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Welcome to the new era of menswear sewing. Go ahead and create something exceptional!


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Waistcoat Sew-Along: Day 12 – The Parade

The Drapery Waistcoat 1

I have a treat for you today – a parade of finished Belvedere Waistcoats!  I hope your waistcoats will be worn to many memorable events this summer!  I know a few of them were sewn for lucky grooms and others were sewn to wear at the local pub.  Maybe others will be given to a deserving Dad this Father’s Day (on Sunday)?

The Drapery Waistcoat 2

The dark grey fabric and luxurious champagne lining used on this waistcoat are a perfect combo of fabrics.  And those welt pockets look very well executed!  This Belvedere was sewn by Jane of The Drapery for her husband, Andy.  She wrote a review on The Drapery blog.

Zaks Belvedere Waistcoat

Next we have a work of art sewn by Zak!  Check out the embroidery and the custom chest pocket!  Plus, I don’t think I need to point out the paisley lining since it is difficult to miss (and matches the embroidery so beautifully).

Belvedere Waistcoat Zak.JPG

Many of you have been sharing your Belvedere photos on Instagram using #belvederewaistcoat  Here are a few of the versions that stood out to me today:

Happy #memademay2017 . Today we have my test version of the #belvederewaistcoat from @threadtheorydesigns made in #conemills selvage denim purchased @stonemountainfabric in #berkeley. We also have the #strathconahenley i made for my hubby last year (also @threadtheorydesigns ) and my super sexy #ddsafran jeans @deer_and_doe_patterns . And of course, underneath it all is my #watsonbra from @clothhabit. All fabric purchased @stonemountainfabric . Vest buttons are new old stock. I made no mods for fit. Size xs worked fine, but I'm not very buxom. The length and waist circumference was perfect for my 5'6" height and athletic build. I usually wear a women's medium and have measurements of 37-30-40. Only pattern mod was adding a belt and buckle to waist darts in back (not pictured here). Mine is non-functional but making it function would solve fit issurs for many women (or busty men). Beautiful pattern. Thank you @threadtheorydesigns for letting me test. #memadeeveryday #makersgonnamake #denimlove #menswear #vintagestyle #indiepatterns #isewmyownclothes #sewist #sewistsofinstagram

A post shared by Yavanna Reynolds (@yavannareynolds) on

To finish off this sew-along parade, Matt photographed me in my new Belvedere standing in front of the garden.

Thread Theory Belvedere Waistcoat Sewalong Sew on buttons-21

As mentioned before, I did not make the suggested alterations to my waistcoat in order to fit it to a female figure.  I wanted this sample to serve as a visual example to show why making a few simple fit adjustments can lead to a much more flattering waistcoat for women.

Thread Theory Belvedere Waistcoat Sewalong Sew on buttons-19

The main thing to notice is that smaller armholes are needed.  For me they gape at the front but on other women (depending on your bust size), you may find they gape at the back.  I’ve explained how to adjust the armhole earlier in the blog.

Thread Theory Belvedere Waistcoat Sewalong Sew on buttons-24

Since I have a pretty small bust measurement I don’t think the gaping is that bad or noticeable.  The main thing I dislike is how low the armhole sits at my underarm.  The next time I sew a Belvedere for myself I will reduce the scoop of the front armhole so that the curve is more shallow and so that the side seam is at least 1″ longer.

Thread Theory Belvedere Waistcoat Sewalong Sew on buttons-22

I think this waistcoat will be worn often in the Fall despite the fact that it is not perfectly fitted to my figure.  I love how warm the spongy wool is!  It’s satisfying to have a project finished and sitting in my closet a whole season early…that doesn’t happen often.

If ever you would like to share your Belvedere Waistcoat masterpiece, use #belvederewaistcoat on Instagram, join our Facebook Thread Theory Sewing CommunityFacebook Thread Theory Sewing Community, or email me at info@threadtheory.ca

Happy Father’s Day!


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Waistcoat Sew-Along: Day 11 – Adding buttons

This marks the final Waistcoat Sew-Along post!  Today you get to try on your finished waistcoat!

Thread Theory Belvedere Waistcoat Sewalong Sew on buttons-13

All that remains is to sew our buttonholes and stitch on our buttons.  I will run through how to do this as per the instruction booklet but first, based on a few emails from you guys, I’ve assembled ideas to help you avoid buttons…but really, I highly encourage you to try your hand a buttonholes because they aren’t that difficult and are essential for an elegant and classic waistcoat.  As you can see, button alternatives are quite a statement and only work for certain situations:

Buttonless waistcoats

  1. Quilted and Snaps
  2. Leather and Snaps
  3. Wool and Zipper

Another idea is to close the waistcoat with ties or buckles.  I couldn’t find any examples of this style of closure for menswear but I have added our Lazo Trousers buckles to the waistcoat I am making for myself so you can see how this idea could look in reality!

Thread Theory Belvedere Waistcoat Sewalong Sew on buttons-28

To add regular buttons and buttonholes:

Thread Theory Belvedere Waistcoat Sewalong Sew on buttons-1

Begin by refreshing or freshly making your buttonhole markings.  If you are sewing Variation 1 you will be stitching 6 buttonholes and for Variation 2 you will be stitching 5.  This is really a matter of preference though – you could change the spacing of the buttonholes and reduce to three or four if you desired!

