Wednesday, July 20, 2016

An Adventure



Historic homes are a pleasant fiction. Most held generations of families or were sold more than once. They may have been gutted or had plumbing and heating installed. To restore them back to a particular year seems impossible. How do you know how they were before?

First, what walls have been moved/removed? What going on with the stairs? What were the rooms used for originally? Fortunate is the curator who has an inventory of all the furniture by room. Mostly it's guesswork. But what if a direct descendant, living four hours away, offers to donate a bed that was known to be in the house 200 years ago? Just needs to be picked up.  That's an adventure worth having. Kitty's job took us to the wilds of Vermont. Driving a large cargo van is an exercise in faith. Best just to shout "WITNESS ME!" When changing lanes.

The donor is delightful, a wise woman of 85. Like the house it came from, the bed had been upgraded, it's rope pegs cut off to take a modern box spring. The handiwork was unmistakable: small carved roman numerals marked every groove and slot. The hand carved posts are perfection. You know you are in Vermont's hinterlands when Google's hotel and dining recommendations start near Montreal.

Time to tackle the terror of flap pockets. Here is the back of the trousers and pocket (with cover in place.) The top of the bag back will act as trouser front for the waistband. The L-shaped bit at bottom left is where the flap stops and the leg seam begins. It's confusing. There are more photos here. It's easier to assemble the pants first, then sew the pockets together. Just don't sew the flap to anything.

Here is the even more confusing front. The bag front is pinned on, and the L-cuts don't match the trouser fronts exactly. Not a problem since the whole thing gets trapped in the seam. Pleats peek out from the pocket edge, and the stripey bearer lining is evident. The edge of that wonky L-notch on top lines up with the bag back and completes the waistband front.  Next come the waistband, buttons and button holes and the outside leg seams.


Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Progress

On the left, a trouser front with the bearer and fall welt pinned wrong side along the fall cut location. There is a strip of interfacing on the back centered on the future cut. Kanniks Korner directions have you sew everything, then cut the fall, which was done here.

On the right, the cut is made, the bearer tucked under, and the striped lining whipped over the cut edge. The welt gets folded, origami style, around an interfacing piece. More details are here. Super narrow fall on these babies.

The stock got a band and a five-piece faux bow. This is similar to neckware at GCV right down to the odd detail of both tails in back.  Here it is before gathering for the knot. Anyone who has made cockades or put bows on bonnets will recognize this. Once the bow and band are gathered and knot applied, the band end is sewn down. Stock finished.

Friday, July 8, 2016

Cossacks

So there's THIS guy.

He's hiding in the background of William Sidney Mount's Rustic Dance After A Sleigh Ride. The suit is damn fresh, but check out the pleats in those trousers. Early 19th century fashion went bonkers with trousers. There were tight, lower-calf hugging Pantaloons, Moschettos with feet or shoe tops like overalls. Breeches were still worn for dress occasions, but hipsters wore long pants.

Alexander I brought Cossack dress to London and the result was ridiculous. Think MC Hammer with stirrups. The remarkable number of these that survive in museum collections may indicate how embarrassed their wearers were after one outing in them.  Our hero appears to be wearing a less baggy version.


Holy hell. There might just be enough checked material left, but only if the legs are a reasonable dimension. The pleats might make the wearer look less frog-like. Since the coat turned out well, let's go back to Laughing Moon for the pattern. It includes most waist sizes for all the different crazy trouser patterns from the period, even a cord pattern for Pantaloon Trousers.

Remember the yellow trousers are too short on top and only come down to the ankles. Adding two inches to the top and three to the bottom solves both problems. Hopefully the stirrups will last awhile since they ride on the instep.

Here is the watch pocket bag pushed through the slit in the waistband and interfacing. A self fabric cover hides the bag back. Heaven forbid a bit of white shows when opening your pockets. Next time more stock progress and Cossacks continue.