I actually cut most of the coat out on Monday afternoon – I say most of it as, since this is a highly experimental coat there’s no pattern and there are a few bit’s I’d rather not cut until I’ve fiddled with putting the other bits together. BUt then I had a pause, since yesterday was valentines and we had a day out at the medical museum (not nearly as romantic as we’d hoped, not a pickled cadaver in sight = pffft!)
I’ve no idea if it’s how one is “meant” to do things, but I nearly always start with the sleeves, and since in this case the sleeves are one of the most technically difficult bits, I’m going to start and end with them – do one, then do the other once I’m sure the first fits comfortably onto the coat.
Originally I had thought to do a one piece sleeve with the buttons in place of the seam, very simple. But as I began chalking the pattern onto the green silk I finally began to see the coat in more three-dimensional form and realised that this was wrong. Firstly the buttons would sit too far to the back, whereas I want the sort of to the side and back, and secondly because this would lead to too much stress on the buttons around the elbow – you rarely hold your arm truly straight anyway.
Therefore the sleeve would have to be shaped to a slight curve, as many pieces of historical tailoring do. A quick mock up with some old curtain lining also made me see that the button seam needed to be slightly offset, so my simple one piece sleeve became a quite complicated three piece cut – five if you include the facings on the backs of the button panels. In fact it was so complicated I lost track of my own cleverness and sewed it together wrongly the first time round, meaning I had to do quite a lot of naughty swearing as I unpicked.
As you can see I haven’t yet finished the top of the sleeve – this won’t be done until I fit it into the buttons on the shoulders. I also haven’t made the very top buttonhole, as I think this one may have to be bigger – the shoulder buttons are medium and these are small – I think the top button will have to go through two holes, one in the sleeve and one in the shoulder, so it will have to be medium.
I’m also slightly concerned that I may have to carefully shimmy a little bit of extra leeway round the top of the sleeve, but I wont know until I get there. Am kind of ever so slightly working without a net here. Stitching on the edge?
After a whole day of handsewing buttonholes I was very excited to sew on the very first button though.
“Isn’t it exciting?” I squealed as I showed Gareth.
“Very nice,”says he, “Now do the whole thing with lots of identical buttons and it will be very smart.”
I swear he went a peculiar colour as I showed him the progress so far. I don’t think he gets the whole concept thingy .
Gareth is also most insistent that I don’t tell the internet that his cat HObbes was officially doagnosed by the vet this morning as being ever so slightly porky. Poor Hobbesy, his diet starts in the morning.
~ by opusanglicanum on February 15, 2012.