One thing I love about making my own clothes is that I can make matching outfits. After making my 1902 walking skirt, I had quite a lot of fabric leftovers that were enough to make a matching waistcoat. Thus, I could again practice my tailoring skills! This was supposed to be a quick little project but finally, it took about two weeks and quite a lot of ripping and adjusting. It was all worth it, though!
I started with the waistcoat pattern that I drafted last year. This time I simplified it by leaving out the collar and one of the welt pockets. The previous waistcoat was a little too short for me, so I added about an inch to the overall length. To create slimmer lines still, I narrowed down the shoulders a bit and. I wanted the waistcoat to reach the lower edge of my skirt waistband so that I wouldn’t have my blouse showing between the waistcoat and the skirt. I also ended up cutting the back piece on fold which was more an accident than a conscious choice.
Just like before, I interfaced my waistcoat using light hair canvas interfacing. I tried my best to pattern-match even at the darts at the front. The slight misalignment that you can see on the picture above was something I ended up correcting later – even though it meant ripping out part of my hand-sewn interfacing. The strips of stripy shirting cover the darts. For the hair canvas, I cut away the dart parts and sewed the darts shut using wide zigzag stitch. The cotton strips keep the dart seams from unravelling.
The welt pocket and the lining
After sewing the main seams I created a small welt pocket on the right-hand side. Then I cut the lining out of stripy cotton shirting and sewed it onto the waistcoat. To fasten the lining, I first machine stitched the neckline and the front opening and then went over the same seam by hand from the right side to make a neat edge. With the other edges (armholes and the hem) I decided to forgo the sewing machine altogether and did everything by hand.
This time I decided to add more boning just to see what would happen. To prevent the waistcoat from becoming too heavy, I used artificial whalebone that I cut and shaped to the right length. I created boning channels out of white cotton tape that I then slip stitched in place by hand. It took ages!
Buttons and buttonholes
I am still practising to make proper-looking buttonholes. This time I decided to pull the knot to the outer edge of the buttonhole since I can’t get it to sit on top of my gimp very nicely. (Gimp is a stiff cord that gives tailored buttonhole a neat look. I only use white gimp but I dye it with Sharpie to match my fabric.) The wrong side of my buttonhole needs some work still although the stitches are getting better as I practice. However, I like to see the learning curve on my garments, so it doesn’t matter if my buttonholes still look a bit amateurish.
For the buttons, I chose to use the same metallic shank buttons that I used for my previous waistcoat. At that time I bought a whole bunch of them very cheaply and there were plenty of them left.
I was already celebrating the finished waistcoat when I put it on and wasn’t happy. The waistcoat was obviously too big. The biggest problem was at the bust line where the extra width made my armholes gape. Furthermore, there was this ugly bunching of fabric at the back of the waistcoat – accidentally I had made my lining a bit too short and it was pulling the hem upwards.
I waited to the next day and then ripped out the side seams. This meant also removing the boning at that seam. While I was unpicking, I took out the back hem, too, to fix the bunching issue. I took out about 3 cm from both sides (6 cm total) at the bottom of the armhole and then little less further down. It took a whole evening to fix the garment but finally, I had a waistcoat that fit! I left out the boning at the side seams, though, as I felt it might actually make the waistcoat look boxier.
The waist stay
The final thing to add was a waist stay and the hooks and eyes that anchor the waistcoat to my skirt (that got matching eye-parts for the hooks to hook into).
The finished waistcoat
Today I went to visit the Gallen-Kallela museum in my home town. It was snowing heavily when we got there and we were sadly settling for an indoor photoshoot. After touring the current art exhibition (it was great, btw) the snowfall had stopped and the sun was setting. We stepped outside and the sea was calm as the surface of a mirror and the view was magnificent! We couldn’t believe our luck!
February is not normally a month to step outside without a thick coat in Finland. This winter, however, has been strangely warm.
A little path took us down to the waterfront… and these pictures happened…
My husband said that the landscape looked like a studio background. Due to the warm winter we are having, the sea wasn’t frozen. The little snowfall that had ended just before we went outside made everything look magical.
Yes, there are still some issues with the waistcoat – nothing is perfect. The next time I will add more width to the lower part of the back pieces. Now, looking at the pictures, I can also see that some ironwork might remove some of the pulling I can see near the side seams of the waistcoat. Overall though, I am happy on how it turned out. It looks very nice with the walking skirt and I love wearing it.
One more picture! I had just gathered all our stuff to move closer to the waterfront when my husband started snapping pics. “What! Noo, I don’t want all this stuff messing up with my pictures!” I told him but he grinned and said that I looked like Mary Poppins with my jacket, satchel and both of our umbrellas. He was right!
This is all for today. Thank you for reading all the way to the end of this mammoth post! Happy sewing!