Dawn's Costume Guide

17th Century Costume

There comes a time in every costumer's life when making a "pirate" outfit seems like a good idea...


Some delightful line drawings for inspiration:

From left to right, 1744, 1692, ~1690's. The idea I had was to make a man's coat like the gentleman on the far left, wear it with a shirt, pants, and my black boots, and play the part of an eccentric woman of independent means. I had some cheap green velvet from another project that just never came together, and the coat was somewhere on my to-do list. Then that pirate movie came out, and suddenly everybody was playing the same game, argh!

Fast forward to some years after the movie and my costuming accomplice Tara proclaims that she is going to make a "Lady Pirate" outfit based on the second illustration, above. And she wants to wear it in four months at CostumeCon in Iowa. Nothing like a little competition to induce motivation.

The women in the two pictures on the right are all wearing Hunting or Riding outfits made in the masculine style, in imitation of military clothing. It was, apparently, somewhat trendy among the upper classes. That's the look Tara wants to reproduce, masculine, but still within the sphere of acceptable female dress. These images are re-drawings done sometime in the 19th century, and we're trying to trace the original portraits.

Me, I'm not wearing a skirt this time.

The two books I have found most useful so far are "The Cut of Men's Clothes" and "Historic Fashion in Detail". The first book has cutting diagrams of period clothing as well as other textual descriptive resources; the second book has close up color detail pictures of actual garments of the time. "Patterns of Fashion 1660-1860" has a couple of garments from this period, but they are all women's clothing. There is a 1730-50 riding jacket diagrammed which Tara might find useful.

I'll also be using the Simplicity costume pattern #4923, which has a simplified coat pattern. I'm using this because I know the proportions of the pattern will be right to start with, and I can modify the pattern more easily than making one from scratch.

And, for fun, we watched Cutthroat Island a couple of times.


All my fabric has come from either Hancocks or Joann's. Sometimes you just have to work without a designer showroom on hand.

I found some gold trim over Christmas, on sale at Michael's craft store. I'm expecting to purchase a hat blank from Lady MacSnood, and some trimmings from SewBizFabrics. The ostrich feathers at TonyHill look like the best deal for quality, size and price. Finally, I'll need buttons in bulk quantity, and it seems that Greenberg and Hammer will be my source for that (unless something better comes along.)

In general, I am avoiding Ebay this time around because there are still too many stupid people who bid up ordinary items way over retail.


First row, below, dark green cotton velvet and light green silk lining; gold floral brocade for cuffs and facing; buff embroidered 'suede'. Second row, chocolate brown wool for my husband's coat and embroidered brown 'suede' for cuffs; red and black brocade for the waistcoat, and brown wool again. Not shown, brown 'suede' for breeches. I plan to use black linen for his linings.

Costs for fabrics shown above: approximately $120 US. Every single piece was bought on sale, for 50% or more off the regular retail price.

I expect the remaining items (feathers, hats, buttons, trim, etc.) to cost about another $100. And I have not figured in the black linen lining or the gold braid yet.


January 22, 2006

Serious planning for this started over a month ago, but I hadn't put much time into my outfit until a few days ago. In a flurry of excitement I went out and bought the embroidered and brocade fabrics above. They were on clearance and I wanted to be sure I got some while my favorite choices were available. The green and brown fabrics for the coats and linings are already in my stash, and it will be good to use those up (and make room for new fabric).

I spent an afternoon looking up accessories. I think I want to make a small purse, and carry a painted fan. Purses were embroidered square bags, or cloth wallets much like our modern ones, or drawstring pouch bags. I probably won't do much embroidery, so I'm hoping to find a nice remnant of velvet or fancy fabric to use. Fans are the folding kind made with wooden sticks and painted silk or paper. I bought a cheap paper one from an online vendor. It's not exactly the Rococo style, but it's pretty.

Tara wants a pistol to carry hidden in her sash. I am pretty certain we can't get away with that at the convention. Even so, we've found some lovely reproductions, like this one, that would be perfect. And the price isn't too bad, either.

January 26

I went in to town today and visited Dottie Mae's costume shop. They have a pretty good selection of costumes and accessories, and an entire wall of costume hats! They have a second wall of vintage and fancy hats! It looks like it will be a great place to shop in the future. Unfortunately they don't carry any plastic or toy weapons at all, which is what I'm in immediate need of.

