Saturday, May 28, 2011


Forgive the scarcity of posts lately.
My computer has been having issues over the past few months and I finally took it in to have an assessment only to find I have capacitor problems.
After getting peeved with the hardsell by my local store to just drop a bundle of money on a new computer, I walked.
Posting on an ipad is problematic too so until I resolve this, (either my electronics wiz friend does some soldering, or I buy a new computer),
posting will be delayed.
My apologies,but please stay tuned.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

18th century toile

I don't think I'm going to get any modern tailoring this season. No wait, I think I have a set of plus fours and a 1930's tennis jacket and white flannels to do when the fabric arrives.
In the meantime......
The next assignment harkens further back in time to the mid 18th century, and since our designer was coming in from afar this week, I had to switch gears and get together a toile fitting to get an idea of where we are heading for shape and fit.
This wasn't too bad a start, I had never made anything for Mr. J seen here. He is quite tall - about 6'4" and has a 10" chest to waist drop, (a challenge) so it was a good first fit. I have to shorten the coat and change the waistcoat a bit and deal with a few more fit issues especially on his right side (DRS) before I will chop into the real fabric. Then I need to add a lot more volume in the pleating and will have to figure out what kind of interlining I will need to use to get the coat to bell out through the skirts.

That's for a bit later in the month, so all I can do for now is make some notes, hang it up and get back to the current lot of work.

Monday, May 16, 2011


Some days are more difficult than others. Monday morning should not be accompanied by plaid. Especially an uneven plaid. Especially an uneven one directional plaid. Especially an uneven, one directional plaid with a 4"x 4 1/4" pattern repeat for a frock coat on a size 52 man.

Never mind. The colour is totally off in this picture. The fabric is really a brown and black background with a double grey stripe on two sides of the yellow bordered rectangle.

After much consternation, I made some decisions.
Which way was up? I ran the grey stripe downwards.

Could I use both sides of the fabric as the "right" side so as to have a mirror image symmetry in cutting? Yes I can, and did.

Which part of the plaid should be prominent at the CB? Not the bright yellow part of the pattern. I picked the centre of the rectangle, so the grey stripes book-match mid back.

What about the pattern at the CF? I picked the same mid point of the rectangle but at the front the brown areas will book-match.

Should I close the chest dart and move it to a lapel dart? Yes. What you see in the photo is the preliminary closing of the dart and the resulting opening into the gorge line. I shortened the lapel dart so it will be hidden. I do gain a bit of fabric mid chest but that may work in my favour- we'll see. Less pattern interruption at the waistline.

Should I wait and cut my sleeves in muslin? I think so. I'm not that brave on a Monday morning, or afternoon it turns out. Tuesday could be an option.

Yardage- it took 2.8m for everything except sleeves and top collar. I'm pressing for a solid contrasting top collar fabric. There's a plaid limit somewhere! I like to keep track of yardages for future references.

Book-match. Don't words seem odd when you use them a few times too many? Just in case I am confusing you it is a term used more often in woodworking, but it applies here too.
Book Match: The most commonly used match in which every other piece of veneer is turned over so adjacent pieces are opened like adjacent pages in a book, creating a mirrored-image pattern at the joint line and yielding a nearly continuous grain.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

19th century waistcoat finished

Here are the finished photos of the waistcoat that I posted about here.
I am very happy with the way it turned out. If I had to change anything for improvement, I would deepen the shawl collar at the back so the neck edge was completely covered.

Top stitching by machine is not what I usually do on period waistcoats but it was a designer's request for that detail and I have to say I like the effect. It is like adding a line of trim, it delineates the edge, drawing your attention but not in a loud way.

We had inserted a "slip vest" of blue silk, which again draws your eye to the neckline and delineates the waistcoat from the shirt and cravat, and picks up on the colour in the coat.
It is always interesting working with designers for the first time and I have to say that this one has a wonderful and sure eye for colour combinations that are so appropriate for each character.
It is one of those things in design that if done correctly is almost imperceptible to the average audience member- you just feel that it is right. When it is wrong, it feels off, but not many people know exactly what isn't working.

anyway, that is all I have to say today.
I'll post some more finished garmens later but this has been a long and stressful week due to many things.
Upcoming tech dress, long distance project alterations that were required, and most sadly the death of an old friend and colleague after a prolonged battle with cancer.

Til later.