Thread Theory Belvedere Waistcoat Sewalong Sew on buttons-3

The buttonholes will be on the left hand side of the waistcoat (if you were wearing the garment).  You can see I have a stack of examples on my dress form to prove this button and hole placement!  I guess that’s what happens when you sew endless samples for a pattern, you end up with more waistcoats than any one person could wear. 😛

Thread Theory Belvedere Waistcoat Sewalong Sew on buttons-2

Position them approximately 3/8″ to 1/2″ from the edge of the waistcoat front…you can choose your distance based on the fit you would like to achieve.  Stitching them closer to the edge of the waistcoat will give your wearer a little bit more room while stitching further from the edge will create a more snug fitting waistcoat.

Thread Theory Belvedere Waistcoat Sewalong Sew on buttons-4

Choose a buttonhole size that is slightly longer than the diameter of your buttons.  This makes it easy for the wearer to button and unbutton his waistcoat.  Check out this Craftsy article to determine exactly what size of buttonhole you need.

Thread Theory Belvedere Waistcoat Sewalong Sew on buttons-6

I like to stitch around my buttonholes twice to create tidy and dense rows of stitching…of course, this can really depend on how your individual sewing machine and buttonhole stitching mechanism functions.

Thread Theory Belvedere Waistcoat Sewalong Sew on buttons-7

Slice open the buttonholes using a seam ripper with pins placed across either end of the buttonhole to prevent your seam ripper from slicing too far.

Thread Theory Belvedere Waistcoat Sewalong Sew on buttons-9

Alternatively, you can use a buttonhole chisel and cutting board.  You could even snip with delicate buttonhole scissors.

Thread Theory Belvedere Waistcoat Sewalong Sew on buttons-10

Stitch your buttons on to the right hand side of the waistcoat (if you were wearing the garment) so that they correspond to the buttonholes.  I like to re-check my markings by overlapping the waistcoat fronts and placing a pin through the buttonhole.  This way I can be sure the button will line up perfectly with the hole.

Thread Theory Belvedere Waistcoat Sewalong Sew on buttons-12

You might like to check out my tutorial about sewing on a button – I explain how to use beeswax to strengthen your thread and how to make a thread shaft for a strong button that is slightly raised from the garment fabric so that it is easy to use.

If you have sewn the tabs on to your waistcoat, add buttonholes to the tabs and then a total of four buttons to the waistcoat back.  Position one set so they match the tab buttonhole without cinching the waistcoat back.

Thread Theory Belvedere Waistcoat Sewalong Sew on buttons-14

Place the other set so that they cinch the waistcoat back just enough to add some extra shaping.

Thread Theory Belvedere Waistcoat Sewalong Sew on buttons-16

You can see the cinched version on the left hand side of the photo above and the relaxed version on the right hand side.

Thread Theory Belvedere Waistcoat Sewalong Sew on buttons-31

And that’s it!  With a final press and perhaps a handstitched label on the back facing, your waistcoat is finished!

Thread Theory Belvedere Waistcoat Sewalong Sew on buttons-26

I will be sharing a parade of Belvedere Waistcoats on the blog next Friday, June 16th in honour of Father’s Day.  Would you like your Belvedere in the parade?  Email me at info@threadtheory.ca with photos or comment below with a link to your blog, Instagram or Facebook post.  Alternatively, use #belvederewaistcoat on Social Media to share your finished project.

Thread Theory Belvedere Waistcoat Sewalong Sew on buttons-32

I can’t wait to see what you have created!  Thanks for sewing along.


On an unrelated note, you may have seen on Facebook that we are hiring! If you follow this blog and live in the Comox Valley, I hope you will consider applying.  Here is the advertisement (click to see the full resolution image):

TT_JobPosting

 


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Waistcoat Sew-Along: Day 10 – Assembling the Back

Today we all but finish our waistcoats!  By the end of this post the back and back lining will be completely attached to the waistcoat fronts so that buttonholes and buttons will be the only remaining step.

Thread Theory Belvedere Waistcoat Sewalong Assemble the Back-2

Prepare your waistcoat fronts by basting the open shoulder and side seams closed.  This way the layers won’t shift around when you attach the back.

If you have drafted a partial shawl collar as I did in an earlier sew-along post, you will need to fold it over and stitch it in place before attaching your waistcoat back.

Thread Theory Belvedere Waistcoat Sewalong Assemble the Back-5

My fabric choice is unusually thick, so your collar will look much smoother and more flat when you fold it over.  Do not press the folded roll line (it looks best when it is softly folded), just pin and then stitch the collar in place along the shoulder seam.

Thread Theory Belvedere Waistcoat Sewalong Assemble the Back-6

I handstitched the collar to the waistcoat front to keep it secure during my next sewing steps…I plan to take out this stitching once the waistcoat is finished, I just did this to reduce the bulk of the collar and maintain the shape of the collar even when the waistcoat is crumpled up and being pulled through the hem hole later (you’ll see what I mean in a bit!).

Also, I didn’t mention this during the post where we drafted the collar or where we understitched along the waistcoat front: You might like to stop your understitching just below your last button and leave the neckline without understitching.  When you fold over the collar the facing becomes the visible part of the collar so your understitching is front and centre!  The understitching also prevents the seam from being pressed slightly to the underside of the collar (in fact, it encourages the seam to roll towards the facing which makes it more visible.  If I were to sew another vest with this style of collar I would make sure to stop my understitching before the top button.  As it is, this chunky wool waistcoat will have other visible topstitching (on the tabs and at the armholes) so hopefully the understitching doesn’t look too out of place.  I’m sorry if you now have to pick out some unwanted understitching, I should have thought to mention this sooner!