Tara found this cool looking toy gun at AnyTime Costumes. She says she wants to conceal at least four of them on her person, in her costume. Well, there's a reason we call her "Boom Boom June." The good news is that I heard back from the security people running the con and they said that as long as the props are fake and are not being brandished in a threatening or irresponsible manner then they have no problems with it. Yay!

I want to pick up a couple of these toy daggers also, I think they have the right kind of exotic flair to be pirate weapons. I figure I can tone down the glossy plastic look with a can of spray matte.

February 1

I am going to make gloves. I saw a web page on using a Vogue pattern to make Elizabethan gloves and I was so inspired I rushed right out this morning and bought a copy of the pattern for myself. It should be easy to adapt for 17th century. I'll be using the embroidered fawn colored 'suede' I bought a couple weeks ago. I don't think I'll have too much trouble if I take it slowly. The fabric is light enough to be flexible, but it's tightly woven enough to not turn into a frayed mess when I start sewing it.

And.... that was a bust. I should have known when I saw that the "small medium and large" sizing applied only to the length of the cuff and not to the size of the hand. I got halfway through the first glove and found that I couldn't get my fingers up into it. So tomorrow I will try again.

February 2

There are reasons why I don't like to sew in the evening, yesterday's fitting problem is a good example of one of them. I get tired and I make mistakes. My mistake last night was not in the fit of the glove, however, it was in believing there was a problem because I was too tired to understand the directions. I woke up this morning and looked at the project in the light of day and said "Duh! Of course it doesn't fit, the gussets aren't in between the fingers yet."

February 3

And here's the first glove, finished. I lined it with pale green silk (the same that's going to be inside my coat, and used some gold lace I've had in my stash for well over a decade.

I have to say it went together easier than I expected, though it was still fiddly and required exacting attention to the pattern markings. I decided to baste each piece in place before sewing it, and that helped immensely.

There's still no adequate method of sizing the glove, so be prepared to make a test piece and then widen the pattern as needed to fit you.

February 5

Now that my other projects are out of the way I can devote the next couple of months to this pirate costume. Arr. But I'm pretty sick of sewing right now so I probably won't do much of anything for a week or more, except finish my second glove.

I found buttons yesterday at an SCA event for almost half the price Greenberg and Hammer sell them. It was too good of a deal to pass up, so I bought three dozen fabulous antique silvered buttons for my husband's coat, and three dozen nice gold buttons for myself. The gold is a little shiny for me so I will use some wood stain or something to antique them myself. I got some smaller, matching gold buttons for a waistcoat for one of us, not sure yet. The gold buttons look like coins from the 18th century.

February 9

Finally finished that second glove. I think, for a first time project, they came out pretty well.

The LA County Museum of Art has some great fashion illustrations of men from the court of Louis XIV.

I've also been searching for ideas for the embroidery on the purse I want to make. The Museum of Bags and Purses (who comes up with ideas like that?) has some lovely examples of the kinds of small purses that people used in the 17th century. I particularly like number 6, and on the 1700's page, number 2. They are just elaborate drawstring pouches made from four shield-shaped sections. I think I can reproduce that style, the question is whether or not my embroidery skills are up to the decorating task.

I found some wonderful transfer patterns but I don't think they'll be very useful with the black velvet I bought for the pouch. And the style really is a bit too early for the period I'm doing. Still, they are great inspiration, and with a bit of modification they'll work well.

February 11

Working on making a pattern for the pouch panels. I've noticed that none of the museums give dimensions for these pouches, which is a hindrance, but they appear to be quite small. I would guess they sit no more than five or six inches high, and most of them are probably smaller than that. I cut up some muslin and experimented with the bottom curve and number of panels. Four panels 7.5 inches high and 5 inches wide at the top seem to duplicate the correct pumpkin shape when sewn together and gathered at the top -- that includes allowances for seams and turning. This makes a pouch big enough to hold an orange. Not large by modern standards, but adequate enough to hold what a 17th century gentleman would need to carry.

Today I also placed orders for our hats from snoods.com and the plastic knives and pistols from the costume place.

