Polly Oliver is so close to done. I just need to set the sleeves and collar.
Everything has been a bit of a battle so far – very Borogravian: always fighting (thanks to Jenni on facebook for making this link!).
Still, I’m quite pleased with how it is looking, even if I have put at least 14 lines of stitching into every single seam (that isn’t an exaggeration btw. I counted).
First, five years ago, I sewed the jacket together without any flat lining (stitching lines 1), thinking I would line it, but it was too soft and also not historically accurate, so I unpicked it, flat lined in in dark blue twill (stitching lines 2 & 3), and basted it back together with red piping between the seams (SL 4 & 5, because every time you sew a seam with piping you have to sew on the piping, and then re-sew the seam. Then I fitted it, unpicked the piping, moved the piping, and resewed the seams to the new fit lines (SL 6 & 7). Then I re-stitched slightly snugger seamlines close to the piping, to be very precise (SL 8). Then it sat in a box for 5 years.
When I pulled it out a few weeks ago, I didn’t like the red piping – it was too bulky, and didn’t give enough definition. So I took apart the jacket, and sewed it back together without piping (SL 9), but it wasn’t doing it for me. I thought about highlighting the seam lines with gold braid, but haven’t been able to find a gold braid that sews nicely in curves. Then – inspiration: a corset student of mine had bought gilded gold silk for her corset, but it didn’t look right. I offered to buy it off her, because it matched my red nicely.
Then, working on the sleeves, I noticed that I’d sewn the wrong side of the fabric facing out (d’oh, though it was very, very subtle). So I pulled the entire jacket apart again to turn the fabric around, and while I was at it took out the blue flat lining (because blue is an abomination unto Nuggan, and also it attracted cat hair like nobody’s business), re-flat lined in the same white as the vest (SL10), and sewed it back together right side out with gold piping (SL 11 & 12). Unfortunately, due to my little forget-to-add-buttoning-allowance to the vest snaffu, the jacket was now too snug, so I pulled it apart yet again, moved the piping to the edge of the seam allowance, and sewed it with smaller seam allowances (seams 13 & 14). Then I did a ton of re-fitting of the side-seams (at least 4 lines of stitching each) as I got the front bolero look to fit properly.
And that is what’s been taking me so long!
In addition to using the gilded gold silk for piping at each seam, I made piping with extremely wide flanges and used it to finish the bottom hem of the jacket, so that you see bits of gold at the turns of the pleats.
It’s all hand-sewn down on my new white flat lining with neat red stitching.
The buttons are the one thing that haven’t given me any hassle. I am so pleased with how effective my antiquing technique has been.
See? Lovely dull gold, perfect match to the round buttons, not too shiny.
I’m not sure about the button layout though.
Do you think I ought to spread the big buttons out a little more? Or move the top set down to the bottom end?
I could add more buttons, but I’ve only got 10 left, and I wanted to save four to go on the top of the back pleats, and another 6 for the skirt.
The four buttons will go at the top of the back and side back pleats where the piping ends.
It’s going to be quite spiffy, but goodness am I ready for it to be done!