James is all finished and ready to go to Whitby! The manikin is padded to fit, and he is all set up. It didn't need much padding, actually. James was a real string bean, even at the age of 50! 6' 2" tall and really slim. You can see this in the Webber portrait, which was done at about the same time as Elizabeth was working on the waistcoat: 1776.
Beavering away on the construction of the waistcoat. I started with the back, mainly to put off the awful point at which I needed to cut into the embroidered pieces! The back is fine white linen, with a lining of coarser unbleached linen. The gusset for the back vent is made of the white linen. The eyelets are had-stitched (of course!) and didn't take nearly as long as the ones I did for my corset. Thinner layers of fabric, much easier! The lacing is cotton tape. Straight-laced, as the one at Te Papa should be, as the eyelets are offset.
The embroidery for the Cook Waistcoat is finally finished! It has taken me 240 hours, which is quite a time, but gives me a benchmark for future reference. It looks well, I think, and hopefully close to the original embroidery did when Elizabeth had finished it.
So now I need to get started on the construction process. My deadline is Feb 12th, which is when I need to get it up to the museum. The pattern needed to be worked out, then the construction sequence, because they worked differently in the 18th century from the dress-making and tailoring techniques we use today.
I had a great time visiting City of York Branch of the Embroiderers' Guild on Saturday last, to talk about Georgian Embroidery. I took my 1770s costume which went down a storm. They have posted about my visit on their Blog: http://yorkembroidery.blogspot.co.uk if you want to see pictures!
I also had the first of my sewing groups in the studio yesterday afternoon, which also went very well. It's good to get going properly with the work. I'm looking forward to the next class.
"Oh, Frabjous Day! Calloo! Callay!" My Studio is finished! Keith put the final touches to it last night. It looks fabulous, just as I was hoping for.
I had a great day yesterday in the Collection Store at York Museums Trust. Spent the whole day drooling (not literally, I promise!) over a WHOLE BOX of 18th century waistcoats, about a dozen or so. Several were beautifully embroiderered, including two that were so similar that they must have belonged to the same person, and were probably made by the same workshop. One J S Walker, Esq: his name was written in the lining of one of them!
Buttons in the 18th century were quite varied. Brass or other metals were used, and even Wedgwood made ceramic buttons, I gather, though I've not seen any myself. They also used a variety of stitched methods, such as Dorset buttons, as well as making buttons to match the embroidery on the garment concerned.
I have a serious contender for boring job of the year! I have been setting up to embroider the first main piece of the Cook Waistcoat: the right front. For those who are not aficionados of embroidery (aka anoraks!) this involves tracing the pattern, pricking it, pouncing through the pricked pattern, and drawing out the pattern from the pounced design. Then you need to frame up the backing fabric, attach the main Tapa fabric and you're off!
Just back last night from a quick trip to London, or at least, to the suburbs. I had to go down to pick up a pair of embroidery trestles from Sophie Long Embroidery, in Sunbury-on-Thames. They are a bit too big to post! They should make working with a slate frame for the main pieces of the waistcoat much easier.
The first piece of the ACTUAL Captain Cook Waistcoat! The left pocket flap, completed embroidery. The spangles and silver thread would catch the light beautifully by candlelight. The colours of the silk embroidery are stunning as well, when you see them un-faded.
The tapa cloth works well, better with the 'grain' running across the flap rather than down it. The silver thread is tamboured, and so is the green silk thread in the outline. The rest of the stitching is silk thread, in chain stitch and long-and-short stitch.
Now I need to get on with the other one.......