Ok, with the collar ready to go, let’s move on to another feature I’ve added to the waistcoat I am sewing for myself – the tabs found in our free add-on pattern pieces.  Scroll down until you see the pinstriped waistcoat if you have not chosen to add these tabs.

Place each pair of tabs with right sides together and stitch around the long and pointed edges.

Thread Theory Belvedere Waistcoat Sewalong Assemble the Back-7

Trim the seam allowances and corners thoroughly.

Thread Theory Belvedere Waistcoat Sewalong Assemble the Back-8

Flip the tabs right side out.

Thread Theory Belvedere Waistcoat Sewalong Assemble the Back-9

Press them thoroughly and topstitch around the perimeter (I used 1/4″ topstitching but it is up to you what you use!).  You could skip topstitching for a clean finish if you preferred.

Thread Theory Belvedere Waistcoat Sewalong Assemble the Back-10

Place the tabs on the waistcoat back at the narrowest point of the waist.

Thread Theory Belvedere Waistcoat Sewalong Assemble the Back-11

Baste them in place within the seam allowance.

Thread Theory Belvedere Waistcoat Sewalong Assemble the Back-13

Now you are ready to proceed with adding the waistcoat back to the fronts as per the instruction booklet!

Thread Theory Belvedere Waistcoat Sewalong Assemble the Back-29

Lay the waistcoat back (not the back lining) on your work surface right side up.  Lay the fronts on top of the back so that right sides are together.  Pin along the shoulder and side seams.

Thread Theory Belvedere Waistcoat Sewalong Assemble the Back-30

Baste along the shoulder and side seams using a scant 5/8″ seam allowance.  Now is a perfect time to try the waistcoat on the wearer to check for fit!  If you notice gaping along the back armhole you can experiment by taking in the shoulder or side seam.  If you notice more or less room is needed at the waist (with the fronts pinned closed) you can take in our let out the side seam.

Thread Theory Belvedere Waistcoat Sewalong Assemble the Back-31

With any small fit adjustments done, it is now time to add on the back lining!  Place the waistcoat back on to your work surface so the wrong side of your fronts are visible.  Lay the back lining on top so that the wrong side is facing up.  Pin along the shoulder seams, the neckline and the side seams.

Thread Theory Belvedere Waistcoat Sewalong Assemble the Back-33

Stitch the shoulder, neckline and side seams by following your basting stitches.  To stitch the shoulders and neckline, begin by stitching one shoulder seam towards the neckline.  Stop when you feel the neckline edge of your waistcoat front.  Pivot your needle and stitch around the back neckline.  Pivot once again when you feel the second waistcoat front edge and then finish by stitching along the second shoulder seam.

Thread Theory Belvedere Waistcoat Sewalong Assemble the Back-34

The only remaining openings are now the armholes and the hem.  Pin the back and lining armhole seams together.  You will need to shift the waistcoat fronts out of the way and stretch out the larger back armholes.

Thread Theory Belvedere Waistcoat Sewalong Assemble the Back-35

Stitch the armholes from shoulder seam to side seam.

Thread Theory Belvedere Waistcoat Sewalong Assemble the Back-36

The armholes feature a strong curve so it is necessary to clip these seam allowances carefully.  You should also clip the neckline seam allowances to help this curve sit nicely when the waistcoat is flipped right side out.

Thread Theory Belvedere Waistcoat Sewalong Assemble the Back-37

Now the only step remaining is to stitch the hem.  We will be leaving a gap between one of the darts and the centre back seam so that the waistcoat can be flipped right side out.  Stitch from one side seam to the dart and backstitch.  Stitch from the other side seam to the centre back and backstitch.  If you are working with unusually thick fabrics you may need to leave a larger opening than this.

Thread Theory Belvedere Waistcoat Sewalong Assemble the Back-38

Trim the hem seam allowances and corners.  Now fish the entire waistcoat through that hole and press the side seams, neckline, shoulder seams, armholes and hem thoroughly!

Thread Theory Belvedere Waistcoat Sewalong Assemble the Back-40

Close up the hem by hand.  And while you do so, you may find that your carefully pressed waistcoat has become a cat bed (it seems as though she can sense when I’m going to be standing still and hand stitching for a while).

Thread Theory Belvedere Waistcoat Sewalong Assemble the Back-42

Now, we’re ready to add the buttonholes to the waistcoat front, the corresponding buttons and perhaps a label to the neckline!


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Waistcoat Sew-Along: Day 9 – Finishing the Front

Today we will be attaching the lining and facing to the Belvedere Waistcoat fronts.  If you are sewing Variation 1, the first step is to create the side seam vents.  These vents can actually be added to either variation if you would like a little bit more room for movement.  The vent expands to create a larger circumference around the stomach while you sit, bend or simply have a full belly after a large meal!

Thread Theory Belvedere Waistcoat Sewalong Front Lining-1

Begin by cutting a small rectangle of fusible interfacing measuring approximately 2″ X 3″.  Apply this to the wrong side of the lining at the bottom of each side seam.  This will help add rigidity to the lining fabric so that the vent appears crisp and flat when finished.

