Drafting and Making a Late Victorian Waistcoat (1895)
Hello good day ok so today we're not going to bother with lengthy, introductions, instead, today I shall just provide you with the obvious, knowledge that today I shall be attempting to draft and reconstruct. An 1890s, waistcoat, according to the instructions, outlined in the 1895. Keystone, guide to jacket, and dress cutting which I shall link down below if you wish to follow along at home although I must continually, remind the internet that I am NOT in the business of providing tutorials, as believe it or not there is no such thing as truth in this murky and uncertain, business of history, anyway. Okay, so for the pattern for this I am going back to my old friend mr. Keystone, I don't think that's actually his real name I am maybe a little, bit daunted by this this is slightly, more complicated than a skirt it's a lot less straight, lines and a lot more things that actually need to fit in certain places there are lots, of instructions so, hopefully, I will just be able to follow these step-by-step, draw, the appropriate lines, and get something that's sort of like a waistcoat, it's probably, easier said than done but we're gonna give it a go so these instructions, are to draft something sort of akin to this which, will translate into this, set of given measurements, the waist size is fine for me it matches my waist size which is really cool I have the sense that it's going to be a little bit short waisted because I'm, a little bit longer, waisted, I've got a 36, inch bust even. With the padding on the corset I'm not a 36, inch bust so this, is going to be an adventure these are technically. Than the ideal late 19th century measurements, so what I think I'm going to do is I'm not going to alter the pattern at all obviously, if this pattern would come out too small it, would be something that I would have to probably think, about doing alterations, for whilst I'm doing this I think I should mention that this, this drafting, system this book in the beginning he has this whole sort of series of drafting systems for essentially, a sloper for the the, upper body the waist and he goes through and sort of illustrates, the drafting system for all body types whether, you are thin whether you are larger, whether you are stooping, so all different sorts of postures, and body types so, don't be discouraged if you are not this, Victorian, measure this is just I guess the sort of standard and of course he also advises, you know for larger, figures, you put more darts, in different places so so, there are sort, of options, for different body types out there okay, so this draft is proving a little bit more complicated only because he's. Not necessary. Really giving you every. Single instruction, so I think there's going to be a little bit of conjecturing, going on here, on my part what I'm just looking at right now is I'm I'm, working on this bit here I don't know if this is gonna make any sense to you here, since you're not technically, following, along step-by-step but essentially he's not really giving me these distances. To this point so I'm not entirely sure he's telling me to round off the arms i but i don't know where it's supposed to come up to so, i guess this is something that I'm going to just make up I went, back and I had a look because in the beginning of the book there is also a, series of drafts, again like I said four other four, basic, standard, wastes so I thought maybe it's just a super basic thing that he addressed in the beginning but. No so, yeah. This is something that I'm just gonna, have to make up in theory, this distance. From, here to here should, be oh the. Outside, shoulder which maybe I can actually take, the measurement for okay, I'm getting a rough estimate, of 5 inches doing, this on myself so I'm not entirely sure how accurate that is if this is 5 inches.
That. Would put point 3 around. Here, which actually looks about right. We're gonna go ahead with that which. Means that this point should, match up round. This, way, maybe, oh, he has me do X first, which looks about halfway between so, here's this point I, mean. There will be mock-ups we shall see how this goes. Okay, so this is very nonlinear. And very confusing but now he's having me do this whole bit up here where we figure this out, which doesn't really make sense because he wanted me to draw this arms, eye thing, way, before, and I didn't know what points to connect to them too which is strange, but I guess we'll now take care of this and then go, back and see if this is correct I didn't say this earlier but some point again later on he, had me go in and then put this point 12 here so I had to move this arms eye from because I had an ending sort, of round here and then it ended up having me put point, 12 here, so I had to move it over a little bit so yeah it's a little bit out of order so if you are attempting this pattern or if you were attempting other Keystone patterns that maybe, are also written like this we will obviously see, what the overcoat has to do but this skirt was fairly straightforward none, of all this nonlinear, nonsense but yes so if you are attempting a Keystone pattern and you, are confused. Because you are wondering, how you get a point out of nowhere it's, probably, somewhere later in the instructions, okay so according, to the instructions, I did exactly. What I was supposed to do so yay for figuring, things out in unconventional, ways, but. Also yay, for instructions, okay so here is why I am so far I've got the actual waist. Part, drafted, all the darts in all the actual pieces present, what I haven't done is I have not yet put the collar bitch on that, is actually, on the diagram on the other side of this page that I was referencing and I didn't see it so. I was like where's the collar there is a whole other page in the book full of different collar lapel, options, so, I thought I would have to go back and you know look at that print that out because I hadn't done so but it turns out that the collar instructions, are just right here so I'm going to go proceed and do that I'm, running out of light so I might not film it