Thursday, 5 January 2012

Regency Tailcoat

I realise that I failed fairly spectacularly to get this blog off the ground last year, mainly due to being too busy sewing to write about it! While that's not likely to change drastically, I do have some big plans for this blog and plenty of new kit made and being made to write about.Starting as I mean to go on I present one of my biggest achievements of last year - a regency inspired tailcoat for a steampunk event I went to.
My character is a Dirigible captain and so I wanted a practical, masculine outfit to reflect that. I decided that trousers and a tailcoat based on a 'ringmaster' theme would be the best bet and started my hunt. Since women didn't wear tailcoats as such there weren't any patterns available. Instead, I looked for a waistcoat pattern and fortunately found a perfect one with a collar already drafted.

I made a toile, mainly because I wanted to mess around a lot with the pattern. On the two front pieces I extended the centre fronts by about 4 inches each , guessing at how far they needed to extend. With the back and side pieces I added plenty of length, after measuring from waist to knee to get an idea how much we needed.
The sides got less added as I knew I wanted to grade in from the back to the front. Once I'd made the toile I used a marker to draw on more details of the fit and shape, including raising the waist significantly to give it more of the look of a Spencer jacket.
I then transferred the changes to the pattern, and cut the pieces out of my red velvet fabric, and navy cotton for the lining
I used a men's regency pattern for sleeves, since regency period sleeves are curved, and cut in two pieces.
I added 4 brass buttons on each side to give it a nicely military feel. When I was sewing up the side back seams I used D-ring tape on each side so that I could cinch in the waist.
The trousers were just based on some high waisted trousers I had a pattern for. I then just narrowed the leg and shortened the length. The waist is a genuine drop front which was done more through blind luck than anything scientific. I just curved them in towards the centre front, added 2 side panels and buttoned them up. The cord was a nightmare to work with, and the back of the trousers is a but shapeless but I'm please with how they turned out. The cuffs at the knee have a button closing them too.
The event itself was a Regency Steampunk LARP, which took place in the tunnels under a Napoleonic fort on the south coast, and was amazing. I was very pleased I went with something warm and practical, as it was cold and there was lots of fighting the French to be done. I am looking forwards to making a nice regency dress for the next one though!

Wednesday, 21 September 2011

First things first

I've started this blog to detail my costume making, from the initial concept through research and design and finally creation.
My other blog, Tea and Crumpets, is all about my day to day ramblings and my love of vintage clothes and I thought that this would be a good place to ramble on about costumes.
The outfits I make are generally for Live Action Roleplaying events. They're usually historically based, but with a fictional edge, making them more akin to theatre costumes than reenactment clothes.
Right now I'm planning outfits for a group of C15th characters, a dark ages dress and a steampunk outfit. Hopefully I'll post some of my concepts and ideas up in the next couple of weeks and then some pictures shortly after that.
As part of my costuming I'm taking a couple of courses in sewing, corsetry, millinery and pattern making. Hopefully I'll be able to post a bit about that too!
Stay tuned...