Today I began a very ‘unique’ waistcoat, in that it’s drafted using Devere’s 1866 manual, has an 1890s or later styled collar, and is made out of a bright and very cheerful pink cotton seersucker fabric. So no, this is not period correct at all — rather it’s for a member of Connecticut Valley Field Music for wear during the hot and humid summer when we don’t want to wear the wool frock coats.

I began with the custom draft, of course, straight out of Devere’s, with the alterations for a collarless vest, since this will only have a false shawl collar (sorry, can’t remember the proper name at the moment), rather than the period correct style that goes all the way around the neck.

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I decided to cut out all of the pieces at once to make things a bit easier. On a small project like this it’s possible to keep track of all of the different pieces.

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To commence with the sewing, I first put together the collars, which are a very good quality, green velvet, lined with cotton drill. The pieces are sewn right side together along the longer outside edge of the collar.

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The seam allowance is trimmed to about 3/16″ in order for the collar to more crisply crease. Avoid clipping the seams, as this leaves jagged edges instead of a smooth line.

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The darts are sewn on the forepart.

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One of the darts pressed open. I added a dart along the neck edge to take up some of the excess material so prevalent in period drafts.

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Of course the darts must be placed into the linen canvas as well. This one seems to have been pressed in two different directions, which I fixed later on when I caught it.

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The forepart is basted to the canvas, being careful to avoid any slack in the forepart fabric which would later show in the finished waistcoat.

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Stay tape and a linen button stay are added to the front and around the sides of the vest for strength and to give a crisp edge to the finished vest. Both are basted and then cross stitched down.

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The stay tape is held on more tightly in certain areas, to help the vest hug the body more closely, rather than pull away.

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