I may do it in the wee hours this evening and then come back tomorrow morning and start cutting this out so I'm going to go draft a collar and I shall see you soon okay. So I have completed the mock-up for the waistcoat I got absolutely no, footage of the editing fitting, process for this which, I kind of severely regret because I feel like well you. Know what it's always a bit of an existential crisis, with this because I thoroughly, have no clue, what I'm doing when I'm fitting these mock-ups and. In, a way I feel like it's sort of setting a bad example for people who don't necessarily have, much experience in this to sort, of see me flailing, about not, really. Knowing what I'm doing with this but at the same time I mean I guess if you don't have any clue what you're doing maybe it's good to start somewhere I don't know the point is I have completed this mock up it was a journey, obviously. It did not fit me whatsoever. In the bust in this whole top chest area and I did leave a little bit of room because I do intend to put some padding up here just in this upper shoulder. Area because that's the historical thing to do I did fit this to my waist which I ended up having to let out just a little bit I'm also not entirely sure if this is correct I ended up adding, a little gore to the hip area to give it a little bit more spring because that's what it does on me it, just made this side area sit a little bit nicer I'm quite happy with how this fits and how it sits so. After a lot of fitting. And altering, and cutting. And refitting. And altering and refitting, and altering, we are now ready, to move forth I think what I'm going to do is I'm going to go ahead and well I have to select. This all apart and get the pattern pieces and make the alterations to my actual pattern so that I can cut out this proper fitting shape so first, I need to transfer all of the alterations, I made on my mock-up to my pattern so that I can actually cut out the correct shapes this time I'm doing this by marking any changed seams then cutting the shapes apart without seam, allowance I can then lay these net muslin pieces on top of my old pattern mark the new lines then cut the pieces to shape I'm going to be making up the waistcoat out of this we'll check that you may recognize, from our garment district adventure it's also the fabric I used for the walking skirt so I'm very much looking forward to having a nice matchi Tweedy, ensemble, the pieces are laid onto the fabric warp wise I actually just came across an interesting line in Bertha banners household, sewing with home dress making where she mentioned that the warp or Salvage, length of the fabric should always be running lengthwise, in the body since it's the stronger, grain of the fabric so the selvage edge of the fabric will be running parallel, up and down the length of the waistcoat with the center front edge on the straight grain and I'm just marking everything out with some tailors chalk likewise.
The Center back is also placed on the straight grain normally, this is indeed straight, but as we are all probably well familiar with my spinal grievances, by now I had to make some minor adjustments to that center back line on the mock-up to get it to fit properly don't ask how I did this on myself there may, or may not have been witchcraft involved, I'm also cutting a facing piece for the lapel out of the wool check since, the lapel turns out words and you'll see the inside as the, outside I've gotten this pattern piece by tracing off that lapel bit from my front panel pattern and included, about the first inch of width all the way down the center front edge this will also help to strengthen the edges where the buttons and buttonholes will be and will help to finish off those front edges neatly I'm also cutting out the front panel and front facing pieces out of some tailor's canvas which will help to give the front of the waistcoat some nice structure I'm cutting out both pieces here but at this point I wasn't actually sure where and how many layers of canvas, I should be adding so, I decided, to cut it all and experiment, with it later finally, I'm also marking out the front and back pieces on this brown cotton silesia which is basically a glazed, cotton and was commonly used for waistcoat and coat linings, in the 19th century. At. Last I can now cut out all of my traced pieces. So, I have got all of my pieces cut out I have got a front, and a back of this cotton, selicia I've got a facing. And a front of this hair canvas, what, I've actually done is I've I've. Got I've gone ahead and I've cut out the full shape out of the canvas I don't need this much I really only need I mean probably just, about this facing amount, just on the front here so I will go through and trim, this off at some point I just wasn't, sure how, much I needed whilst I was cutting it so I just cut the whole thing which was probably not a very historically, accurate thing to do because they would not have wasted this much material but you know what cabbage is cool we can always use this for something else so what I will be doing is I will probably go ahead and I will trim this up to about the dart because I don't think I want to have any of this canvas adding, bulk to the waste at. This dart point so I will probably cut it to about here I don't know if I'm going to go all the way up to the dart or not I don't know yet I feel like this whole process is just me. Sort of guessing, as to what I'm doing just before I actually do it because tailoring, is a thing I have admired greatly from, a distance but have yet to actually attempt myself so I feel like a lot of these techniques are things that I know in theory or things. That I've seen done places, but have never actually implemented. Myself so this is going to be a bit of an adventure so yes definitely the beginning of a long and exciting, historical. Tailoring journey but here is where we are starting so I also have one, of every piece cut out in this will tweed, so, I've got a back I've got a facing, for the lapel and I've got the front so my first step for this is I'm going to go through and just thread mark all of these top.
