The waistcoat

Ah, everything about the ball in due course, but first things first. The waistcoat was completed on the night before the ball. I wanted a simple but elegant waistcoat in white or cream coloured silk. I was lucky to find the perfect material in one of our “finer” department stores. A soft silk taffeta with a woven pattern of leaves and branches. For the back and the lining I used bleached linen.

Again I didn´t use a pattern, but found useful and inspiring pictures of original and reproduction waistcoats online and in various books. I already knew what style I was going for – short waist, single row of buttons and a high collar to match the shirt and cravat. When cutting the pieces I used one of my modern waistcoats to achieve a good fit. I cut 2 front pieces from the silk and 2 pieces of linen for the lining.  Silk interfacing for the front. Collar in 2 layers of linen sandwiched between silk. Back 2 pieces + 2 identical pieces for the lining.  Time was running, so I machine-stitched the shoulder seams and side seams on outer fabric and the lining, before sewing them together, right sides in, at the collar opening. Then turned the right side out, and handstitched the armscyes. Checked the fit and then folded in and handstiched the bottom edge. Sewed on the collar. I also took time to pick the edges with tiny stiches. Later in the evening I made six buttonholes, covered the buttons and sewed them on. Mr Elton´s attire for the ball is done! You may notice a mistake. Take a close look or wait until l´ll reveal it in one of the upcoming posts.


4 thoughts on “The waistcoat

  1. Mr. Elton,
    I am attempting to make this waistcoat for an upcoming event. Like you I used an existing waistcoat for the pattern and basic fit. Unfortunately my model waistcoat does not have a collar so I am creating it. I am making a muslin and have gotten everything fitted together. My question is: how did you attach the collar to meet the lapels?
    Was it a simple “sew it on”?
    I see no mistake in your waistcoat. Like so many articles of attire that are hand crafted, the errors are only seen by the craftsman and not the viewer.
    Best wishes, James Rowland

  2. Dear James,
    I find it hard to explain in words. There is a proper way to attach a collar, I guess, and I already knew about the basics. Good to browse through books and online sources to get in the right mood. I more or less did it like these two costume-bloggers: The silk is thin so I put an extra layer of interfacing in the collar. The collar starts where the lapel ends, so they never really meet. (See third image above, the collar is shorter in lenght compared to the neck opening of the actual garment.) Carefully pressed the point where they meet. Pretty straightforward. Would be trickier if the collar was supposed to be folded down.
    The mistake is a silly one: the waistcoat closes on the wrong (or ladies´) side. The image above of me wearing it shows it clearly 🙂 I did the fitting in front of a mirror and the buttons and buttonholes ended up the wrong way. Realized this when I got dressed for the ball. The task of fixing this is a chore I could do without. Luckily the original set of buttonholes will be concealed when buttoning up the waistcoat the proper way.
    /Mr. E.

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