Brocade Vest & Windowpane Pants

June – October 2007

Before beginning work on Aaron’s frock coat I decided to make him a new ensemble go with it: vest, pants and neckwear. The perfect fabric had made its way into my stash. Plus I already had tested and fitted patterns for both (Laughing Moon pattern #109 and #106 ). I was able to spend the extra time on construction details, so Aaron would have a really special outfit for the Costume Con 26 masquerade.
The vest fabric is a gold paisley brocade, really the motivation behind the whole ensemble. Once I found the fabric, there was no turning back! The brocade was backed with a silk fusible to prevent fraying. It was then underlined with a double layer of silk organza. The vest is lined in white cotton lawn, with the shawl collar lining and center back piece in black tafetta. There is a very thin layer of cotton batting as chest padding. The buttons are self-fabric, and a metal buckle is sewn to the waist belt. The fabric is matched on the pockets. Unfortunately, it didn’t occur to me that the white lawn would be visible. It’s an issue, so the pockets are basted shut.

Windowpane matching
Gold paisley brocade

The pants are made up in light-weight gray wool suiting, woven with a cream windowpane design. I cut the pattern using the layout suggested in Cabrera’s Classic Tailoring Technique for plaids and stripes. The windowpanes were matched on all pockets. The pants are fully lined in cotton batiste, and the hem is faced. Black metal buttons with gold scrolling hold the suspenders. A metal buckle holds the two belt ends together.
The red stock and bow tie that go with this outfit are made from the same taffeta used in the 1560s Florentine suit. I also threw together a Laughing Moon Victorian shirt, so Aaron would have a change of clothes for the weekend.
The Laughing Moon patterns have some really nice documentation included. The pants are based on a salesman’s sample with back pockets, dated from after 1853, and the vest is a copy of a circa 1850 original.