11 Sep 2009

A man and his clothes

I have probably hinted here and there about making clothes for my husband. I think it's about time I presented the project, so at least I know what I have gotten myself into... I haven't sewed for anyone else but myself before and I can already tell that it's a completely different challenge. Mostly because you must nag about fittings here and fittings there to the victim all the time, which isn't always appreciated.

Anyhoo, the inspiration for my husband's outfit comes from this three-piece suit, worn by king Gustaf III in 1777 when he visited his cousin and neighbour, Catherine the Great.

It is merely for inspiration; I don't plan to recreate the clothes in any way.

So far, I have almost completed a waistcoat in silk taffeta. Here it lies on our rug, probably trembling with fear from the treatment it got when I worked on the five thousand buttonholes* (remove -on from the word, and we're much closer to the truth...).

The pocket flaps isn't attached yet and there are no pockets. Other than that, it's finished. It's more eggshell than snow white but my camera is worthless.

That leaves me with... Let's see:

1 shirt. I have already scrapped one shirt with one sleeve because it sucked. I think I'll leave the shirt to last.

1 pair of breeches. I purchased this pattern for drop front breeches from Eagle's View because I had read good reviews on it but I haven' touched it as of yet. If you don't count that time I opened the envelope, looked at all the lines and strange marks, quickly stuffed everything back and spent the rest of the evening under the kitchen table rocking back and forth. Breeches = scary stuff.

1 coat. The only good thing about the scariness degree of the breeches is that I still haven't realised how scary the prospect of making a well-fitting coat is. A coat must fit perfectly, it's pretty useless and a waste of fabric if it doesn't. I don't have a commercial pattern for this, I was thinking of using the 1770's frock coat pattern from "Cut of Men's Clothes". I see maaaany mock-ups in my crystal ball...

1 stock. This shouldn't be too much of a problem, I think.

I have this striped silk in design for the breeches and the coat.

Beige and brown - nice and earthy, and it also leaves me with a greater possibility of talking my husband into actually wearing the clothes! I love the more bright and what we may call feminine colours in 18th c male clothing but it's not worth the risk in this case.

There will be no embroidery or other embellishments; partly because my husband would disapprove, and partly because my embroidery skills are non-existent.

I will set the deadline to May 2011, I think. I agree, it's a little soon, but I was always the over-ambitious type, ya know. I think I'll make it.

*That's how much I love you, dear husband! Even if you probably prefer me showing it in other ways.

Gustaf III's clothes are described in the book "Kläder för tid och evighet" by Lena Rangström


  1. I think that you safely can add a thin velvet ribbon on the flaps, collar and cuffs . I've seen it done on other costumes and it gives flair but not too much or over the top. Just a suggestion though :)
    That was what my BF asked for on his upcoming costume (whenever I work up the guts to actually make one).

  2. Looks very promising!

    J just purchased bottle green wool for a coat I have promised to sew him... I've sewn a suit for him before:


    And I promise, the only thing that makes that suit looks good, is because he has the perfect figure to hang clothes on. The oatterns I got from a friend who has a husband in the same size, but for this new project I will purchase a pattern. Feels safer, as I'm so not good on making clothes for a man.

  3. That will be very nice. One you get the pattern down, it's smooth sailing. Good luck :-)

  4. We have both embarked on this frightening and unpredictable path of Man-Clothes. I wish you luck and good sewing!

  5. Ooh - good luck! That stripe is lush - stylish but not to OTT. Looking forward to seeing your progress - I'm sure it'll be lovely! (And super-manly! Yeah!)

  6. So exciting! The waistcoat looks great! Everyone seems to be making so much more progress than me :-(

  7. Oh WOW, this is a great post & you have the most gorgeous site here. I had to stop by to leave this comment for you – and to say hello of course ! Your posts are creative and original and you have interesting pictures. It's all perfect ! Thank you for sharing your site and best wishes....

  8. Think about the use for this clothing before you start. If your husband tends to do multiple periods, then you are better of with early 18th century weskit and French fly breeches. These will cover a much wider period from early 18thc. through to the revolution. But if you make late 18thc., then you can go no earlier, only later.
    Le loup.

  9. Thank you, those are great suggestions.

    However, the society in which I'm active is concentrated around the years 1772-1792 (with some room for excursions into earlier 18th century if you want to) and I find that I myself is rather biased towards the 1770's. So I'll naturally make him an outfit to match me! XD What every loving wife would do.

  10. on the subject of breeches, nothing is more confusing to create than men's breeches. Have a glass of wine first, hand sewing is the key, it is alot of partial sewing then turning, easy to get confused, happens to everyone, stay the course, go slow, check and recheck the instructions.
    You CAN do it.

  11. Thank you Bridgett, I needed that! The part about the wine especially...

    But to tell you the truth, I haven't done much progress yet. I have traced the pattern for the first mock-up but that's it. I think I need to wait for another flash of Diine Inspiration before I take on something like this. It will come and I don't mind waiting :P

  12. Earth colors are pretty decent on clothing. Beige and brown would make an excellent combination. Anyway, it’s so sweet of you to make clothes for your hubby. The thought and effort on making one truly proves how much you love him. :)

    - Lee Dove