace), but I didn’t get as far along as Pauline had hoped. Her goal for the end of Friday had been to have the waistcoats entirely finished up to buttons and buttonholes, which on Thursday afternoon seemed reasonable. Turns out, it wasn’t.

The revised plan is to FINISH waistcoats tomorrow (god help us), and make a start on the next project on Tuesday: corsets and bustle cages. As for the unfinished Regency menswear, we’ll just have to catch up as and when we can: late nights and early mornings, for days (possibly weeks) on end.

And I’m ok with that. Like I keep telling myself, things will take as long as they’re going to take, and so what if I have to stay late and come early? It’s only one summer, might as well get as much out of it as I can, and it’ll all be worth it in the end.

Rolling Merrily Along

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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!

My own Mr. Darcy

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Yesterday Ben came in for his fitting. As it wasn’t until late afternoon I had plenty of time to get everything ready, including nearly finishing that damned shirt!!

Anyway, without further ado…

the shirt

the shirt and breeches

shirt, breeches, and waistcoat

just look at that collar

the full ensemble

Good news: everything fits! There are some tweaks here and there, but nothing major. So, first thing Monday morning we’ll be taking apart those toiles and finalizing the pattern.

And then it’ll be time to make it all up in the actual fabric! Eeeeeeeee.

I’ll finish this post with my favorite photo of the day:

Dapper? Me?

Jacket

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Today was all about the jacket.

I had my pattern drafted by lunchtime and got it all cut out in calico not long after that. Surprisingly, the sewing was pretty quick too. Here’s where I got to by the end of the day:

side view

front view

back view

For tomorrow’s fitting I’ll need to sew the shoulder seams, make up and tack on one sleeve, and make up and tack the collar. Oh, and thread-mark all the finish lines. And put the collar on that damn shirt. I’m pretty confident I’ll have enough time to do it all since the fitting isn’t until 5.30, but I might go in early just in case.

Did I mention that Ben Hull is my model? Conveniently for me, he is 5’10” with a 40″ chest and a 34″ waist – exactly the sizes that the basic patterns fit, which means I haven’t had to mess about making adjustments. Hooray! I mean sure, it would be good to learn how to adjust a pattern for size, but there’s plenty of time to do that later with garments for my petite frame.

This time tomorrow I’ll be sharing photos of Ben in breeches. Be excited.