Morning Coat. shirt, and vest. by Patw


Pattern Selected


I'm doing a total about-face, and dropping the dolls (figuratively) for a while. Got a very discouraging review on Etsy, which brought up some things that I honestly need to work on. Customer refused a refund, so either she was not THAT displeased or she just wanted to nitpick.

Anyhow, our Historical Society's house tour is coming up at the end of September, and I promised my son an outfit. Our community was originally a Methodist camp meeting, established in 1869. Don wants to docent the Historical Society's museum-- 1/3 of a triple cottage, built in the early 1870's. We looked at pictures of its residents, looked at available patterns, and settled on an 1880's morning coat from Reconstructing History. Black wool broadcloth has been ordered from Burnley & Trowbridge, and should arrive in the next few days. I'm currently working on the muslin.

A trip to New York City is in order, probably Friday or Saturday, to purchase things one cannot get at JoAnn's or the quilt fabric store. Like tailor's canvas, silk lining fabric, good cotton shirting... proper tailoring and menswear fabrics. Haven't tailored in many, many years, but hopefully the skills will come back.

Set the sleeves in the muslin and did some adjustments to the back.  Looks pretty good.

August 11:  Yesterday, son and I went to New York. Purchased ALL the stuff I need to complete the project. We began with a trip to the famous Tender Buttons to select some wonderful buttons for the vest. We settled on some carved mother of pearl ones-- not cheap, but unique and wonderful. A lot of people have complained about that store's customer service; I have no problems with them because I like to select for myself-- no hand holding!  Then we went downtown to the rag district. Good old Paron supplied linings, we found a red tone-on-tone brocade for the vest, got our tailor's canvas, and Hamed Fabrics had some gorgeous cotton shirting. Was pretty beat by the time we got home-- we'd also done a bit of subway riding to kill time until our train, and to reward Don for his considerable patience. Yes, I was buying for him, but fabric shopping is not a guy thing.

Now to cut the wool. Going to do it on the front porch-- NO CATS ALLOWED!  It is inevitable that SOME cat hair is going to get on it when I stitch, but I'd like to keep it to a minimum.

August 12  Did not cut the wool yesterday, after reading the advice on pre-shrinking it in another set of pattern instructions. It seemed a sensible idea, and I did it. I'll unwrap it and dry it today. I did cut the linings and some of the canvas pieces. The vest pattern has not yet arrived, so I'll cut the shirt and maybe, JUST maybe stitch some of it.

Here's a link to a picture of the triple cottage. The Historical Society owns the first section shown here.

August 13. Cut out the shirt. I'll start stitching tomorrow.

August 16. Shirt front and back assembled. I'm waiting a bit for the back to dry fully-- I used water removable marker, and found that I had to fully soak the fabric to get it all out. Dried it mostly with the iron, but I'm stitching on a Bernina Artista, and don't want to mix dampness and computers.
 Being an ex-Rev-War re-enactor, I'm sort of hard-wired to be as authentic as possible, but this shirt is going to be a hybrid. Don liked the dress shirt B in Laughing Moon 107, but prefers buttons instead of studs for the front and an attached collar. Ah well, it's a bespoke garment, and I suppose a gentleman COULD ask his tailor to make something different to suit his taste and convenience. I'll be hand felling the seams-- I don't hand stitch beautifully, but the fabric has a tendency to creep, so doing it on the machine would be an exercise in frustration.

Received the vest pattern yesterday Reconstructing History 928. The smallest size is a 38; Don's a 36, so I threw up my hands and cut a muslin. Probably better that way anyhow!

August 17. Found I'd failed to cut a shirt piece, so yanked out the pattern, found it-- on the last page of the tissue, naturally-- and got it done. Next step is to make the sleeves. Would like to get them set today, and s000000000000000000000pend the late afternoon on the lporch hand stitching. (There is a gray paw on my keyboard!)

August 20. Finished the shirt this morning, removed the markings, and it's drying in the shower. I'm now out on the porch cutting out the vest. I was going to line that with the black stuff that's going into the coat, but found something better in my stash. It's a black-green (appears to be gray) shot silk sari fabric that's unusually stiff. Since the red is extremely soft-- really too soft-- I think it will be perfect with the underlining to give it the right weight. It will also make the back of the vest.

