Well, only three weeks late for the Historical Sew Fortnightly Challenge, and 5 years and 3 months after I started it, the Monstrous Regiment inspired Polly / Oliver jacket is finally done!
I’m very proud of the end result, but it does suffer from being five years behind the times where my sewing skills are concerned. I re-fitted and draped as much as possible, but there was a limit to how much I could rescue the original work (which wasn’t the best example of my sewing skills five years ago to start with, having been draped and started in a mad rush).
There was many a time when I was tempted to can the project, scrap the fabric, and move on to something easier. Looking at it, I’m actually amazed that I didn’t. The sleeves were just as troublesome and difficult to finish as the rest of the jacket, I put them in, tweaked, adjusted , set them, re-set them, bag lined them, took that apart, flat lined them, set them, re-set them, re-set them, re-set them, re-set them, finally got them where I was reasonably happy, triple-stitched the armscye, and then realised that 1) I’d sewn the wider piece of the 2-piece sleeve with the right side of the fabric facing in to the flat lining, and the wrong side facing out, and 2) the sleeves were only sewn together with basting stitches, but they were very firmly sewn into the armscye.
Crap-dy crap crappers von Crapperkins.
You know what I did? I sewed as far up the sleeves as I could with proper stitches, and left it. I know when to cut my losses. The wrong-side is so subtly different it’s almost impossible to notice. The jacket looks good. It’s not going to be historically accurate at this point, and it’s not worth the time.
Except for some teeny-tiny issues around the sleeves, it fits well. It’s striking, it will look fantastic once the skirt is done (I’m saving that for the Whites challenge), and the hat is done, and I’ve had enough.
So I sewed on the last buttons on the back of the jacket and on the sleeve cuffs, put the jacket on over jeans (note to self: wearing jeans over a corset is weird), and got Mr D to take pictures of it.
The Challenge: Literature: Inspired by the character of Polly / Oliver Perks in Terry Pratchett’s Monstrous Regiment, re-imagined as an 1880s outfit.
Fabric: 1.5m of red cotton jacquard, 1.5m of white cotton sateen, both gifts from friends. 40cm of gilded gold silk, $22
Pattern: My own, based on period examples
Year: 1886 does late 18th century historicism
Notions: 25 round brushed gold buttons for the false waistcoat, 14 antiqued gold buttons for the false bolero and jacket back, two old gold buttons for the jacket cuffs, all from inherited/gifted stash (so free), piping cord ($2).
How historically accurate is it?: The pattern is period perfect, and all the sewing and techniques used are period accurate. The fabric and overall aesthetic: not so much. It would probably have passed muster as a fancy dress or theater costume, though even with these cotton would be an odd choice. Let’s say 50%
Hours to complete: Oh dear. That doesn’t bear thinking about. We’re heading into 50+ territory – so much unpicking and re-sewing!
First worn: For photos. I’ll finish the skirt for the White challenge.
Total cost: $24. At least it wasn’t expensive! (and strictly speaking, I have over half of the gilded gold silk left to use on another project).