Hot! And so it begins: The Thaddeus Burr Suit

Some time last year I posted about a suit of clothes that Thaddeus Burr wears in a Copley portrait. I considered it a crazy idea, but after having now made a couple items of 18th century clothing, I feel ready to begin tackling it, at least as a side project when I’m in-between sewing other stuff.  When I saw silk in the perfect color on sale at G Street Fabrics the other day, I knew that it was time to start.

20140219-225341.jpgNow, I’ve never worked with silk before, so I didn’t know much about the fabric, and unfortunately was erroneously led to believe that “shantung” silk was a period fabric.  Thankfully, the silk I bought was on sale, and I didn’t need much for a waistcoat front.  After finding out that the fabric was incorrect, I originally planned to use it for something else, but since I’ve never worked with silk (and it’s apparently a pain in the butt to work with), I think I’m going to go ahead and make an initial version of the waistcoat with this fabric, as practice.  I’m going to be working with LACMA’s 1750s waistcoat pattern, which I will have to re-draw and re-grade to my own measurements, and I’ve never done bound buttonholes, so there’s a couple good reasons for a practice run before I start working on the real thing.

So, the first part of this project will be making the practice waistcoat.  I’ll be working on it in between sewing a couple other items (including a frock coat, new breeches, and an 1890s vest), so don’t expect progress to be too speedy, but at least I’m starting!


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  1. That almost looks more like a Dupioni than a Shantung. Either way, you will probably love working with it, I make a lot of garments with it, and have never had any problems. I can hardly wait to see how it turns out!