Thread Theory Belvedere Waistcoat Sewalong Front Lining-2

Pin the waistcoat front to the lining with right sides together.

Thread Theory Belvedere Waistcoat Sewalong Front Lining-3

Beginning at the side seam notch, stitch across the 5/8″ seam allowance.  When you get to the seamline, place your needle down in to the fabric and pivot around it.  Stitch an angled line towards the hem notch.

Thread Theory Belvedere Waistcoat Sewalong Front Lining-5

Trim along your stitching so seam allowances are 1/4″ or less to reduce bulk.  Clip up to your stitching at the corner.
Thread Theory Belvedere Waistcoat Sewalong Front Lining-6

Regardless of whether you are sewing Variation 1 or 2, it is now time to sew the hem, front and neckline seams.  If you have added the vent, begin stitching at the hem notch.  If you have not added the vent, begin stitching at the side seam.  Stitch along the hem, pivot at the angled point and then stitch up the front until you reach the shoulder.

To prevent the lining and facing from rolling to the right side when your waistcoat is worn, understitch as far as possible along the hem and front.

Thread Theory Belvedere Waistcoat Sewalong Front Lining-8

To understitch, work from the right side of the garment and stitch the facing and lining to the seam allowance.  Your stitching should be 1/8″ from your original seam.

Thread Theory Belvedere Waistcoat Sewalong Front Lining-10

It won’t be possible to understitch around the angled point at the hem.  Simply stitch as far as possible and backstitch.  Then you can continue a new line of understitching along the hem.

Thread Theory Belvedere Waistcoat Sewalong Front Lining-13

Trim one seam allowance shorter than the other and thoroughly clip in to the seam allowance along curves.  Also clip across corners to reduce bulk.

Thread Theory Belvedere Waistcoat Sewalong Front Lining-11

Next we will close up the armhole.  With raw edges of the fabric even and right sides together, pin the front and lining together along the curve of the armhole.  Match the dart.  Depending on the fabrics that you are using, you may notice that the lining has stretched out or that your wool front has shrunk during the sewing process.  Not to worry!  Lay out the lining so that it flat and equal in size (or slightly smaller) than the waistcoat front.  Trim off the 1/8″ or so excess along the curve of the armhole.  This will help to prevent the lining from peeking out on the right side of the waistcoat at the armhole.

Thread Theory Belvedere Waistcoat Sewalong Front Lining-14

Stitch the armhole curve using a 5/8″ seam allowance.

Thread Theory Belvedere Waistcoat Sewalong Front Lining-15

It is necessary to thoroughly trim the seam allowances and clip in to the curves since the armhole curve is so exaggerated.  These clips will allow the fabric to sit smoothly when the garment is flipped right side out.

Thread Theory Belvedere Waistcoat Sewalong Front Lining-17

And now it is time!  Let’s flip the waist coat front right side out!

Thread Theory Belvedere Waistcoat Sewalong Front Lining-18

Do this by reaching in to the open side seam.

Thread Theory Belvedere Waistcoat Sewalong Front Lining-20

Now give the front a very thorough press.

Thread Theory Belvedere Waistcoat Sewalong Front Lining-21

Are you proud of how beautiful your finished front looks?  I hope so!

Thread Theory Belvedere Waistcoat Sewalong Front Lining-22

Tomorrow we will add on the back and our waistcoats will be VERY close to finished!


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Waistcoat Sew-Along: Day 8 – Welt Pockets (or add alternative patch pockets)

Today we add the welt pockets to our waistcoat fronts or, if you are sewing variation 2 with no packets, you can sit back and relax!  At the end of this post I will show you how to create the rounded corner patch pocket that I created as a free pattern download to add on to the Belvedere.  There are two patch pocket shapes available in the download and they feature the same construction methods.

If you have been attempting to follow along with the sew-along schedule, I apologise for the adjustments I have been making to it over the last two weeks!  I had been trying to adjust by one day maximum so you wouldn’t be left twiddling your thumbs while you waited for me but I simply couldn’t fit everything in last week and had to delay Friday’s post until today.  I hope this didn’t upset your plans for the weekend!  On the bright side, delaying the sew-along allowed me to complete brand new samples for the entire Parkland Collection of patterns!  We had a wonderful photoshoot on Sunday with my parents and grandparents so there will be some fresh garments and photos for you to view on our website once Matt has finished editing them!

Ok, let’s move on to our welt pockets:

Thread Theory Belvedere Waistcoat Sewalong Welt Pockets-1

We will be using the templates, the welts, pocket facings and pocket bags.

Thread Theory Belvedere Waistcoat Sewalong Welt Pockets-3

During an earlier sew-along post we marked our welt placement on the waistcoat fronts.  You might need to refresh your chalk lines if they became worn while you sewed the darts – do so by placing the templates on the right side of your waistcoat front and tracing around them.

Thread Theory Belvedere Waistcoat Sewalong Welt Pockets-4

Cut open the window in the welt pattern piece (just cut the paper, do not cut your fabric pieces!).  This will allow you to trace the welt outline on to the wrong side of the welt fabric.

