Friday, March 23, 2012


Not long ago, I received a nice invitation to join these gentlemen: the 7th Regiment of Foot. In the past, I have been know to take the field as their enemies, but I was ready for a change.

Those who have seen my Livejournal blog know my first attempt at their uniform did not turn out well:

Not only did I screw up the weskit (waistcoat) front, but the length was not quite right for my middle-aged girth. Now that my coat penance is complete, I ordered some more white broadcloth and re-cut the weskit fronts. There was nothing wrong with the original weskit pockets or the back (or buttons.) I cut all the seams away and saved these pieces. Time to start over.

 If you haven't worked with broadcloth, you are missing out. There is no need to turn edges and it drapes amazingly. The new Kochan Phillips stuff that is available is not cheap, but it wears like iron and is as close to 18th-century wool as you can get:

Since I'm not starting from scratch, this project will be fast. At left is one waistcoat front with the pocket slit marked in chalk. The 7th's weskits don't have the pocket flaps you typically see on skirted weskits of this type.  For that reason, the line doesn't follow the curved "lowest button" profile. It will look more like a modern vest pocket. Next time, pockets.

Sunday, March 18, 2012


The mid-18th century coat is complete. Our next project will be British military clothing from the Revolution, meanwhile here are some pictures.

I am delighted with how all the interfacing helped shape the pleats and the back. The back pieces are slightly too narrow, but the coat fits well. Huzzah!

Thursday, March 15, 2012


The end is in sight. For whatever reason, my sleeve kung-fu is strong. They look short in the picture, but mid-18th century cuffs tended to be large, so the sleeves ended right above the wrist joint.

The arm openings are rather large as compared to later in the century. I decided not to line the sleeves, since the coat is heavy already. All that is left is to finish the neck opening and turn all the body lining seams and back stitch them. Next time, the finished product.

Sunday, March 11, 2012


If you don't have The Cut of Men's Clothes 1600-1900 by Norah Waugh, get it. There are lots of patterns and tons of great quotes: "The art of the tailor consists above all in cutting and pressing--the latter process giving the garment the elegant durable shape it should have. This operation, which is very delicate, is sufficient in itself to give a garment a good or a bad shape, according to the way in which it is executed, for it can spoil one which has been well cut out and improve another whose cut has been imperfect." the pleats on the left have been pressed, the ones on the right, not so much. I think this is as improved as the imperfect cut is going to get.

Long have I wished for this view, so I added it myself. Here are finished pleats as seen from below. Tacks and brides are still needed to keep them from opening up too much.

The finish line is near--sleeves, cuffs and finish the bottom hem.

Saturday, March 3, 2012


M. de Garsault tells us: "Before sewing the fronts to the backs, pin them together and check by the measurements. Sew the armhole down to where the pleats begin, then sew the shoulder seams..." I'm not sure how this was done in the 18th century. Women were fitted for stays and had their gowns put together on them. Since the lining seams are open, I have pinned them out of the way, and buttoned the coat inside out on my form.

The center back seam looks a bit wonky, so I'll need to take more out of that by pinning and marking it with chalk. Adjustable men's dress forms are hard to find, but vastly superior to stabbing yourself with pins and bleeding on your project.

Here is the mess from the front. I only made the mistake of fitting a coat WITHOUT a shirt and waistcoat on the form once. Perhaps the best part about having a form is it allows you to step back and say "WHAT THE HELL HAPPENED THERE?" And "THAT'S NOT STRAIGHT! I HATE SEWING."

After all the side and shoulder seams are back-stitched, the lining seams are turned under. These are pinned together and whip-stitched, then I can try it on.  Next time more grumbling.