– Slight changes to the LACMA “Man’s Waistcoat, France, c. 1750” PDF pattern.
– Gray (blue and peach shot) taffeta (not silk) — same used for my mitts.
– White cotton for lining.
– Some sort of stiff, but thin canvas-like material (I forgot what it was exactly) for interfacing.
Other Materials Used:
– Regular gray and white sewing threads.
– Heavy sewing thread for buttonholes.
– Button cover kits (5/8″ size).
– White embroidery floss for eyelets.
– Twill tape for lacing in the back.
A mixture of machine and hand sewing.
I can’t remember when I first started working on this waistcoat, but I ended up stopping for various reasons. My husband gained a little weight, and I had a few fitting problems due to not having a tape dressform of his shape yet.
I needed something basic, that seemed fancy-ish. One of those types of outfits where he could feel dressed up, but especially once he had more outfits, he wouldn’t mind if it got messed up at an outdoor event.
The pattern itself wasn’t so bad, until I got to the pockets. The pockets are part of the side seam shape, and I had some weird issues with the wide triangle openings not wanting to cooperate. So I sealed them shut by piecing fabrics to the opening. The pocket flaps are tacked down around the edges. It might have been the way I was doing things (I made enough other silly mistakes, so it wouldn’t surprise me)– I’m still somewhat new to sewing or at least do things in my own weird ways, but I think I will stick to slit-opening pockets in the future.
I didn’t make the side lacings, but I did include the back lacing to help with fitting. I’m not sure if I made the skirt shape quite right, but I wanted to keep with a somewhat longish length and flare. I bounce around a little throughout the 18th century (originally the plan was to focus more around the 1740’s), so I don’t stick too closely to specific details since my husband will need to mix-and-match garments until I’m able to finish more things for him.
The gray fabric gave me a little trouble (I also noticed the same thing while embroidering the mitts that used that fabric). Every stitch and pucker really shows up due to the plastic-type feel of the fabric. My husband had picked the fabric out for my mitts, and I knew he loved the color. That’s why I decided to use that fabric for it.
I wanted to make and use more period buttons, but since I was really rushed for time and had a lot of the store-bought covered button kits, these will work for now.
I had a terrible time trying to find proper silk twist thread in a matching color for the buttonholes. I tested different types of threads and embroidery floss and decided that a “Heavy” thread would work best for my needs. With a little light coating of Thread Heaven, and keeping track of the thread as I pulled it through, it gave me the least amount of trouble as well.
I’d been doing some research on buttonholes, and knew I wanted to extend the stitching past the open part of the buttonhole. I adored the look of the wider, shaped buttonhole instead of a thinner stitch. I also needed them to be very sturdy since I wasn’t sure if the waistcoat would fit my husband until he lost weight again. I started off a little too wide, and slowly worked to a little narrower (hoping to keep them all close enough where it wouldn’t stand out too much). I definitely will try to keep them a little narrower if I sew them like this again, and not the usual way I should have done them. With the fabric issues I had, if I look closely at the buttonholes they look a little sloppy. From a regular distance, I actually think they look decent and give a fun look — and my husband absolutely loves them.
Even though I had a lot of troubles and mistakes on this waistcoat, my husband is happy with it and loves it — and it’s one garment more of his that I don’t have to worry about for a while!
Updated 10/16/12: I made another cravat since the original was too long and narrow, and the hems were very wide (this was before I knew how to do rolled hems).