August 21. Getting ready to baste underlinings in the vest and the coat. Read the historical notes on the pattern, which I had not received when we went fabric shopping, and discovered that loud vests were out of style in the 1880's. *Le Sigh* I considered reversing the fabrics, but decided not to. We're cheating on the pants for this time, with a 19th century style pair to be made later. Since I haven't got the fabric for those, I will plan to make a matching vest when I do. Don's planning to docent the cottage on a regular basis-- it's open one day a month at this point-- so they'll get used.

August 24. Spent all day yesterday basting the underlinings in the coat, and then basting the whole garment together. Tried it on Don, and the thing seems to work. Needed to adjust the side back seams at the top-- the kid's got his momma's flat back. I am opting for minimal underling-- just the upper body of the coat, owing to the heavy-ish fabric. The vest fits fine, and I'll stitch most of it today.

August 26. Got a little stalled on the fiddly bits on the vest-- namely the welt pockets. There are three of the little buggers. I'm doing them by hand to avoid screwups. Got one half-finished, then decided that we need some cookies, took a day off from stitchery, and baked. Today, I went to the machine, sewed the lining, made the rear belt, and put it onto the back. Tomorrow, I'll get back to doing pockets, and complete the fronts except for the buttonholes and buttons.

September 4  Vest was finished a few days ago. Now, on to the coat. AND I've hit a snag. On the pattern, the side pockets appear to be installed in the waist seam. In the instructions, they appear to be placed higher, in the upper part of the front. The illustration of the finished garment shows it in the waist seam-- and having thought it through, that's where it's going! 

September 11. Taking the day off. It's getting up to 90 with considerable humidity in the air, and black wool is not what I want to stitch right now! However, yesterday, I made good progress. The four pockets have been installed, and look fairly good. The lining is stitched together. The outside of the coat is mostly assembled. Should be able to complete it this weekend, when the weather gets back to being FALL!

September 16. Spent the weekend working on the coat. Put the collar on, made the buttonholes, sewed on the buttons, and was ALMOST ready to put the lining in when I found that I'd put the sleeves in wrong. Ripped out, straightened out, restitched, and am hoping to get most of it done today. The plan is to sew the upper body and sleeves, check the fit (breath held and fingers crossed) and finish tomorrow.  The two pictures just posted show it displayed on my dress form, which is not the right shape. But it does keep it away from the cats! Despite the fact that neither of them has had direct contact with it, there's still cat hair on that coat-- mostly Erich's angora fuzz.

Breaking briefly. I couldn't figure out why the lower part of the lining was shorter than the outside of the coat when it was on the dress form. Being able to lay it flat on the porch tables, I realized I sewed a piece upside down. That part of the lining is fortunately still loose, so it's an easy fix.


Ready to cut.
Pretty buttons!
Front and back of shirt.
Finished shirt
Finished vest
Coat front





I just took a look at that pattern and that looks like an adventure! I had never seen Reconstructing History's site before. The coat reminded me of Jimmy Page who did a modeling stint for John Varvatos this year, and he wears a knee length black coat:
Maybe your son can be a fashion maverick and wear the coat with an all black ensemble when he's out on the town.


What an ambitious project and I love that your son is interested. I can just picture in my mind how the red brocade tone on tone vest with the black broad cloth will look finished. I have made 1870's dresses for docents, but never a man's outfit. Pleas post pictures as you go along!


Charwirfs I can't see Don as a fashion maverick. I'm trying to urge him into a young man about town persona for the House Tour, however. We found that the silk top hat that's been sitting around their downstairs fits him perfectly, and is just what the outfit needs.


Patw really love the red and the buttons are wow! Keep us posted.


Bowhows I'm a bit peeved at the pattern instructions. At this point, I'm summoning all my experience, referring to them occasionally, and just making the blasted thing. The pattern itself is fine, but it did bother me when they asked me to place a pocket on a marking that wasn't there, and used illustrations which shows another style of coat.

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