Skip to content
Statamic Peak

A Seersucker Waistcoat

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.

Drafting a waistcoat.
Drafting the waistcoat.

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.

Waistcoat fabric cut out.
Waistcoat fabric cut out.
Waistcoat fabric cut out.

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.

Sewing a collar.
Sewing the collar.

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.

Trim the seam allowance.
Trim the seam allowance for a smooth finish.

The darts are sewn on the forepart.

Sewing a dart.
Sew the darts closed.

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.

A dart sewn in fabric.
The completed dart.

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.

Dart sewn in linen canvas.
The dart after sewing into the canvas.

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.

The waistcoat forepart attached to the canvas.
The waistcoat forepart being attached to the canvas.

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.

Stay tape and linen are added to strengthen the front.
Stay tape and linen are added to strengthen the front.

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

The forepart with the canvas and tape installed.
The forepart with the canvas and tape installed.