Pieces Because, all of these top pieces will get inter, lined with this canvas and I will lose all of my chalk lines so what I'm going to do first is I'm just going to go through and I'm going to thread mark the outer lines as well as the darts on all of these pop pieces, and then I think we go ahead with the pad stitching, and the basting, of the interlining, into, the actual thing once, that's been done I'm starting off by getting all of the darts stitched in there obviously two on either side of the front pieces but there are also two very small darts on either side of the back so these are pinned out of both the wool layers and the lining layers been stitched. Okay. So I have just laid my canvas piece on top of the front piece which has it starts in it now just to sort of try and get a sense of vaguely, where. I want, this to go I know I cut a full piece which I don't technically. Necessarily, need and then I was hypothetically, going to chop it just right, here probably up to this first Dart however, the wall that I'm using is very, very drapey I'm not entirely sure this is going to be too light for a waistcoat, and if I should just inter line the entire thing with the canvas if that will help or, if that's just going to create too much bulk I think, it will be okay. What I think I may do is, I may chop, the canvas sort of here. And then have it come down to just the edge of this dart here, that way the front of it will be stabilized, up through you know it'll hold these darts out hopefully, a little bit and then will create less bulk over here on this waist area, so I think that is what I'm going to attempt. To do otherwise, I think this is coming together a little bit more quickly than I anticipated which, is really good so I'm gonna see how far we can get now so after pinning the Candice layer in place and then going through and basting it down doing my best to keep it held in the three-dimensional, shape it wants to live in now that the darts are in rather than forcing it to lie flat this way hopefully I don't want to sit more naturally, against the three-dimensional, shape of the body. I'm. Then. Holding these dart edges together with a herringbone, stitch or as it's referred to in ye olde 21st, century, a cross stitch. That, done I can now proceed to actually put the waistcoat together, it's only a center back seam and two side seams for both the wool and the lining layers so if this won't take a minute. I. Should. Probably have noted that when I was basting down the canvas layer earlier I did not base down the lapel area because this gets pad stitched separately, not a temporary basting, pad stitch as we've been doing thus far but a permanent, one which means that the stitches are much smaller neater, and done, in a black thread that won't be visible from the wool side of the fabric the process of pad stitching the lapel not only secures the canvas and fabric layers firmly together but allows you to carefully sculpt, the two layers into shape so that the lapel actually wants to roll back against the waistcoat instead, of flopping forward to do this I'm gently rolling the fabric around my index finger just at that brake line or at the line where the lapel edge will fold back to mold it into that turned back position, I actually had posted a picture of this on my Instagram, awhile back when I was working on it and got a couple of really interesting questions about the pad stitching process so hopefully, this answers things, a bit I actually think it's really cool how we can sort of have a bit of an interaction when I'm actually posting, the pictures in real time since it's a little bit unfortunate that with the videos you only get to respond after the project has been completed and documented.
