This was undoubtedly the most stressful piece of the entire project. Very vexing. Mainly because I wasn’t sure how I was going to pattern it to fit over my stays, as well as having the red and the blue piece that covers the vest. But, surprisingly my first mockup worked. And that was fantastic. I was so glad and excited.
For the process of patterning this, I used my stays. I put on all my under bits, the chemise, bloomers and stays. Then with the center placket I put it in backwards with the inside on the outside. I took chalk after I laced myself in and traced the outer edge of the placket on the stays. I needed to know how much space was between the stays in the front.
Take everything off and lay your stays on the ground in half. Also be sure to fold your placket in half laying it with the chalk marks facing the grommets. To get a better understanding look at the picture below.
Trace out the stays with the placket. Remove the stays from the pattern and draw out the lines that should be there. The back needs to have a curved seam like shown in the following picture. There also need to be the bit for the front shoulder as well as the two plackets in the front. Draw the larger placket first.
When all patterns are drawn onto the paper, mark out notches before you cut out each piece. Then take those pieces to more pattern paper and trace them out but adding seam allowances this time.
I forgot to tweak the pattern slightly, as the stays come up under the arm in the front to connect to the back of the shoulder strap, but I am okay with that happening on the vest. I made a quick mockup of the pattern and tried it on my mannequin.
The outcome wasn’t pretty. It looked to be too large and too small if that makes sense. But I left it. I let it sit there for about a week while I worked on the pockets before I got started on it again.
Grudgingly when the pockets were done it was time to get back to work on the vest. Before I did any tweaking I put on all my undergarments, stays, shift, bloomers, petticoats, and then the vest on top. I didn’t lace the vest up do to an error. I sewed up one side with the seams inside and the other with the seams on the outside. Which is fine. I pinned the pieces to me carefully. And when I got to looking in the mirror I realized that it looked pretty good.
It was still baggy, but I think that is more due to the muslin than my pattern. So I interfaced my fabric and got to work on cutting out the pattern. I cut out the pattern with the fabric/interfacing, a twill, and a lining. I flat lined the fabric and the twill together. Just so I could treat them as one piece.
Sew the back piece to the side pieces on either side. Before I sewed the side pieces to the side front I had to cut out two rectangles from the fabric with interfacing and the twill fabric. I folded them in half ironed and sewed in boning channels and areas where there will be eyelets. Do that to both pieces. The first piece that gets sewn in will attach on the left side needs to be accessible from the outside. The other lacing panel needs to be accessible from the inside on the other seam, the right seam.
Sew these in place before you add the side front. That way you have a basting stitch to hold the lacing panel in instead of pins. With the front panel on you just need to sew the red placket onto the left side, where the lacing is on the outside. The red panel is the big one. The one that goes underneath. So the free edge faces the grommets on the inside. Does that make sense?
The front blue placket gets patterned now, smaller and at an angle than the red. Attach this to the right side front, that way the eyelets meet up with the lacing panel on the outside.
I cut out each one out of twill as well. Interfaced the blue on for the front because the fabric was a little on the flimsy side. I sewed each placket to its respectable spot on this vest.
Here are the last pictures I took of this vest. I don’t have finishing pictures just yet, but I have one of the final costume.
The only things that remained were eyelets, sewn and metal ones, and binding the edges.
I decided the easiest way to finish the edges is to use bias binding. But to do that I would have to make some to match or buy a close enough substitute. I scrapped the lining idea when I realized that the inside would have lacing on it. It could be lined, but I didn’t want all the trouble it could possibly cause.
So I went back to my local JoAnn’s store and bought 5 inches of the fabric I used for the vest. I almost panicked when I thought they were sold out, but I forgot that I used the inside of the fabric instead of the outside.
After washing that bit of fabric I cut them into 1.5 strips, which left me with 3 strips. It should be more than enough for what I need. I bound the edges with the strips. The straps were the hardest part to bind. Normally I would hand sew the inside, but because I took on making a Cinderella dress for my sister I sped up the process on this one. I initially had a week left to work on this. But with the Cinderella peasant dress I made my time was cut short and I still needed to make the apron, skirt, and kerchief for mine.
I added boning channels at all the places there would be eyelets. One bone on either side. I will be using two different kind of steel bones, both flat steel, one thinner while the other regular. And then I also used zip ties for the other bones.
The eyelets you can see on the outside have been hand sewn, but the eyelets on the inside were hammered in eyelets size 00.
With all that done I was finished with this piece of the project. Sorry it seems so rushed. I felt that I was on a bit of a timer. As I will be yet again for the con in April.
There are only a few things I would do differently now. I would make the side front a little larger in width. It is short in the bust section by about an inch extra. It doesn’t bug me enough to go in there and add the section as I have the fabric and time to do so. But maybe one day it will fit perfect.
If you have questions don’t be afraid to ask. The next post will be the final post on this series. It will be about all the remaining bits. Necklace, pockets, apron, skirt, and kerchief.