Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Custom Orders: The Ten Eyck Coat

I've had in influx of custom orders in the past month that are keeping me busy. Right now I'm working on an 18th C open-front gown. Then I got an order for six pairs of breeches from the Theatre Workshop of Nantucket, meant for their production of Cinderella. After that I got an order for a tailcoat, an Edwardian skirt, more breeches and a waistcoat. With all that and my other two jobs, my order queue is full up through Christmas. Custom orders are nice because they pay more, but they tend to have sharp deadlines. I don't have room to stock a hundred of yards of fabric, so I have to order fabric almost every time I get an custom order. And I'm just so nice that I schedule shipping dates sooner than I should. Or maybe it's just that I have two other jobs that keep getting in the way.

The Andres Ten Eyck Coat.

The tailcoat order in my queue is for a replica of a surviving 18th Century coat that belonged to a Dutch immigrant, a Loyalist during the War for Independence. The coat now lives in the Missisquoi Museum in Quebec.

The coat is scarlet wool with linen lining and brass domed buttons. I already have the scarlet wool and brass buttons, ordered from Wm. Booth Draper(once again, very fast shipping). The linen lining and buttonhole thread are coming from fabric.com. I really wanted to order silk twist for the buttonholes, but at $6 for 22 yards of thread, for thirty buttonholes it would have added roughly another $20 to the material cost.

 The back vent. The rough measurements of the original coat are 40 long, 34 chest, 17 from shoulder to shoulder, and a 26 inch long sleeve- a little bit smaller overall than my client.

Cuff detail.

 Pictures courtesy of the Missisquoi Historical Society. 

For more information about the coat contact Curator Heather Darch via the Missisquoi Historical Society website, or visit the 100 Objects Quebec Anglophone Heritage Network site. Stay tuned! Coat construction starts mid-November.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Sewing at Pigtails

Yes, I made that, and a fuzzy green turtleneck to match. Oscar the grouch- and parents let their children watch this show?

Every time I go to work at Pigtails the Woman of Energy throws something new at me. I just finished Oscar the grouch, 1970's belts and tunics, and a Bugs Bunny head(still working on that one). This past week it was Kristoff from "Frozen". The Woman of Energy prefers to have things altered rather than constructed from scratch, which sometimes just makes things harder.I spent hours hand-sewing the fake fur onto Kristoff's repurposed leather jacket; it almost would have been faster to make it from scratch. Once they get Kristoff's outfit in the window, I'll post a picture of it. I'll certainly be glad to have the fake decapitated mutilated head display out of the window. You're not getting a picture of that.

Custom order. A cape based on an anime character. Whaaatever- it was difficult to sew the long gold strips down the center and sides. I got the gold fabric from an old choir robe. The Woman of Energy has a whole rack of old choir robes.

The Woman of Energy buys all her things second-hand, which is certainly affordable but not always advisable when it comes to sewing notions. You always need a good, steady machine, and very sharp accessories. When I arrived on the scene, she had neither. The tools were junk and the sewing area was a mess. Now it's been a month and I've made some sense of the mess and sharpened some of the tools, but the machine remains.

The 1970's- so not my era. This was from a second-hand sheet. I don't think I could sleep on such a busy print.

I don't know if all Brother sewing machines are this bad, or if it's just from being abused by inexperienced sewers, but the shop has three old Brothers, and they're all so horrible to work with it just makes one want to jump off a cliff rather than use them.

An epic vintage cape I got to repair.

Working at Pigtails-a good experience for the resume!