Thread Theory Belvedere Waistcoat Sewalong Welt Pockets-6

Place the welt and waistcoat front with right sides together.  Align your markings by poking through your welt fabric with pins at each corner and/or lift up the welt edges to peek at the markings below:

Thread Theory Belvedere Waistcoat Sewalong Welt Pockets-7

If you are attempting to pattern match stripes, it is important to be very finicky with your welt placement.  I’ve always been quite terrible at matching stripes but this is how I try to do so:

Thread Theory Belvedere Waistcoat Sewalong Welt Pockets-8

I pin my piece in place and fold down the fabric along the seamline to see if the stripes continue along the seam without breaking…of course, it is necessary to stitch very accurately to ensure this remains the case!

Thread Theory Belvedere Waistcoat Sewalong Welt Pockets-9

Now that your welt pieces are pinned to the waistcoat front, prepare your sewing machine by reducing the stitch length so that it is quite short.  This short stitch length will slow you down to ensure that you stitch accurately and it will also make your pocket corners stronger.

Thread Theory Belvedere Waistcoat Sewalong Welt Pockets-10

Stitch along the two long sides of the welt rectangle.  Try your best to begin and end your stitching exactly at the rectangle corners.  If you stop to early or extend your stitching too far your finished welt may pucker or refuse to sit squarely later on.

Thread Theory Belvedere Waistcoat Sewalong Welt Pockets-11Thread Theory Belvedere Waistcoat Sewalong Welt Pockets-13

After stitching I like to do some preemptive pressing to make things easier on myself later on.  The more pressing you do at this point, the easier it will be to press the welt in to shape later.  Begin by pressing the top of the welt down:

Thread Theory Belvedere Waistcoat Sewalong Welt Pockets-14

And then press the bottom of the welt up:

Thread Theory Belvedere Waistcoat Sewalong Welt Pockets-15

Now comes the slightly intimidating part…it is time to cut through all layers of your fabric to create windows in your waistcoat front!

Thread Theory Belvedere Waistcoat Sewalong Welt Pockets-16

Cut through the middle of the welt by poking your holes through the center and snipping towards either edge.  Stop about 1/2″ before the end of the welt and snip two diagonal lines to create a “Y”.  Cut very precisely so that the points of the “Y” end exactly at each backstitch.  Again, precision here will lead to a nicely shaped welt without any puckering.

Thread Theory Belvedere Waistcoat Sewalong Welt Pockets-18

Now that the welt window has been opened, it is possible to push the welt fabric through your slice so that it is on the wrong side of the waistcoat front:

Thread Theory Belvedere Waistcoat Sewalong Welt Pockets-20Thread Theory Belvedere Waistcoat Sewalong Welt Pockets-21Thread Theory Belvedere Waistcoat Sewalong Welt Pockets-22Thread Theory Belvedere Waistcoat Sewalong Welt Pockets-23

Flip your waistcoat front to the wrong side so that you are once again looking at your welt:

Thread Theory Belvedere Waistcoat Sewalong Welt Pockets-24

It’s time to do some more pressing!  Can you tell how important pressing is to create a professional looking welt?  It is essential!

Thread Theory Belvedere Waistcoat Sewalong Welt Pockets-25Underneath the lower part of your welt you will see two seam allowances.  Press these open.

Thread Theory Belvedere Waistcoat Sewalong Welt Pockets-26

This helps to reduce bulk and allow the bottom of the welt to appear crisp.

Thread Theory Belvedere Waistcoat Sewalong Welt Pockets-27

Press the top and the two narrow sides of the welt along the seamline but do not press the bottom any more.

Thread Theory Belvedere Waistcoat Sewalong Welt Pockets-29

At this point you will have a crisp open window on your waistcoat front.  We are now ready to fill it with the welt!

Thread Theory Belvedere Waistcoat Sewalong Welt Pockets-30

Fold the bottom of the welt upward to cover the open window and then fold downward again so that the raw edge is once again pointing towards the waistcoat hem:

Thread Theory Belvedere Waistcoat Sewalong Welt Pockets-31

Press the welt so that the fold sits evenly along the top of the window:

Thread Theory Belvedere Waistcoat Sewalong Welt Pockets-32

From the right side of the waistcoat your welt will appeal almost finished!

Thread Theory Belvedere Waistcoat Sewalong Welt Pockets-33

To secure the sides of the welt, fold back the waistcoat front to reveal the welt seam allowance and a tiny triangle of fabric that you created when you cut the “Y” earlier.

Thread Theory Belvedere Waistcoat Sewalong Welt Pockets-35

Stitch through the triangle and seam allowances:

Thread Theory Belvedere Waistcoat Sewalong Welt Pockets-36

Repeat this step for the other side of the welt.

Thread Theory Belvedere Waistcoat Sewalong Welt Pockets-37

When stitching these triangles in place it is important to ensure they are pulled taught but do not pull too hard.  As you can see on my chest pocket, I pulled the triangle too far to the left which caused the grainline of my welt to become slightly skewed.  The stripes are perfectly pattern matched along the bottom of the pocket but then they are pulled to the left near the top of the pocket…woops!

Thread Theory Belvedere Waistcoat Sewalong Welt Pockets-40

Now that the welt is complete (congratulations!), it is time to attach the pocket bag.  Place the pocket bag on top of the welt with the right side of the pocket bag facing the wrong side of the waistcoat.  The bag should be upside down so that the straight edge is lined up with the bottom of the welt.

