Monday, January 14, 2013


So the last week has been devoted to Marat's breeches and I managed to get them wrapped up this afternoon.

I've only made one other successful pair of pants in my life so this was a bit of a personal triumph. Consequently, this post is very GPOY-heavy.

Using the 1750s-1800s fall-front breech pattern from R.I. Davis' 17th and 18th Century Men's Costume, Cut, and Fashion, the mock-up came together well. The thighs took extensive fitting but the waist fit perfectly on the first go (hello, seven chocolate oranges consumed over Christmas. So that's where you went....).

The cotton muslin fabric is very close in colour to the final micro-suede fabric, which behaved quite differently when I sat down to do the final cut.

The fall-front itself took exceptional care to keep it neat and tidy. Here's a shot of it without the band across the top of the flap:

 And the interior workings, including the two "bearers" (it's the same pair, just different light):

And the finished top (only lacks the buttons and a good press):

Top-stitching is your friend here, boys and girls. I've never used it extensively in the past (lacking guts and a good excuse) but it's a darn good way of adding trims without excessive tomfoolery. Had to be particularly careful here because the microsuede has got a pretty good stretch to it and it tried all sorts of stunts under the needle.

Those are welts on either side of the flap. They are cut double on the fold and encase the raw edges of the flap.

Interestingly, fall-front breeches are still seen today as traditional Austrian/German lederhosen!


So adding the buttons this afternoon, I had to give it a go this evening.

 Tried it with the top-boots first but it was FAR too posh. (Though I'm definitely going with those boots if I ever do Camille Desmoulins' clothing....)

And then shoes/stockings.
Better. Less formal. But something's still not right.

Better! It was just a matter of un-strapping/un-buttoning the garter areas and letting the breeches drop down the leg a bit. A few steps around the house had the socks falling down too.

Probably takes a couple of inches off my height for sure. I remember reading the Lord of the Rings Fellowship movie book back in high school - the costume designer was talking about doing something similar for the hobbits' pants and it has stuck ever since. High waists and pants cut about five inches below the knee make for some shrimpy-arse people.
So! It's just a matter of being totally lazy in my dress which fits Marat's character perfectly. We'll talk about dressing carelessly in the next post.
Before we sign off, let's take a quick look sans jacket.

The high waist takes a bit of getting used to, not going to lie. But it's nice having my kidneys toasty warm. I have a hunch that these high-waisted breeches worked on the same principles as the joined hosen seen after the 1450s. You put the waist of the garment at your natural waist (around your navel) so it covers more and you don't get nasty back-drafts. Because you bend at your natural waist, it means the garment bends with your body. However, if you think you're cool and try wearing them 'gansta style,' (i.e. anything less than armpit height), you'll tear the crotch out in under ten steps.

There was more to add but my brain has ground to a halt for the night. Going to get the jacket finished this week and then it's on to the shirt and shoes and three million make-up tests.

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