Monday, March 25, 2013

HSF #6: A tiger of different stripes

The Challenge: #6 -- Stripes! I did a striped man's frock coat for Mr. E. in exchange for him making me some more wooden threadwinders.

Fabric: Well, it's stripey...I'm only guessing at the fabric content but it's quite like a soft canvas, so I'm assuming a good bit of cotton content. I'm not the best judge of these things but it didn't feel like a synthetic at all.

Pattern:  Simplicity 0857, modified...the amount of fabric in the gores was would've looked like a flared button-front dress on Gentleman E., so I did away with all but the back one. Also the cuffs were weirdly huge and floppy so those got modified as well.

Year: We'll call it anywhere from 1740-70 (i.e. I really don't think it'd be right in any one of those decades so we'll just lump them together, oh well)

Notions: Thread, buttons, canvas for button stand.

How historically accurate is it? Because I haven't researched menswear as much, it's kind of an approximation...also the inside seams are machine done because if I'm not wearing it, I just can't bring myself to care that much, haha. But all visible seams are done by hand and the buttonholes are half-machined and then hand-finished. There's a button stand added to keep the buttons from pulling all out of whack after normal wearing, which I learned about from Hallie's post. I don't know if I did it quite correctly but it really does help keep the buttons looking straight and sturdy!
    The coat is not lined because the weather here when we usually have our main summer re-enactment is VILE. The French fort is nestled in basically a floodplain bowl between bluffs on either side of the Mississippi (those idiots never did have a good head for feasible building sites, see: New Orleans) that yes, occasionally floods, but more often crushes you with the humidity that settles down like an invisible thick unbreathable soup and leads to 100+ F afternoons. I know that in areas like South Carolina, colonial coats were sometimes left unlined because of the interminable heat, so I chose to do that as well because I'd rather spend time thinking about how miserable (yet fabulous) *I* feel in layers of petticoats and gowns and caps and hats than listen to Mr. E. grouse about his hot coat. Also for that reason it's intentionally quite are his shirts...his wrinkly get the idea. Tight things make him squirm and protest. So he doesn't QUITE cut the ideally dashing figure as it always looks like he's wearing the clothes of a bigger guy, but as long as he's happy!

Hours to complete: Probably around 8.

First worn: Not really yet! Just to try on. Hopefully next weekend for an event, but if not then it'll be worn early June.

Total cost: I think the fabric was about $4 from the thrift store, and the thread was probably almost as expensive.

He was quite the ham when he first put it on.

Close-up of the buttons and the button stand, functional pockets. 

 I really dislike menswear, partially because it's hard to understand, having spent a good part of my life shopping for and sewing for and bemoaning the female figure, which despite its weirdness is at least familiar in trying to fit. But men! At least, the one and only that I've had to try to pin things on is, himself, like a bunch of squares and rectangles...which should seem to make it easier, but it's been a strange transition. While it turned out better than I thought, for the HSF By the Sea challenge I'm thinking about doing another one for Mr. E now that I know a bit more. Could I be...starting to enjoy menswear?! We'll see! If I could get good at it, it would be lucrative around here because there are a great many more male re-enactors than female and it might pay off to be able to sell men's items.


  1. Grrrrrl, you did an AMAZING job on his outfit. I still need to work up the nerve to make a pair of breeches for my gentleman.

    In other news, this happened:
    I have nominated you for the Very Inspiring Blogger Award!

    1. Oh lawd, it's one big hot Simplicity mess going on up there, to be honest. But he doesn't care, and as long as he's not wearing the god-awful bum-cheek-exposing breechcloth he used to prance around in before I got my more cultured hands on him (but not his bum, I swear), I'm content.

      And thank you muchly, I like those kind of happenings...