Thread Theory Belvedere Waistcoat Sewalong Welt Pockets-41

Stitch the pocket bag to the bottom of the welt – I like to place the waistcoat on my sewing machine with the right side up and the front folded out of the way so that the welt seam allowance is visible.

Thread Theory Belvedere Waistcoat Sewalong Welt Pockets-43

Press the pocket bag down so that it sits in its final position:

Thread Theory Belvedere Waistcoat Sewalong Welt Pockets-44

Lay the pocket facings on top of the pocket bags and pin them to the welt and pocket bag seam allowances (don’t catch the waistcoat front with your pins).

Thread Theory Belvedere Waistcoat Sewalong Welt Pockets-45

Stitch around the sides and bottom of the pocket facing using a 5/8″ seam allowance (you do not need to be precise with your seam allowance here, as long as you are closing up the sides and bottom of the pocket so that your phone and change can’t fall out!).

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The top of the pocket bag is still completely open.  To close this up, lay your waistcoat with the right side facing you and fold the waistcoat down out of the way.  This will expose the welt seam allowance and the top of the pocket bag:

Thread Theory Belvedere Waistcoat Sewalong Welt Pockets-47

Stitch through all layers (but not the waistcoat front):Thread Theory Belvedere Waistcoat Sewalong Welt Pockets-48

You are left with a fully closed pocket bags and three finished welt pockets!

Thread Theory Belvedere Waistcoat Sewalong Welt Pockets-50

Give them one more press from the right side of the waistcoat front to make them appear as flat and crisp as possible.  And now give yourself a pat on the back!


 

If you would like to add our free patch pocket pieces to your waistcoat front for a more casual look, here is how to do so:

Thread Theory Belvedere Waistcoat Sewalong Welt Pockets-51

Place your pockets and linings with right sides together.  Pin across the top of the pocket and stitch using a 5/8″ seam allowance.  Leave a gap in the middle (backstitch either side of this gap), so that you can use it to flip the pocket right side out later.

Thread Theory Belvedere Waistcoat Sewalong Welt Pockets-52Thread Theory Belvedere Waistcoat Sewalong Welt Pockets-53

Pull the pocket lining downward so that it is even with the bottom of the pocket.  Press along the notched fold line at the top of the pocket.

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Stitch around the sides and bottom of the pocket using a 5/8″ seam allowance:

Thread Theory Belvedere Waistcoat Sewalong Welt Pockets-55

Clip triangles out of the seam allowances along the curved bottom corners.

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If you are working with fairly thick fabric, thoroughly trim all seam allowances to reduce bulk as much as possible.

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Flip the pockets right side out through the hole that you left in the lining.  Press the pockets thoroughly.

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Handstitch the hole in the lining closed.Thread Theory Belvedere Waistcoat Sewalong Welt Pockets-59

Determine the position of your patch pockets by using the welt pocket markings as a guide.  I like to hold the waistcoat front up to the wearer and pick a position that suits the wearer best.  Keep in mind that your pockets will look best if the grainline matches the waistcoat front – this means that the front edge of the pocket should be parallel to the waistcoat centre front.

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Stitch the pockets in place using topstitching or you can opt to invisibly handstitch them from a clean and minimalist look.

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It’s as easy as that!

During our next post we will be finishing the waistcoat fronts by attaching the lining.  I find that to be a very satisfying step so I’m looking forward to it!


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Waistcoat Sew-Along: Day 7 – Assemble the Lining

Today is a fairly quick step in the sewing process but it is one that can cause a bit of confusion for people who are not familiar with working with facings paired with a lined garment.  These photos should make the process quite clear!

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Begin by stitching the centre back seam on both the back and back lining.  Place each set of backs with right sides together, pin and stitch the curved seam using a 5/8″ seam allowance.

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Since the centre back seam features a curve it is necessary to clip in to the seam allowances so that they can spread open and lay flat when you press the seam.  When working with delicate lining fabrics be careful not to clip too close to the stitching or snag your fabric as you may cause a run or hole.

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Press the seam allowances open.

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From the right side of the waistcoat back and back lining, examine the curved seam to make sure it has been pressed nicely and no creases or puckers are visible (touch it up with the iron a little if necessary).Thread Theory Belvedere Waistcoat Sewalong Tailoring-91

Now let’s attach the facings to the front lining!  We will be sewing two opposite curves together which can be a little bit finicky.Thread Theory Belvedere Waistcoat Sewalong Tailoring-92

Pin thoroughly.  I like to match the two sets of notches first, place pins at each notch and then work towards the shoulder seam and hem.  I place my final pins between the two sets of notches.

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Stitch the seam using a 5/8″ seam allowance.  Since this is a very pronounced curve you will need to clip in to your seam allowances thoroughly.  I like to make triangular clips on the facing first.

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And next I make triangular clips on the lining.  Stagger your triangles so that the lining and facing seam allowances are never cut in the same spot – this allows your seam to remain strong.

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Press the seam allowances towards the lining.  I prefer to press from the right side of the fabric.

This is what the pressed seam will look like from the wrong side:

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Now we must sew the back facing to the back lining.

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Begin by staystitching along the back lining neckline using a scant 5/8″ seam allowance.  Staystitching prevents this curve from stretching out when you are sewing it to the facing and also allows you to clip the seam allowance so that you can relax the curve:

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Pin the back facing to the back lining with right sides together.

