Apr 2008

Older Projects – 18th Century Men’s Suit I

   Posted by Atra Materia in Historic

(Click to embiggen!)

Circa December 2007 – This was my entry for the Dixie Stables winter costume contest. The black fabric is once again off the dollar table – contents are of unknown origin, but it has a good amount of weight to it.

The vest and breeches were modified from the now-discontinued Simplicity 5958 pattern that included costumes for George Washington, Ben Franklin, and Davy Crockett type characters, as well as a generic Thanksgiving-style pilgrim. I removed the excess seam from the front of the justaucorps and combined it with the vest to produce a sleeveless garment without the gaping and draping issues that would have been present had I simply left the sleeves off the coat. The breeches have button strips at the fly and knee, though no pockets. I also need to modify the waist so that the button portion of the fly won’t be at my bloody hip (the pattern is intended for men, and even using what was otherwise the correct size, I had to attach the buttons well off to the side and pull the flap across to meet it).

I’ve previously made a justaucorps (your standard ‘pirate coat’) using the same pattern. It came out well, but there are some inaccuracies I’d like to correct the next time around – it needs side slits and skirt pleats at the very least, and properly ought to have some sort of strange little insets in the back. It’s still a nice coat (so nice, in fact, that I’m afraid to wear it most of the time – it’s red velveteen lined with red satin, and has thirty bucks invested in buttons alone), and I thought about wearing it as well, but it covered up a lot of the work I’d put into the rest. Technically, a gentleman was indecent without his coat, but I’m a cross-dressing pirate and no part of that term applies to me. ^.~

The shirt, of unbleached muslin, was pulled from an earlier-period costume and isn’t altogether accurate for the eighteenth century – the main issue is that it doesn’t have a standing collar and therefore nothing to attach a stock to.

The ‘stockings’ are two pairs of white ladies’ knee-highs – I didn’t realize that the breeches wouldn’t be quite long enough to meet the boots once I folded the latter down, so they were a last-minute addition (literally – we stopped at Wal-Mart on the way to the party). The sash is a wrap that came with one of my formal gowns, the head covering is a scarf tied bandana-style, and the hair jingles are beads and craft-department coins strung on six-strand embroidery thread. I aged the map – a piece of scribbled-on printer paper – with tea and crumpling.

All buttons are functional.

The horse’s name is CSF Dixie Silk (‘Val’), and he’s an American Saddlebred somewhere around seventeen years old. It didn’t occur to me until too late that I should have made a flag to drape from the saddle, so I told everyone that his part of the costume was that I’d stolen him. ^.~ He’s the getaway horse!

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