Monday, August 24, 2015

18th century riding habit -- Waistcoat

I've been working on my pirate costume for the Texas Renaissance Festival, which I will be attending with my sister in November. My goal this year was to actually put together an OUTFIT, not just pieces, and to use historically correct patterns.

So I bought the Mill Farm riding habit pattern to help me accomplish my goals. I already had stays from the Sherwood Forest Faire, which I posted about in March. But they are a little large, and I wanted to have something that fits a little better. I may still use them, and just overlap the lacing grommets at front or back. I've tried it, and it works.

But I also finished up my costume closeup stays, which I'd worked on over Christmas. When I first tried them on, they were wayyyyyy too small, because I hadn't taken into account the fact that putting all that boning in would shrink the panels. So I made a stomacher for it so I could adjust them a bit better, and now they fit, and they feel wonderfully comfortable... However. They stick out from my shoulder blades if I slouch the tiniest bit. Here are some examples:

See what I mean? I know several bloggers have made these stays, and they haven't mentioned this as a problem. If anyone reading this has experience with these stays, can you tell me what I'm doing wrong? I am slouching with a bit of exaggeration in these photos to illustrate the point I'm making, but this does seem a problem. How can I fit it? Is this just a common thing with fully boned, strapless stays?

Onto the riding habit. I made the waistcoat first, since it may be too hot to wear the jacket when I go to the fair. You never know, in early November. Could be 80 degrees, could be 45. If I have a waistcoat, I will have a workable outfit.

First came fitting the pattern to my dress form. The way I did it was by pinning the side seams of the paper pieces to the sides of my form, and then studying it to see what I'd need to do to fit it.

You can see that the main thing I needed to do was add a couple inches to either side of the center back. Oh, and I always need to take the waist up a couple of inches on every pattern.

The front was very large at the top, so I had to pinch away the excess material. I also took it in a little bit at the center back.

Sorry about the shitty pictures, but I didn't have anyone home to help me. I am wearing those blue stays underneath this. I'd actually made up the waistcoat once already at this point, and it didn't fit AT ALL NO MATTER WHAT I DID. I finally tore it up in a fit of rage and it felt AWESOME. Turns out, I didn't fit the paper pattern to my dress form after all, though I could have SWORN that I did. Maybe I just fitted it to see if I had the waist in the right place and forgot to check everything else.

I wanted it to look a bit rustic, so I used a sort of homespunny looking linen from Joann's, lined it with olive green silk from a 100% silk curtain I found at Goodwill, and trimmed it with this awesome antique gold colored gimp trim. I sewed up the vest by machine, but of course tacked all the trim on by hand which took FOREVER. I used plain gold buttons from Walmart.

I can't close the vest properly on my form because the boobs aren't in the right place.

I still haven't learned how to use my buttonhole attachment. And I don't know how to do a buttonhole stitch. I've watched YouTube videos on it a hundred thousand times and still can't manage it. So I decided to just do loops of coordinating trim to button up the vest.

I think that looks really cool. So I need to sew the button loops on, and I've been making a riding habit shirt a la American Duchess and Saltpetre and Pins, and I am sewing it by hand! All I need to do on it is put buttons on the cuffs and collar and add the lace trim. Then it will be ready to put up here. I almost have an outfit!!!!