Thursday, June 6, 2013

Back to making suits

I had been working on a post to describe my job, but I was having a hard time writing it down in some kind of blog friendly manner. I think it will have to work on it a bit longer. The working title is "There is no Formula". I think I should get a plaque that says that and mount it on the door to our workroom. :)
Anyway, I haven't given up on writing it, but it will take some time to do.

So, instead, I will show you what I have been up to lately.
I am still in the land of the 16th century and making doublets and trunkhose- a pattern for a doublet toile is in the top photo.  We had a fitting of the toile and I am in the middle of marking the pattern alterations. This one will be made in leather- just waiting for the designer to buy it.

In addition to the 16th century, I get to jump ahead to the 20th century and make a few 1930's suits.
I have some great style and cutting references for this period in my collection, and I was happy to put them to good use.
We will be making seven suits for three different gentlemen, and the first one off my cutting table is this one in linen.

This is the real fabric, basted together like toile- so the pockets are not in, (I usually just thread mark the breast pocket placement, but Susy put together a little fake welt) the patch pocket is just a sample where Susy tried out different thread colours for the possibility of a machine topstitch detail.
The lapels are just quickly basted to the chest canvas, and there are generous inlays left for possible alterations. Luckily, I measured this guy myself so I was quite sure of the numbers, and it all went well in our fitting- not many changes at all.  The sleeves need to be lengthened, and the designer wanted a peak lapel, instead of the notch lapel I was trying to sell her. Other than that, we are good to go ahead, finish this one and get started on the other three for him.

 The trousers are high waisted, double pleated, with slant pockets, a grown-on waistband, and cuffs. They are lined in the fronts to just below the knee, and still need back pockets installed. For some reason I marked them an inch lower than they should be- slip of the ruler I guess- good thing we didn't put them in!
They look tapered from this camera angle but they are about 19  inches at the hem, wide, but not overly so. The hem width needs to work with the person's height and shoe size as well as the style of the period.


  1. You were right about the notch lapels. I have never understood peak lapels on daywear. The fabric is a beautiful colour.

  2. Peak lapels for daywear were actually quite common, I have many references in period tailoring catalogues showing them. I think it is a modern internet style decree that puts people off of that look.
    The reason we kept the peaks was also driven by what the character would wear and how the designer chooses to get that across.
    Thanks for your thoughts!

  3. Hi Terri,

    I love a grown-on waistband, and those pants look amazing. How do you finish the zipper, fly shield and/or button fly?

    Cannot wait for the next post,


  4. Hi Terri,

    I'm embarking on a 20's suit soon - really looking forward to it. Have you dealt with actors wearing gun holsters underneath? If so, did you do anything differently so that they fit without looking bulky or feeling tight on that shoulder?

    Thank you,


  5. As I recall, the bulky part was under the arm, but it has not come up often for me...sorry