Saturday, February 14, 2015

week 5 with a waistcoat fitting

Table- taken at a random random time during week five.
Well, it is getting busier! was surprised to get two major fittings on the first day of rehearsal as  that day is usually eaten up with meetings and a read through of the play.
Those costumes are hanging on the left of the picture. I fit two suits on our leading man- he came in a bit smaller than the last measurements I had. It is better that the costume is too big rather than too small, but, it does mean a bit of extra figuring out time.
I confess that cutting right into fabric is not my favourite thing to do, it certainly doesn't save time or money. It is much more efficient to cut a quick mock-up or toile- especially when you are not sure of the details of the design or the measurements of the actor.
The toile in the foreground is a waistcoat for an actor I have never had to build for up to now. Well, I lie, I made him a shendyt last year, but now I have to put him into some nice early Victorian clothing.
So I made a toile mostly because I thought he would be a challenging fit. He has a 45+ chest and a 34.5 waist and a 47.5 inch hip. Actually, the chest measure was incorrect, as I found out in the fitting. He really is 47 inch chest, so making a toile was a great idea, as I had to make more changes to the pattern than usual.
When I put the toile on him, I could easily do it up at the CF waist. right on my drafted CF line. As I pinned it closed in the front I could see that it would not be lining up on my line, the further up I pinned. So I just pinned it where it wanted to sit, and had a look at what was going on.

This is the fitting photo, in profile and you can see that he has a very prominent chest. Please note the drag lines from the full part of the chest towards the side waist. This was the second big hint to remeasure his chest. This is a really good example of why it matters where the fabric is distributed around the chest, and especially where you make the waist suppression. I need to make sure that the waist suppression happens where he needs it which is directly underneath the fullest part of the chest. Now in this case, I would end up with a very large front dart, so I will split that dart up and rotate it elsewhere, likely a little into the armhole (which will be eased in) as well as through the neckline dart which will be hidden by the lapel of the waistcoat.
If I released the side seam and let the front hang there, I could pin out a larger dart pointing to the chest and then if I re pinned the side seam where it lay, it would have swung downwards and towards the front, adding the amount taken in the dart fabric back at the sides.

This is a good example on why you cannot make the waist fit better just by taking in the side seams.
You will see this on Internet gentlemen who keep trying to get rid of fabric at the waist of their shirts. Usually these drag lines appear in the back, where a dart would better serve the purpose, but on a gent with a very full chest, taking in the sides aggressively will give you this look too.

That is it for now, I must get outside and contend with the snow which seems to be relentlessly falling! I cleared three inches from the sidewalks and drive this morning already, but more has fallen. The good news is that it is great for cross country skiing. I can walk out the door, put the skis on and go, which I did already today!


  1. Wow, thanks for this! I also note that the actor has a very well developed shoulder, and I wonder what armscye adjustments you will make to keep the suggestion of the early Victorian line without the sleeve cap being horribly tight?

    1. Well, with all period coats, I don't cut a modern armhole, I cut a more crooked coat (neck point placement) and close fitting armhole. I might use a very thin bit of a shoulder pad because it just helps with some support in the shoulder over time. The closer you get to the actual body, the more shape you need in the pattern. I don't anticipate any trouble getting a close fitting armscye or a nice sleeve, but the sleeve does need to be proportionate to his overall shape an size, the design also calls for some slight gathering or fullness in the top sleeve.

  2. Thanks! I'll remember that -- shoulder pads aren't just for those with underdeveloped or sloping shoulders!
    You do beautiful work!
    Nancy N