Tuesday, 26 January 2016

The Powers That B

B's birthday has rolled around again, and if there's one good thing about making things it's that you don't actually have to think very much about buying stuff for people - y'know, except at Christmas, which is a a bit of a frenzied exception. I've been fretting a bit as I've vaguely been promising many beautiful things for B, none of which had an actual timeframe.

Anyway, I finally decided on a waistcoat. B has recently begun dancing with Gog Magog Molly and is building up all the components of his costume. You know what, this might actually count as my first real costume as well!

Front of patchwork waistcoast for molly and morris dancing
Back of patchwork waistcoast for molly and morris dancing

If you think this looks a little bright, you'd be correct. We have some very particular specifications to meet. Broadly, it should be: bright/saturated colours, coordinating but deliberately haphazard/mismatched with the rest of the outfit and the rest of the group, interesting to look at from a distance and also up-close. Look at them all together - doesn't seem so outlandish now, does it?

Gog Magog Molly dancers in a line

Gog Magog Molly dancers performing

Gog Magog Molly dancing in Oxford

A pair of dancers from Gog Magog Molly

Gog Magog Molly band of musicians

So, the waistcoat - the fit is fine but not great. I wouldn't repeat it at all, so will need to trace a new one from somewhere if B ever needs a formal waistcoat. And maybe actually measure B at some point instead of guestimating. The pattern is Burda April 2014 #136. I'm not used to the men's sizing in Burda so assumed 94-110 was normal, when actually it's a tall pattern. I traced approx 102 and resized to a normal/petit size.

B is modelling his new waistcoat as part of his molly dancing costume

The outer is a patchwork of scraps - chosen for their brightness. In there you can see last year's birthday gift, EDF Zingy, our lounge curtains, my first (and only) button down shirt, yellow jeans and a bunch of others. I pieced together a big bit of cloth and laid the pattern on top. Things are deliberately mismatched a bit across the seams (mostly to annoy any perfectionists in the neighbourhood). It's underlined in a teal muslin I had lying around around.

Patchwork cloth made from fabric scraps

patchwork waistcoat pattern pieces

The lining is Amy Butler Love Paradise Garden in periwinkle which I had used many moons ago for a Blue Sky sunhat. There was just enough left for the lining of the waistcoat. In the original plan there was an idea for facings and labels like a proper garment. This is still an actual lining, it's got pleats instead of darts. Those plans changed when the potential to make it reversible came about, so the waistcoat is now fully reversible. This really helped mitigate some worries that the other members of the troupe wouldn't approve of the actual outer.

Front of waistcoat lining made from Amy Butler fabric

Back of waistcoat lining made from Amy Butler fabric

I added 3 poppers/press studs as a fastening.

I also did 3 rows of topstitching in bright colours around the edge (2 rows around the armhole). This was some really nice hand sewing - uncomplicated. However, an injured index finger made it a little more difficult. Think papercut but with dressmakers' pins, right at the tip of your finger. It did affect dexterity a bit!

To complement (though actually it came first), I also hand sewed this brooch to give some 3D depth and movement to the costume. Honestly, it was a compromise after being told that I wasn't allowed to copy someone else's spangly sequin trim. Good luck meant that it also perfectly suits the B-side-formerly-known-as-lining!

Fluffy brooch on waistcoat outer

Fluffy brooch on waistcoat lining

It's basically a feather boa spiraled up on to a felt oval. I used the whole length of a boa and was glad that by not cutting it, it didn't generate too much fluffy mess. This was a plus as I was sewing it on the train and other passengers (or crew) might not appreciate the yellow feathers everywhere. The result is lovely and dense and fluffy. The fluffy supplies are from New Trimmings and other supplies are from my stash.

sewing a fluffy brooch

You should all be proud of me for having this finished in good time before the big day! You should also be completely unsurprised that at 22:30 the night before, I decided it wasn't enough.

You know what safety pants are, right?
You can guess what they are, right?*

B's had the Comox pattern from Thread Theory sat in his stash for a while. I traced it off and buzzed up a pair of pants. This was a first for me and I rejigged things to omit of the opening at the front. I mean, it's more appropriate because they're safety pants for dancing in public. You really don't want easy access! I was also thankful because this helped to speed up the process. In my idiot sleepy state the one-way print ended up upside down, though I really doubt it's important.

boxer shorts wih pictures of sharks on them

Shark pants! Safety pants! Safety Shark Pants!

(And there was enough left to make up a pair of shark pants for me too)

That's it! If you see these guys out and about, please stop, watch a dance and say hi


a colourful man playing the accordion

Photos courtesy of Andrew Swaine

*Unfortunately I have no illustrative photos of safety pants in action. The idea is that when you are dancing in a skirt or dress, sometimes the skirt will fly up and show off some areas that are best kept private. Members of the Gog Magog Molly are encouraged to wear safety pants under their skirts, but over their tights, as part of the costume.

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