So I guess let it be known now that I'm going to start posting some more real-time progress shots over on the Instagram and I'm going to make an effort to look at your questions or bits of intrigue in the comments so that I can properly address them in the videos because, community, and sharing, knowledge and learning stuff it's all really cool anyway. Once my lapels are all ready to go I can then go ahead and stitch together the shoulder seams as well as the little center back seam on the collar so that it becomes one continuous, piece that I can stitch down to the back neck edge of the waistcoat. And, the. Seam allowances of these little inner curves must be clipped in order for this to happen or basically, it will not cooperate I. Have. Also gone ahead and stitched the little centre back collar seam on the facing pieces so that I can now go ahead and get these attached the facing gets pinned on to the center front and the neck edges of the waistcoat with right sides together. I'm. Then. Just trimming back the seam allowances to about a quarter of an inch so that there's a bit less bulk when I turn the layers. Now. Before I put the lining in I'm just going to quickly add a bit of padding into the shoulder area so that the lining can conceal the padding and hold everything neatly into place this, is history's, great, secret, for amazing silhouettes, a bit of padding is added to that hollow bit between the shoulder and the bus to make everything sit smoothly and avoid that little crumbly spot by the shoulder if you like, most people don't naturally, have a chest shaped like this, this, is seen everywhere in the 19th century in dresses, bodice, --is coats so of course I'm really eager to experiment with this in my waistcoat endeavors, I have already roughly, determined, the shapes needed for my particular padding, requirements, in a fitting so I'm just duplicating, those shapes to put in to both sides, you'll want to use several slim layers of sheet cotton wadding and stagger, them so that the edge of the padding isn't too extreme, and noticeable from the outside this, is then pad stitched, into, place with the long stitches catching, only the canvas layer interlining, and not going through to the wool layer on the outside since, these are not temporary, stitches, and will need to be left in. With. That done I can now go ahead and get the lining in this I'm just securing, into place with lots and lots of pins to ensure that everything is positioned appropriately then, turning under the raw edges of both the lining and fabric layers on all sides the, facing pieces however fold over top of the center front edge of the lining layer.
Everything. Is then secured into place by hand with tiny felling stitches. At. This point everything is secure enough that I can go ahead and remove all of my temporary basting, stitches next, the center front and lapel edges of the waistcoat are top stitched by hand with small running stitches to ensure that the edges are held very crisp and flat and. Then. It's time for buttonholes. I seem to have forgotten to record my marking out of these but there are six buttonholes placed, an inch and a half apart here with the buttonholes worked by hand in black silk twist. The. Buttons are just these little enameled, ones that I picked up in the garment district and these get stitched on quickly in their respective positions it should be noted that I completely accidentally. Positioned, the closure in the men's fashion, that is left hand side over right hand side as opposed to vice versa but I'm not at all mad about this and in fact I think it was very much a happy, accident also, whoever needed gender norms anyway now there's just one more thing that I want to do before I call this waistcoat complete and that is to put some little stays behind the two darts at the front this was quite common practice, for bodices and even blouses, to keep a nice rigidity, to the front even on top of the corset I do plan, to actually wear this waistcoat, without a corset, so I think having the stays in front will still help to give it that subtly 19th century shape even in an everyday dressing, situation, so I have for synthetic baleen, bones leftover, from my corset project that will be perfect to use for this and I'm just pinning them on inside, some casings made from the remaining leftover, deerstalker, ribbon I must confess that the stay casings, would probably, not have been made from Petersham like I'm using here they likely would have been done with a narrow twill tape but, I couldn't be bothered to go out and buy some and thought I'd just use up what I had left in my stash which is my feeble claim to historical, attitude, if not, necessarily. Historical, practice, the, casings are fell down on both sides to secure them into place as this is how it appears to have been done on the two nineteenth-century bodices and blouse in my own collection. And. Thus. The waistcoat is complete this project has thoroughly solidified. My obsession, with historical, tailoring, although it does require lots, and lots, and lots of, skill and practice in order to get just right and beautifully, clean and I haven't quite gotten there yet but this project was still so satisfying, to work on I love the precision and technique involved, in tailoring and I do think that the waistcoat came out nice enough to wear regularly, in everyday dress I definitely, plan to continue experimenting. With making some more waistcoats, and tailoring. In general because I think it's a skill that forces you to start looking at your sewing and your skills and crafts generally with a more detailed and strategic, eye which, I think can be wholly beneficial the, main thing I wish I'd done differently, for this project is I really, wish I had put in a watch pocket I didn't think to since I put a watch pocket into the matching skirt but I sort of severely, regret this decision I mean how amazing would this look with the happy addition of a little watch chain but I suppose this is an endeavor to be explored, for next time and with that I shall thank you for joining me on this process and I wish you luck should you now be off on your own historical. Tailoring adventures.