A rainbow of Tailcoats!

These last few weeks Midnight Costume Services have been creating 8 matching Tailored Tail Coats for a new Cameron Mackintosh revival production of 5 Guys Named Moe!

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We were sent the designs, measurements and a huuuge box of fabrics and I got started individually Pattern Drafting each Tail Coat to each performer. I drafted sizes 36” chest to a 54” chest! Wowzer!!

There wasn’t time for Toiles so my wonderful assistant Maya got to cutting the fabric- she was also on Waistcoat duty, as I had my hands full Tailoring!- and got stuck in.

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Enormous stack of fabrics… and each Tail Coat cut, interfaces and Pad Stitched.

To be honest, this might fill some Costumers with horror, but I do love a ‘run’ of Costumes. You can really get obsessively ocd and I very much enjoyed creating the Tail Coats, so different individually because of each performers size, shape, shoulder slope or hollow back, to look sharp and exactly the same.

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The Tail Coats cut, interfaced and Pad Stitched awaiting Collars.

There was an additional challenge as some of the fabrics sent were thinner than others, and yet more had a pronounced stretch which needed to be stabilized with interfacing.

Once interfaced, all were pad stitched with horse hair and cotton tape and- with a sigh of relief if I’m honest!- they started to look sharp and lovely.

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Lined up and ready for sleeves… inserting sleeves… checking the drape… arm gussets looking swish.

Inserting the collars was a little tricky as the fabric supplied was slippery however; once tamed with yet more- you guessed it!- interfacing we managed beautifully.

There was an increased amount of ease to inserting the sleeves because I wanted to create a delicious roll to the sleeve head. I think we created a beautiful, clean line, despite having gussets inserted (which are imperative for dance performers).

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Sharp, sharp, sharp! Collars in, welt pockets done, covered buttons covered and sew on.

To finish the client had requested Welt Pockets and the designs showed Black buttons. Because of the fabrics supplied we had to create faux welt pockets. We covered Buttons in the correct sizes for the Sleeve and Centre Front and, all together, I was super happy with how sharp it all looked!

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Matching waistcoats with shawl collars and matching, covered buttons.

Matching waistcoats were also made in house. Again, they were patterned individually with shawl collars and matching, covered buttons.

I can’t wait to see pictures of these bad boys in production. From what I saw of rehearsals whilst fitting, this show looks amazing!

Happy stitching!!

You can see pictures of these wonderful Costumes in their stage show here.

50s Couture Summer Dress Pattern

My Sewing Group and I are going to start making up Tap Pants, or Petti-Pants this evening, so I have just been searching online for free patterns- there are so many out there! (I would recommend proceeding with a search only if you have some pattern knowledge as many of them need re-sizing or adjusting however they are limitless)- and having a nose about trying to see if I could find a slightly nicer pattern than the one I drafted (I did, it’s here courtesy of veravenus.com), only I also stumbled across this list of free PDF Patterns from Dresses to Tap Pants with Sewing Tutorials, Knitting Patterns and other interesting Vintage Sewing bits and bobs too! Burda also have a lovely looking Vintage Style Lingerie Set free PDF here, for slightly fuller Cami and Tap Pants click here for a Free Graded Pattern and Tutorial.

However; the Free Pattern which really caught my eye was a listing for a 50’s Couture Dress and I eagerly clicked the link- Vintage Patterns are expensive and I only have so much time in which to draft my own so I clicked the lick speedily and this is what I found:


Create a Couture Inspired Dress

This dress pattern has been specially created for the Golden Age of Couture website. It is based on a 1950s ready to wear dress from the V&A collection and has been sized for modern day UK sizes 10, 12 and 14.

You can download a PDF to print at home- or there’s a separate one so you can take to the printers if you prefer (but remember to tell them to print at 100%!!). I think it is rather sweet, if you follow the link- click the picture above- you can also upload a video of your finished dress along with others!

I also came across this from Threads Magazine which shows the simplest way to adjust patterns like these- Cut and Spread pattern Grading.  If you would like to buy cost effective, Vintage Patterns I hasten you to Mrs Depew of Etsy… in just a few clicks you will be hooked as she has everything!! All graded for the modern form and instantly downloadable… heaven!

So, my printer has just chucked out the Tap Pants Patterns- 30 pages in total! so I’m off the get closely acquainted with my tape dispenser! Let me know if you have found any great Free Patterns out there, and don’t forget to check out my Free Pattern- the Simple A-Line Skirt!

Happy stitching!