A New Black Silk Coat, part 3

Perhaps you wonder if the coat was finished in time? Well, I did wear it for the annual masked ball last Friday. For some reason I thought it was on Saturday, but a friend corrected me earlier this week, for which I am very grateful, otherwise I had been unknowingly sewing away on Friday night. I took the day off and had the coat in wearable state less than two hours before the ball. The rest of my attire consisted of black silk breeches, white waistcoat, stockings, and opera pumps. And the new wig, sprinkled with generous amounts of powder. Ready for 1792!

The ball was well organised as always. The music and the dancing was a treat (longways and quadrilles), and so were all the fabulous costumes (many zone-fronts, anglaises and one or two francaises), the hors d´oeuvres and the desserts.

Photo by Regencygentleman

I wore the coat with matching black silk breeches and a white waistcoat. Here I am, minutes before we parted, so I was pretty tired and the powder was everywhere…

Photo by Regencygentleman

A full view, including my knitted stockings and opera pumps. This ensemble, without the wig, would be appropriate formal attire about 1800-1820.

The assembly room was warm and crowded. This is when we rested our feet while watching a special quadrille being performed:

Me and my friend Camilla. I was melting away, so the moment before I removed my simple white mask. Terrific fan and terrific shot, don´t you think?

Look at this beauty: a wine fountain. Ingenious! I helped myself to one or two glasses while chatting away with friends.

I borrowed this one. Two ladies looking great while I apparently photobombed them. Photo by Magdalena Fick.

We withdrew to the smaller rooms upstairs for tea and coffee, and cakes and sorbets. They were in abundance and they were divine! It was nice to have time for some conversation with old friends and new acquaintances, but as always there were far too many to whom I only had time to say hello and goodbye…

Looks like I was channeling my inner Scarlet Pimpernel here, but I was just going home in the middle of the night. It was freezing.

Photo by Regencygentleman

I came home and had to take a foyer selfie for you, dear readers…

Some notes regarding the coat: I sewed on the standing collar and the self-covered buttons, but had to leave the buttonholes. I also saved the pocket flaps for later. Hopefully no one noticed. I was not willing to compromise with my handsewing only to regret it later. The front edges were prick-stitched, visible here:

One of the cuffs I wrote about in my previous post.

I finished the tails. Some unsightly puckering to the right, but it only shows in photos.

The day after I started on the buttonholes. I was planning to use this silk cord, and cut and pinned them in place, Hmm, I did not like the effect. They are too clumsy. I am afraid I have to sew buttonhole stitches after all… You can see the centre back seam where I quickly overcast the raw edges of the seam allowance.

Conclusion: I am quite happy with the coat, but it needs some finishing touches. Hopefully I get them sorted out before next wearing. In the future I might even consider adding more trim…

Photo by Regencygentleman

Updating my Wardrobe: a New Black Silk Coat, part 2

I thought I’d update you on the status of the coat. I’ve had some work weekends lately but the ambition has been to sew half an hour or so on weekday evenings. (It is sort of difficult so handle black silk at night when ones eyes are tired.)

Fitting the sleeves. The tails are still unfinished. The taffeta looks like stiff paper here…

Over to the button factory. This style of coat needs large, covered buttons, and I decided to make my own from inexpensive wooden craft buttons, 30 mm in diameter. The ones I found come in bags with a dozen, and we already had some spare ones in a glass jar filled with craft supplies, so there are enough. Two at the back, two on each cuff, and between nine and eleven buttons on the front, depending on what looks best. They are all non-functional, so no need for real buttonholes!

This is when I drilled holes in the wooden button for the shank, made from wire:

Making self-covered buttons.

The buttons are then covered in black taffeta:

Next step: covering the wooden buttons with silk.

I found a nice cuff that was in vogue 1785-90, as seen on several coats in V&A:

Coat, striped silk, c. 1785-1790. These buttons are gorgeous, aren´t they? Notice the nice handmade stitches? Victoria and Albert museum, T.92-1962.

Here I pinned a cuff on one sleeve:

The cuff is pinned in place to check the fit.

It can work, I think.

On to the collar and sewing on the buttons. And finishing the tails and the hem. Did I tell you I was planning to wear this coat in less than 24 hours? Fingers crossed…