Monday, January 7, 2013

O Ye of the Extra Face

Now where were we? Oh, yes, on the sewing hiatus that was supposed to be until February. A look at the calender tells me it's the second week in January. Well, you tried.

But that's okay! Because! Con season is rapidly approaching and our first up is Emerald City Comic Con in Seattle during the first three days of March.

After watching Les Miserables* a couple of weeks ago, I got my feels for the French Revolution back. I know it's not THE French Revolution but the young dudes in the waistcoats and tricoleur sashes got me jonesing to finish Jean-Paul Marat's outfit from last June. And because that's one of three outfits going to Emerald City, we'll talk about it tonight.

Could I get a reference image here?

Cool, thanks.

After fixing an initial fitting issue with the shoulders which had me stumped last summer, there wasn't much left to do to get it looking coat-like, apart from adding the collar.

Ignore the meters of linen shirt hanging out the front - Marat's coat fits him really quite snugly so I wanted to make sure mine was the same. The sleeves could stand to be a bit snugger but oh, look, an excuse to get back to the gym and get uber biceps. The lining shows on the revers (lapels) because I had intended on tacking the faux fur lining directly on to the coat. However, I would like to wear the coat by itself sans feral-looking fur lining but that remains to be seen.

Now the feral-looking fur lining is a bit of an anomaly as far as 18th century clothing goes. This was one of Marat's trademarks besides the turban and the well-developed skin disease (more on that later...). Simon Schama refers to it as an "ermine scarf" and while the former is certainly true, the latter isn't; anyone with anything beyond extreme hyperopia can see that it isn't a bloody scarf.

And so... fur lapels. Why? No clue. After a while you just stop asking 'why' with Marat and haul out your initial patterns to see what you can do. This is something I've learned over the years - when you are confronted with a potentially complex shape in sewing, grab a pencil and paper and sketch out a few quick designs (it actually helps to keep a notebook where you can jot down ideas/lamentations as you work). Here is what mine looks like with the fur lapel sketch:

Once you've got a basic idea of how the thing might look, grab any relevant pattern pieces and start playing with layouts. In this case, I knew the fur lining was a combination of the collar and the revers so I took the collar pattern and laid it out on the muslin with the front pattern from the coat. After a bit of tweaking, I cut the muslin so it looked like this:

I've had that tiger-print fur for some ten years now - bought it when I was doing a one-man show about Marat for the high school drama festival so I wanted to make sure the pattern was 100% correct before cutting into it. Tiger is a far cry from ermine but it is nigh impossible to get decent-looking faux fur around here. But it came together well.

The tiger print looks a bit... feline but it's easy enough to redo later.

I'm still totally undecided on the bottom half. As per the discussion on the initial post, it's a bit of a toss-up between breeches, long pants, a sheet, a towel, or whatever else. According to the artwork - contemporary and not - he's got a variety of stuff on.

 A sheet (?)

Either breeches or nothing at all but we'll assume breeches.

Looks like breeches again.

Breeches. Also, what the fresh hell is going on? Oh right, Marat.

Definitely breeches. Also, I approve of those socks and that attitude.

A bedsheet, but granted, he's in bed.

I will probably end up making breeches though opinions are more than welcome - feel free to drop them in the comments! If I do go the breeches route, I'll try them with the top-boots I made for Dr. Jacquin but they're probably a bit posh. And god knows, we can't have posh with this guy.

Marat's a neat dude - I'm sure he's inspired at least a couple dozen teenagers to lay in the tub with towels wrapped around their heads writing vitriolic things about society. Not like that's the voice of experience or anything.

Now that I've eaten half a Toblerone and drank two huge mugs of tea, supper time! Stay tuned for breeches this week. We won't be sans-culottes much longer! See what I did there. Hur hur.

For my two-cents on the film, I shall direct you to Tumblr. IMO, it should have been named Trรจs Miserable instead.

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