elizabeth_mn: (seaside)
Well, if being sick isn't stopping me from working, then family visits are. Both are finally over, though!

Today I finished this shirt for my man. It's cotton lawn, and mostly machine-sewn. I hand-hemmed the front split and anywhere else I thought might show, but machined everything that will be hidden when he is fully dressed.

If it looks lumpy, please remember it's on my (lady) dressform.

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More! )

I've also made some progress on the SuperHighWaist breeches, and started drafting a collar for the waistcoat. More on that soon.

The Plan

Aug. 17th, 2013 08:17 am
elizabeth_mn: (seaside)
Here's the Regency suit plan so far. I started a Pinterest board for men's Regency stuff and I've been thinking about available styles. Once again, this is not my favorite period, but I guess I will try to skew a little earlier.

I showed some examples to The Man and he gave me his opinions. His preference for single vs. double breasted, cutaway tail shapes, lapel width, etc. He has some strong opinions! No problem with short pants, but puffy sleeves are absolutely verboten.

I also identified what I want to emphasize as the defining characteristics of the era (1810-ish):

High, fold-down collars
Wide, M-notch lapels
Plain fabrics
Light-colored waistcoat and breeches with dark coat, in 3 different fabrics
Cutaway coat with smooth, narrow tails
Neatness and austerity

I think that's enough to make it look Regency vs. 18th century, even if I make other adjustments.

As for the waist placement, I will keep it well under the fullest part of his body and play with exact placement in the mock-up stage. Suspenders will be a must. I realize now that the terrifying cameltoe you see in so many portraits and fashion plates is a result of the tension from suspenders! I had the same problem with my man a few years ago when I tried to fit his 18th c breeches with suspenders. The crotch wrinkled crazily and looked weird and wrong. But now I guess that's the look I'm trying to create, alas.

So:

Shirt
squares and gussets cut
small frill at front slit opening
plain cuffs
high collar worn turned up
neck and cuff buttons & loops
Use Cut of Men's Clothes pattern

Breeches
Use J P Ryan pattern as a base
Raise waist in front
Reduce fullness in rear
Fit with suspenders
Make front fall opening narrower?

Waistcoat
Keep waist as high as possible without looking stupid
Standing collar and lapels
Buttons left open 1/3 down from top
Single breasted

Coat
Waist slightly higher than waistcoat
High fold-down collar
M-notch lapels
Rounded (concave) cutaway
Single breasted
Very slight fullness in sleeve cap

Colors
My man will absolutely never wear white apart from his shirt, so the whole white pants/vest thing that seemed so popular is out. But I think we can compromise on some light colors.

Lightcolored breeches – grey, buff, beige
Lightcolored  waistcoat – grey, cream, buff
Dark coat – navy blue, black
elizabeth_mn: (seaside)
I spent the week after coco doing laundry and recovering, then it was time for Irish Fair weekend. It was a blast and exhausting in a good way. I danced a lot and spent time with some of my favorite people.

But now that's over and I can think about sewing again!

The next thing I need to make is my man’s Regency suit. We have a Regency theme dinner in September. I thought I might make something for myself too but really now, I know there isn't time, so I plan to make do with my curtain dress – maybe a few fresh accessories can make it more 90s? I could pair the jacket with a muslin petticoat, full neckerchief, and a turban-ish headwrap. So definitely not Regency but a little closer to the idea.

I'm basically starting from scratch with the suit. First he needs a new shirt, which is easy. For the breeches I plan to use the J.P Ryan 18th century breeches pattern. It's early but the knee-length style remained in use for evening throughout the 18-teens, and I know it works. The vest I can enlarge from diagrams/make up. For the coat I might try the Laughing Moon pattern.

The biggest hurdle is making the fashionable ideal work with my husband's figure. The Regency fashion plate ideal is tall, skinny, almost grasshopper-like in its effect. He is stocky and broad-shouldered, with a full waist. The low waist of the 18th century is great for him, but the high waist of 1810 would just look silly.

Ex. This larger guy is totally making it work in 1770s dress. The vest ends well below the fullest part of the stomach.

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But the up-to-the-armpits look of the early 1800s?



(Let's just ignore the camel toe for now.) This vest and coat end in the middle of the torso, putting the horizontal line at the fullest part of a larger man's stomach and increasing the width visually. Not to mention how to properly fit that on a larger man. With pants at that height, it would be hard to keep them up without some kind of suspenders. Until they get to the point where the torso starts to narrow again, there's nothing for the waistband to hold on to. Geometrically, It's like trying to belt a pair of pants to the bottom of an orange.

This caricature is kind of what I am talking about. The larger man's belt is sitting below the stomach, where most guys these days wear their jeans. The pants go up high and the short coat cuts him off unattractively at the midsection.



So what I need to find are portraits from the era (1805-15-ish) showing how larger men adapted the fashions to their bodies. Surely nobody wanted a portrait they paid for to look unflattering. And surely not all men had the grasshopper bodies of the Regency fashion drawings. I want to figure out how much I can alter the silhouette before it loses all the defining characteristics of the era.
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