19th Century

Polly / Oliver Waistcoat, buttons

The Historical Sew Fortnightly ‘Literature’ challenge is due today.  I do not know if it will be done today.

As I write this I’m curled up under a pile of blankets, with a cup of lemon echinacea tea, the heater blasting, and a box of tissues.  Yep.  I’m out with a cold.

Instead of sewing, I spent most of yesterday sleeping.  I’m feeling a bit better today, and am hoping to get the bodice done today, but taking care of myself is going to have to come first.

So what have I got done?

Cut and sewed the false waistcoat front:

Polly / Oliver bodice/waistcoat thedreamstress.com

The front, neck and bottom front edges are finished with narrow piping.

Polly / Oliver bodice/waistcoat thedreamstress.com

I forgot to add in allowance for an overlap for buttons and buttonholes when I cut the waistcoat pieces, so my front edges are sewn with the narrowest possible seam allowances.  I’ll also sew the side seams with teeny seam allowances, and lace my corset a bit tighter.  Will it actually fit me when sewn together? I hope so!

Before finding that out, I worked buttonholes on the centre front.  Since there are 24 buttons running down the waistcoat front, and there were buttonhole making sewing machines by the 1880s, I’ve gone for machine buttonholes rather than bound buttonholes.  24 bound buttonholes would probably be the end of both me and the fabric!

Polly / Oliver bodice/waistcoat thedreamstress.com

Now for the moment of truth: will the bodice fit?  I basted the side seams together, tried it on….

Polly / Oliver bodice/waistcoat thedreamstress.com

Hallelujiah!  Praise Nuggan!  It pins!  And look at that smooth line!
Polly / Oliver bodice/waistcoat thedreamstress.comIt doesn’t look half bad over my Gay Red Shirt either…

Whew!  Now I can actually invest the effort to sew on all 24 buttons:

Polly / Oliver bodice/waistcoat thedreamstress.com

I am so pleased with the buttons – they are courtesy of my fantastic button stash, inherited from Nana & Grandma, and accumulated over the years.  If I had to buy 24 of these buttons it would cost me a fortune!

Polly / Oliver bodice/waistcoat thedreamstress.com

So what’s left to do?  Bind the jacket front, bind the jacket back hem, and the neckline.  Bind the sleeve hems.  Set the sleeves.  Sew the shoulders properly, set the collar.  Re-sew the side seams with the jacket front.  Trim the jacket with lots of gold.

And stay warm and drink lots of fluids and get some rest!  That’s the most important!

Polly / Oliver bodice/waistcoat thedreamstress.com


  1. Lynne says

    Dear Dreamstress

    I am Leimomi’s honorary Auntie Lynne. Would you please give her an extension on her project for the ‘Literature’ challenge? She has put in a lot of work on it, but has unfortunately come down with a cold. I do hope you will agree that it would be better for her and for the project if the deadline could be extended for a couple of days.

    Kind regards

    Lynne McDonald

  2. Lynne says

    It’s looking terrific – lovely fit! And how wonderful that you had all those wee gold buttons in your stash – I wonder what your Nana or your Grandma had planned for them? Down the back of a wedding dress?

  3. Sarah says

    This is looking fabulous! Hope you are feeling a bit better. Take it easy&get well soon!
    Best wishes

  4. Get well soon! Colds are annoying.
    And it’s definitely looking fabulous. Also, lucky buttons! 😀

  5. I love the lines on that, is there boning in the hip curve to keep it so regular and perky?

  6. Wow! fits like a glove and looks awesome. Can’t wait to see the finished outfit

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