I have made many waistcoats over the years, but this was my first one with piping going all the way around. Piping is made by sewing bias strips around a narrow cotton cord, and it provided the purple edge you see in these pictures.
The back laces up, 1830s style, for decorative adjustability. And here you see close up, my painstaking matching of the printed pattern.
While constructing a tailcoat recently, I refreshed my memory of varying collar shapes. Here you see the difference between a coat that is meant to be worn closed, vs. a coat that is meant to be worn open. My pattern lines are the sewing lines; no seam allowances here.
When setting out to make a garment, one way to increase the level of difficulty is to use a patterned fabric instead of a solid color. The designer needs to make the stripes, dots, or other motifs line up nicely on the body of the wearer. This project is an example of a pattern matching challenge.
Normally one would draw a sewing line with a black pencil on light-colored fabric, or use a white pencil on dark colored fabric. When presented with this high-contrast brocade, neither black nor white pencil would show up against all of it; so I had to use both pencils and trace each pattern piece twice.
The person requesting the garment wanted me to use both sides of the brocade, so I had the challenge of matching the pattern not just to itself, but to its flip side, balancing the slight difference between the two.
These are a pair of trousers, and here you see the pattern was carefully matched up each leg. With that accomplished, there came one more hurdle. Extra pockets were to be placed on the sides, like cargo pants. Somehow the pocket’s pattern had to blend in with the two brocade patterns already present, even though the pocket is a different grain. Here is my design.
The crochet rectangle on top of the cargo pocket is not just a decorative element, it is also another pocket. I made it the ideal size to hold ID or business cards. If you want to make a card pocket like mine, use a V stitch in Speed-Cro-Sheen (a stiff cotton thread about size 3).
This outfit is made up of two different projects I completed recently. There is a muslin sheath dress, of a very modern style, and over it is an early Victorian skirt. I used scraps from the skirt to make a pair of fascinators (large hair clips), and the necklace was already in my inventory. The muslin sheath was a commission, but the skirt is for sale. We are open this Saturday, April 8, from 12:30-5pm, if you would like to visit.
It’s time to go forward with another screen print design. Here are the necessary ingredients (left to right): blank silk screen, image of the design printed onto transparency, the 2-part emulsifier that will soon coat the screen, ink to do the printing, and a theatrical lighting instrument with which to “burn” the image onto the screen.
Fitting and Proper is now open the second Saturday of each month, along with many other artists and designers here at Makers Workspace in Berkeley. Come visit us 12:30-5pm on March 11 and April 8, 2017: to see the latest creations, and share stories of thread gone awry.