Saturday, March 28, 2015

A fall front variation

We make a lot of period clothing, so that means quite a few fall front style trousers and breeches.

For those who may be unfamiliar with the term, a fall front is an alternative to a fly closure for trousers or breeches.
The front of the trousers can open close to or right along both of the side seams in which case they  would be "broad falls"or "whole falls" or you can make a narrower front panel that would be called  split falls. There is an under lap which includes the waistband, and then the trouser front is closed by lifting up the fall and buttoning it onto the waistband.

We most often make split falls as they were very common from the mid 18th century through to the Victorian age. They were certainly still used for "court" dress into the 20th century, and used for sailor trousers into the 1970's if I recall correctly, and still used on Lederhosen for instance.

Anyway, there are many ways of cutting and making split falls, the most commonly used technique has a visible placket and the placket is quite often plain and straight.
For one pair of our 19th century breeches I cut a split fall with a variation of the usual placket shape.

These have a curved placket that is cut on the bias.
I like to inset the seam for the under lap so when the fall flap is closed it is hidden, but these also would have worked if I had cut them so the end of the placket was more like the end of a welt pocket.

Here you can see what it looks like underneath the fall front. The waistband and under lap still need buttonholes and buttons. You would close them first, then the flap will have buttonholes and it will button up and close as in the first photo.

The placket itself was a plain bias piece which was fused with bias fusible, then shaped into a curve at the iron. Once that was done, the pattern piece drawn out on it, then sewn to the fronts. I cut a separate flap facing which was then used to finish the top and the edge of the curved placket. 
The under lap is composed of the fabric layer and finished on the inside/lined with silesia. 
I didn't take a photo of that, sorry! The under lap piece is deep enough that the placket is secured from the top through all the layers and the silesia extends right across to the side seam giving support for long term wear and tear.

Variations on the theme make work interesting! 

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

weeks 10 and 11 plus waistcoat update

Week 10.
Unbeknownst to me ( I obviously need to get out and read the posted calendar updates) one of my designers was returning but only for a short period of time. So in the midst of preparing for the other designer who would only be here on three specific days this week, I had to drop things and switch over to the other show to get ready for fittings that I had though could happen a little later.

I only got one of the three fittings I had been rushing to get ready. Blah!
Week 11
I got all three of the other fittings with my other show on Monday, and this is my table after coming back from one of them.
I also had a fitting with my third show which will be on stage first, so I am still trying to juggle that one so it doesn't get left behind.
Those beige trousers on the table were not a happy fit, I need to have a good look at what I did wrong there....maybe too many things going on and I forgot to make a change from the toile...who knows but arrrggh it bothered me looking at the photos later.

I was able to fit my corrected pattern for the waistcoat I showed you earlier.  Sorry about the photo quality, but it was taken on the fly in the fitting.
I didn't put the pockets in and it was no more than a baste up in the real fabric. Much improved, although I can still see a bit of tension above/over the chest- which I made a note of -and will try to correct that when I take it apart to mark alterations. I will try to take a photo of the pattern to show you what I did, when I have more than 5 minutes to think.

We don't have a lot of time in fittings as there is so much to do and so many components beyond the clothes to be fit. That fitting included armour so the props department shared the one hour we had.

There was debate about whether we needed to make a coat for this gentleman, so finally it was Ok'd and I quickly put together a toile of a great coat seen below.

I am going to leave it here for now as I have to go and have a glass of wine and put my feet up so I can do it all again tomorrow.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

work table weeks 8 and 9

Time is flying by.
Week 8 saw the delivery of a missing fabric.
This jacket was based a bit on this reference, below.
Menswear is interesting because there are many options to play with, but for many people the details elude them because, lets face it, they are subtle. The changes are more easily seen over the decades rather than the season or the year. If you delve into it though, you are rewarded with many interesting details, and I have fun with these details, encouraging designers to consider incorporating them into the suits they want me to make.
 Nowadays- everything looks the same, whereas say in 1938 as this catalogue page shows, there are more "sporty" or casual models available. Still a three piece suit but a different vibe than one for business wear. The one on the left offers a two button, notch lapel, patch pockets, the bottom ones with flaps, and the back view has an expansion gusset, as well as a bit of fullness pleated into a half belt at the waist. The one on the right is a 2 button, semi-peak lapel, three patch pockets with inverted pleats, lower pockets with flaps and the back pleated into a half belt. Both have top stitching detail. We are going to go with the one on the right but with the plainer pocket style of the one on the left.

I have been given a nice blue plaid flannel to work with. I had a devil of a time getting it all laid out nice and square on my cutting table, so in the end, I had to cut the yardage in sections then block it at the iron table, using my metre stick and a square to then press it properly just to get it in a better shape to cut out. It literally took me most of the day to cut that three piece suit. 
Here is the back, just ready in week 9 with a fitting yesterday. 

Yesterday, week 9 also looked like this (below). I managed to cut out the shell of a velvet coat, cut all the bits and pieces needed for a pair of breeches that I fit earlier in the week, I cut out my last 1840's waistcoat and trousers, and switched back to the eighteenth century today so I can call fittings next week when that designer is back in residence. I cut another cloak and made a coat pattern and cut it in muslin. The I will have to flip back to my 20th century things, have a few last fittings, and cut some of the final bits like top collars and mark alterations. 

Tomorrow is already Thursday! I have so much to get done and I really could use another pair of hands- not so I have four myself, but another set of sewing hands. We have a lot to get done.