HNW - embroidered waistcoat quandry

CarolynKayta Barrows kayta at slip.net
Tue Mar 20 10:06:36 PST 2001


I have finally decided to do a late-18th-century embroidered waistcoat.  So
all I have to do is pick one.  I have narrowed it down to three choices,
but now I can't decide which one I want most.  There are so many other
costumes I want that I know I will only make one.

I do English Regency dancing but that's not my main period.  There are
always too few men dancing, so I often dance the men's part (so I can dance
more often).  It simplifies things if I wear trousers, but mundanes make me
feel under-dressed.  I know these waistcoats are really Georgian.  But
since San Francisco, California, wasn't founded till 1777, any excuse for
doing Georgian costumes is good around here, even at Regency events.

Choice one is the 'no more twist' one from The Tailor of Gloucester' by
Beatrix Potter (also in Fashion In Detail on page 107).  This has the
advantages of being all done in three simple stitches and being something I
have wanted for a long time.  It is more what people expect from this
period than the other two are, and if I left the bottom buttonhole
unfinished, and labeled it, people who remembered the book would laugh.
The disadvantages are that I don't get to use gold or spangles on it, and
that my satin stitch isn't nearly as nice as theirs was.  That, and I would
have to buy all new thread for it since I usually work in cotton or wool.

Choice two is something neo-classical, as if to match the ivory wool coat
in Fashion In Detail on page 126, left side.  This has the advantages of
being really simple and being mostly possible from materials I already
have.  I think it has really cool looking embroidery, which is what makes
me want one.  The disadvantage is that the embroidery is narrow and doesn't
look as sumptuous as the others (it was, after all, a period of elegant
simplification).

Choice three is something high-court and glitzy, as if to match the velvet
and gold coat in Fashion In Detail on page 147, upper right.  This has the
advantages of being mostly possible from materials I already have, of being
a style of embroidery I have long wanted an excuse to do, and being mostly
simple couching (gold purl and gold spangles).  Again, I think it has
really cool looking embroidery, which makes me want one.  The disadvantage
is that this one will look Hollywood-flashy in modern light, even if I use
real gold instead of Lurex.

I plan to do a shirt and breeches to go with the waistcoat, but no coat.
(It gets so hot here that our other male dancers often don't wear coats to
Regency dancing events even tho they properly should.)  I will use my own
unpowdered hair instead of a wig.  I will take a couple of lessons on
bowing and deportment, for effect, but I'm not trying to fool anybody that
I'm really a guy (which will make the cutting and fitting easier).
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