Wednesday, December 3, 2014

HSF14 Challenge #22 - Fortnightlier's Choice: Gentlemen

For this challenge, I knew what I'd make as soon the challenge was announced.  In college, my design teacher had us size up and fit a pair of men's fall-front breeches.  It's one of my favorite patterns and I've made them for more than one show.  I have a show in May, right after my Ren Faire, that has significantly less stringent costume rules than the faire.  (I should know, I made most of the rules for both.)  The May show is for a Pirate Festival in Madeira Beach, FL.  Rather than being set in a specific time period (like the Bay Area Ren Fest, which is set in 154?) this show spans hundreds of years.  The idea is essentially that pirates from all eras have come forward to OUR time to search for a legendary treasure.  This way we can have Grace O'Malley rubbing elbows with Jean Lafitte.  We also have a group of fancy harlots who get to lounge around drinking wine and flirting with the pirates (best role ever!).  I play a French Harlot, and I have done her costumes in both the late 18th and early 19th centuries.  Having done some damage to my costume last year, I needed to make some new pieces for it.  Fall-front breeches would be a fun look I haven't done in awhile.

I picked up some upholstery fabric that looked a bit like dupioni and some great flower-shaped buttons, all I really needed for this project.  I then realized I didn't have enough buttons and had to exchange them for something I could get more of.  Oops.

I still had an old mock-up of the pattern, and it still fit.  So I just dove right into cutting and sewing.  I did the majority of it in one day.  When I went to sew my buttonholes, I planned to do the expedient thing and make them on the machine.  Well this fabric was NOT having it.  So I had to learn how to do hand-stitched buttonholes for the first time.  They took an embarrassingly long time, but I'm very happy with the way they turned out.  I used pearl cotton thread and this fantastic how-to.

 The rest of the pants I'm pretty pleased with, although they are a smidge tight.  If I did them again, I would build plackets into the knees so they could be opened up and buttoned back down.  I might still open up the side seams before next May and at least give myself a bit more bending movement.

The Challenge: Fortnightlier's Choice: Gentlemen

Fabric: Upholstery fabric, cotton/poly blend
Pattern:  Something my design teacher gave me approximately a million years ago
Year: Late 18th century
Notions: BUTTONS
How historically accurate is it? I believe the original pattern was a period pattern, but of course I'm using a machine, and a serger because the fabric unraveled if you breathed on it.  The buttons are metal at least, and the buttonholes hand-stitched
Hours to complete: Most of a Saturday, and interminable age for the buttonholes.
First worn: Just to model, although they will definitely get some use next May.
Total cost: $45ish

And the result:



Modeled with my first Georgian corset, an old chemise, and a quick-and-dirty pomp.

From the back 

A better shot of the fall-front

One of our next door neighbors stopped by to say hi.


  1. I love them! Making lady-breeches is on my wish list, but so far I haven't had the time. I love your take!

    Do you have a link to a post on your corset btw? It's gorgeous!

  2. Alas, I do not. It was made pre-blog I believe. I can tell you it's the 1776 half-boned stays from Corsets and Crinolines. Maybe I'll do a Throwback Thursday blog about it ;)