Tuesday, September 25, 2012

tuxedo tuxedo

Check out the zebra print shoes to go with the new lining material
Last week I finished relining the 100 year old Tuxedo jacket my friend Caryl had entrusted to me.  Whew!!! 

The jacket lining was a heavy tightly woven stiff silk (I checked with a burn test.) The interlining, densely woven cotton (like a twill) and the outside a very tightly woven wool with satin lapels.  I was amazed at the sturdiness and quality of these fabrics.  All three, the wool, cotton, and silk, were almost hard to get a hand needle through. 

My biggest challenge was unanticipated - that I chose a "not optimal" type of fabric - silk charmuse.  Charmuse has considerably more drape than the stiffer original silk lining material, something I did not immediately notice.

Given that I did not have a pattern to work from and there were quite a few lining pieces (princess seaming) the easiest method would have been to cover the existing lining by sewing new in pieces on top.  Ha! Trying to measure inside a 3-D garment with shredding lining, create a rough pattern, and sew loosely draping fabric into geometric shapes was far more of a challenge than I anticipated. 

And what a learning experience and a privilege!  I got to see all the tailoring methods used inside the garment, most of which matched what I had learned in Ronda's Tailoring class at Canada College. I saw the hand stitching methods used and thought of that tailor 100 years ago, stitching away. And I learned to persevere... there is no decent way to bail on and return a partially relined 100 year old tux.

One thing I did not know about tuxedo tails is that they have a pocket embedded in both sides.  How clever!  Caryl had thought these openings were rips in the lining and was delighted to learn I had worked around the openings so the pockets remained accessible. 

Tuxedo Two
Whew again!  Both lured and repelled by recent experience I spotted a very similar tuxedo jacket in Goodwill today.  The brand is Hart Schaffner and Marx.  

The cut/pattern is almost identical down to the matching pocket holes in the tails. I doesn't fit me like a glove as Caryl's does but it is not too far off.  The sleeve caps look a little too full, almost gathered so to me it doesn't have a true "quality" look. The back is too full (could possibly be taken in). However, at $19.99 I thought it might make a good Halloween costume base for Charlie Chaplin.

I can tell right away that the quality of fabric is not as good. Interestingly the lining on this one is in better shape and it is the satin lapels that are shredding into small bits like worn paper.  I tore off the satin lapels by gently pulling on the seam lines.  I think I can make a decent pattern with them.  I uncovered a padded inside layer of dark green wool.

I researched Chaplin a bit and see the keys to his costume are:

1) a slightly too short and too tight jacket with 
2) the shirt bottom showing between the jacket and
3) a pair of very oversized & extra long trousers
4) comically over-sized shoes (heels together, toes out)
5) heavy dark make-up around his eyes

All of which combine to give him the appearance of a child playing dress-up / a bit of an innocent.

6) the black bowler hat
7) the cane

All the better to facilitate slapstick tricks.

More later!

1 comment:

  1. Awesome job on Caryl's tux! I love the matching shoes with the lining too - that is so Caryl. It is good to "catch up" with 2 of my PNC peeps. :)