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At first glance it may look like the back facing is way too long to match the curve of the lining neckline, don’t worry, they are exactly the same length along the seamline!  The 5/8″ seam allowance and opposing curves create this optical illusion.  I like to begin by pinning the back facing and lining together at centre back.  I then pin in each direction towards the shoulder seam.Thread Theory Belvedere Waistcoat Sewalong Tailoring-105

You can see that it is necessary to straighten out the concave curve of the lining.  Good thing we clipped the seam allowances to make this possible!

Thread Theory Belvedere Waistcoat Sewalong Tailoring-106Begin stitching at one shoulder seam and work towards the other.  If you are a bit nervous about stitching this curved seam you can start at centre back and work towards either shoulder seam in the same manner that you pinned.  This way you are breaking the long curve in to two smaller and more manageable curves.

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And here is what your finished seam will look like!Thread Theory Belvedere Waistcoat Sewalong Tailoring-110

Clip in to the facing seam allowance to allow it to relax.Thread Theory Belvedere Waistcoat Sewalong Tailoring-111

Press the seam allowance towards the lining.

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Now you can set aside your assembled lining pieces since on Friday we will be working with the waistcoat fronts once again as we add our pockets.


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Waistcoat Sew-Along: Day 6 – Apply interfacing and sew darts (plus learn how to create a tailored front!)

I’m really excited about today’s post because we are going to add structure and shaping to our waistcoats…and I’ve kicked it up a notch from the instruction booklet and tried out a few tailoring techniques to share with you!  Are you ready to try your hand at pad stitching, working with hair canvas and shaping with steam?

No?  Don’t worry, we’ll cover the standard approach to interfacing and darts first…and you will wind up with a beautiful waistcoat that will look dressy enough for any occasion.  The advantage of the tailoring techniques that I’ve tested out later on in this post is that they will allow your waistcoat to look just as fresh and structured ten years from now as it will when the wearer tries it on for the first time.

Apply Interfacing

Let’s begin with the standard approach (don’t apply your interfacing right now if you are working with a bulky wool and would like to try your hand at tailoring…instead, read the rest of this post!).

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Lay out your waistcoat front pieces so wrong sides are facing up.  Press thoroughly if there are any creases in your fabric.

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Place the fusible interfacing pieces on top of your fabric and melt the glue by pressing with lots of steam.  Make sure you press for a long enough period to thoroughly melt the glue dots.

Also apply interfacing to the welt pieces if you are sewing Variation One.

Now it’s time to mark the pattern details on to our waistcoat fabric pieces:

Mark Details

I have two different methods to show you – one involving pins and one involving a needle and thread.  My favourite method for transferring dart, buttonhole and pocket markings is to use pins.

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I place pins on the relevant points through both layers of fabric and the paper pattern piece.  Points include the tip of the darts, the widest point of the darts, the button placement markings and all four corners of each pocket.

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I then flip the three layers and poke another set of pins in the opposite direction (using the first set of pins as a guide for placement).

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Next I pull the fabric off of the paper pattern pieces so that one set of pins remains with the paper and the other set remains with the fabric.

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I use the pins as reference points to fill in the marking lines with chalk.

 

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A more traditional approach to marking pattern details is adding tailor’s tacks with needle and thread.  Thread a needle with a double strand of thread (in a contrast colour so you can see it easily!).

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Poke your needle through the paper and both fabric layers.  Bring the needle back up through all layers.  Here is a view of the underside (it’s a loop!):

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You can do this a couple of times if you like so that there are loops on each side.

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Separate the paper and fabric pieces gently.

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Snip the threads between each layer.

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And here is the end result:

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Fill in the lines with chalk if you would like.

Sew Darts

Using your freshly made markings, it is time to sew the darts on the waistcoat front, front linings, back and back linings.

Fold the darts in half and begin stitching at the hem:

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Stitch all the way until the point and simply stitch off of the fabric (without backstitching).

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You will be left with a tail of thread.  Tie this thread in a knot by hand.  This technique will reduce the amount of bulk and potential bubbling at the point of the dart.

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Here is the finished dart on the waistcoat front:

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From the right side of the waistcoat, press the bulk of the dart towards the side seam.  Don’t try to press the entire waistcoat flat since the purpose of the dart is to add curved shaping to the waistcoat front (see how the fabric ripples near the side seam?).

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Repeat this process for the front linings:

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But this time press the bulk of the dart towards center front.  This will reduce the overall bulk so that your dart is not very visible on the right side of the waistcoat.

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If you are adding the free download for a narrow cinching belt, this is the time to sandwich it in to the waistcoat back darts.  With or without this belt, sew the waistcoat back darts and press the bulk towards the side seam.

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Sew the waistcoat back lining darts and press the bulk towards the centre back.

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And now you are ready to add your facings to the lining pieces!  We will be covering this tomorrow.  If you would like to venture in to a few tailoring techniques with me, read on, otherwise, see you tomorrow!

Tailoring the waistcoat fronts

I am experimenting with two resources to tailor my waistcoat fronts.  I want to be clear that I took construction classes in design school that taught us some excellent techniques but we never ventured in to tailoring.  It is something that I have been very curious about for years and have read about often…but I haven’t really applied what I have learned!  Today I am doing this at last.  If you are proficient at tailoring and notice mistakes or omissions, please don’t hesitate to point them out to me!  I would love to hear your opinions so that I can learn more!

