Mauve Breeches: First Steps to Final Product
So, to say I’m a bit behind in writing about my projects would be a vast understatement. But, I’m hoping to work through the backlog soon, starting with the mauve-colored fustian breeches I made back in June.
Though I was very skeptical of his choice, Marc recommended that we use, and then heavily modify, the Eagle’s View breeches pattern. Parts of the pattern are quite inaccurate, but others are quite good. We cut out the pieces in muslin first, made the pattern alterations that Marc recommended (such as re-drawing the front panels, straightening out the legs, re-drafting the groin, changing the button placket, and changing the facing in the fall), and sewed it together. The muslin showed that the breeches needed to be let out a bit in the thigh, and to be shortened by a good 4-5 inches or so. The final changes were then applied to the paper pattern, which we then cut out. Marc made many munchkin jokes, as the breeches are very short, especially when compared to their width (as you can see in the photo of him holding up one of the legs, above).
After the paper pattern was finalized, we cut out the fustian (which I got from the always awesome 96 District Fabrics), and started sewing. Since we were pressed for time (we were trying to to get me kitted out for Colonial Williamsburg’s Under The Redcoat event), we cheated a bit by serging the side seams (which would have typically been flat-felled), but most of the rest of the garment was hand-sewn.
The breeches fit quite well right off the bat – I was quite impressed, though I had a skilled tailor to help me in the form of Marc. The photos above are from the very first fitting (which you can tell by the fact that the garment is largely held together by pins), and you can see that the legs are closely fitted, as they should be for the period. There was quite a lot of room in the seat, as there should be, though I might allow for just a bit more next time, as I do have a bit more in the rear than most guys. Though, I’m losing weight and body fat pretty quickly with my new exercise regime, so maybe that won’t be as much of a problem in the future.
Here’s what the finished product looked like while being worn:
The only major issue I have with them is that they’re a little on the short side. They sit right at the base of my kneecap when I’m standing still, but they slide up over half my knee when I walk, and almost completely over my knee when I crouch or sit. So, I think that the next pair will be about 2 inches longer at the knee. Many reenactors have their breeches too long and too lose, so it can be difficult to make sure that you still have the right degree of movement without making your clothes too long or loose, and we erred on the side of caution on this one perhaps a bit too much. I picked up some dark gray linen for a new pair while I was at Battle of the Hook, so hopefully that won’t be as much of a problem with my next pair.
So, there you go!