I hope you enjoy learning a few of these techniques with me:

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Let’s begin by sewing a simplified couture dart suitable for lofty wool fabrics. If you are working with a thin suiting or other material that is not especially bulky, you can sew the dart as per normal and press it to one side.

I actually sewed the sample below in school but never applied it to any of the garments we drafted in class.

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The dart above may look ridiculously complicated but the concept is simple – we are trying to distribute the bulk of the dart evenly so that it is not visible from the right side of the garment.  Lofty wools can show a ridge where the dart is positioned unless you take some preventative measures.  Since the darts on the Belvedere are very narrow, the full trimming and pressing technique shown above won’t work (it’s next to impossible to trim down the middle of the dart almost to the point).

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To simplify the process but still distribute the bulk at the point of the dart over a larger area I cut a square of wool measuring approximately 1.5″ X 1.5″.

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I positioned it centred underneath the point of the dart.  I then followed my original dart stitching line to secure it to the dart.

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I trimmed as far as possible down the center of the dart and pressed it open.  I then pressed the rest of the dart flat.

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From the right side of the garment you can see that there is no obvious dimple at the point of the dart because the added square distributes the wool 1.5″ around the dart point.

Now that the dart has been sewn, it is time to apply the structure.  You will notice that this is a different order of construction from the steps above!  Sew-in canvas stabiliser is too bulky to apply to the wool and then sew the dart.  The darts must be sewn on the wool and the stabiliser separately and then the two layers are attached together.

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I am following along with the very succinct and clear tailoring instructions found wihtin the 1976 edition of the Reader’s Digest Complete Guide to Sewing.  If you are ever able to get your hands on a copy of this book I HIGHLY recommend it.  It is by far my most valuable sewing resource.  The older editions of this book (such as this 1976 version) also include a great section on tailoring for men specifically.  I believe newer copies do not include this.

Click on the photographed images to enlarge and read the pages that I’m referring to.

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Even though the waistcoat that I’m tailoring is actually for me (yay!), I’ve decided to add a chest piece as per the instructions within the “Sewing for men and boys” section of this book since this chest piece is an important aspect to sewing a tailored garment for men.  The layers of stabilizing fabric fill in the hollow typically found under a man’s shoulder.  I must note that I think I also have this hollow…I don’t know if chest pieces are typically added to tailored women’s waistcoats and blazers but I think it will be a nice addition to mine!

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Here is my wool canvas stabiliser with the dart sewn:

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Lay this interfacing piece on top of the waistcoat front so wrong sides are together.

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Mark the roll line if you have added a collar to your waistcoat.  This is the line where you will fold your collar over to make the facing visible.  It should end just above the top buttonhole.

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Baste the stabiliser to the wool along the roll line.  Just catch the wool so that your stitches are not visible from the right side of the garment.  Please note that you would normally be better off using a thread colour that matches your self fabric.  I’ve used a contrast colour (black) so that my stitches are easier for you to see.

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Now it is time to pad stitch the entire stabiliser to the waistcoat front.  Make long stitches through the stabiliser and just catch the under layer of wool (stitches should not be visible from the right side).  Do not stitch within the 5/8″ seam allowances because we will be cutting in to these later.

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Instead of creating large pad stitches on the collar, roll the collar over your hand and stitch small chevrons that encourage the fabric to shape to the curve that you have created.

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Cut 5/8″ seam allowances off of the stabilising wool canvas so that your seams and seam allowances will not become stiff and bulky.

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Fix your stabiliser to your wool by catch stitching around the entire perimeter.

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To prevent stretching out and sagging even more, you can apply twill tape to a number of areas.  The common placement is along the roll line of the collar (so that it does not extend in to the collar but is instead placed beside the collar on the waistcoat front) and down the front of the waistcoat.  I only applied it to the roll line because I did not have 1/4″ twill tape (I only had 5/8″ twill tape) so I thought mine would be too bulky to curve along centre front.

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Stitch around the entire length of twill tape.  Make sure to trim the tape so it does not extend in to the seam allowances.

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Use a very steamy iron and a seam roll or tailor’s ham to shape the collar.  Since my collar is a very narrow shawl collar (rather than something wider) the shaping did not make a large impact.  I wound up steaming the fabric and shaping the hot fabric with my hands to get any sort of visible curve:

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Now that structure is added to the waistcoat front it is time to fill in some indents.  To create a chest piece it is recommended that you use stiff and resilient horse hair canvas.  If you wanted softer structure you could use the same wool canvas that you used for the rest of the waistcoat front stabilising job.

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Cut a small curve as shown above (use the Reader’s Digest image photographed earlier as an example),

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Cover the first layer with a larger curve that extends the entire length of the armhole.

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Cover the first two layers with the largest curve as pictured above.

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Pad stitch all layers in place ensuring that your stitches are not visible from the right side of the waistcoat.  Note that you can add as many layers of stabiliser as necessary to fill in the cavity between the shoulder and chest (the Reader’s Digest book actually suggests one more layer than I used.)

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Finally attach the chest piece to the waistcoat front more securely by catch stitching along the roll line and side seam.

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And there you have it!  May I present to you my first, from scratch, tailored waistcoat front!  Any tips for me?

Head to our shop to find wool stabilising canvas (the main brown fabric that you see here as a stabiliser), and hair canvas (which (I used to create the chest piece).