February 25

It's been a crazy couple of weeks. Between the cat needing emergency surgery (he's fine now) and my own appointments and the car breaking down in the middle of it all, I haven't been home much to sew. I have figured out my embroidery for the purse, though I haven't started sewing it. The hats and pistols have arrived, and they look great! The hats by themselves, unadorned would be perfect for our project. I'm revising my feather order based on my research into hats of the time period, and will explain that in more detail later.

We are very pleased with the plastic weapons. The service from Anytime Costumes was superb, we had one issue that they fixed immediately, and the box got here pretty fast. The pistols are larger and nicer than we expected, although they are still plastic and they look plastic. The working trigger action is a nice touch. The daggers were also bigger than we expected, but a little on the flimsy side, however since we won't be having duels in the hallway with them I don't expect that to be a problem. We're planning to touch up all the weapons with paint, like I did for our Cyberpunk costumes.

Meanwhile, Tara has started her corset, using Butterick 4254.

March 19

Much of the month is gone, and while I haven't been completely inactive, I haven't started anything major.

Been working on my embroidered pouch. Got the design transferred to the velvet and have started stitching on it when I get the time. It makes my hands hurt after a short while. I'm not sure I'll get four panels done. We'll see.

I have acquired extra copies of Simplicity 4923, for cutting up, and am going to do a test run on one of the shirts today. If it works well I will make another for my husband. His old renfest shirt is wearing out, and this can do double duty there this fall.

March 26

The shirt did not come out as well as expected. Mostly, we just don't like the design -- the large open slit down the front. I won't be making one for my husband, but I will probably adapt this one for myself, since it's half done already, put some buttons on it or something to close it up. I've also got a bunch of lace that will make nice cuffs and ruffles, that I bought back in January when I was buying fabric.

I bought feathers for my hat this weekend. Joann's had packages of "maribou trim" in the craft section. It's small feathers sewn into a band. The 1 yard piece fits nicely along the brim of the hat. I just need to figure out how to attach it, since the wool is extremely stiff and hard.

I found a picture of an actual mid 1700's cocked hat.

March 31

I have spent several days researching the cut of men's coats and waistcoats of the early 18th century. I'm trying to trace fashion details like the number and placement of buttons, the shape and placement of pocket flaps, and the shape and piecing of the skirts. It's little details like that which make the difference between a recreation that looks authentic, and one that looks like a 20th century housecoat.

In 1700 these garments were cut straight up the front and flared on the sides, with buttons and holes running the length of those seams. Pockets had curved flaps and were placed at thigh height. Slowly the front seam of the coat started to curve, the side flare became fuller, and the back seam developed a pleat. Fewwer buttons were used on the front, and removed from the side and back seams altogether. Pocket flaps developed a scallop, and placement rose to waist level where it would stay the rest of the century. By 1760 the front of the coat is distinctly curved back, fullness is gone from the sides, pocket flaps are becoming more squared, and the waistcoat has shortened to waist length. This is the beginning of the Revolutionary War look.

Simplicity's pattern comes close to the early 18th century clothing, and is based on diagrams of original garments, but it is a mishmash of features and modern sewing techniques. My plan is to reverse engineer the Simplicity pattern to something more correct to the period. At the moment I've identified a few spots in specific that need to be addressed. The garment is constructed using modern side seams, which is not historical, so I will need to narrow the back and bring the front around behind the arm a little bit more. The front sides need additional flare (I suspect this was a cost saving measure to use less fabric) and the large pleat in the center back needs to be widened. The entire coat needs to be fitted, so it doesn't hang so loose, and I am going to change the pocket from the early round style to the later scalloped style.

For the waistcoat there are similar changes to be made in the sides seams and fitting. Two waistcoat patterns are included in the envelope, a longer (early) one and a shorter (later) one. The long waistcoat doesn't come with pockets, but I plan to add them, in the scallop style to match the coat.

The Simplicity pattern is also a costume and as such it lacks construction details that original clothing would have had. Primary changes I will make will include adding a lining, adding interfacing or stiffening, and using real buttonholes instead of tacked on braid. In fact the whole braid thing has me puzzled, as I have yet to find an extant coat that is elaborately trimmed with braid in "pirate" fashion. Maybe I just haven't looked hard enough yet.

April 2

I have found some interesting pictures. This first painting from around 1750 shows a gentleman in a coat with decorative trim around the buttonholes. This might be an applied braid, more likely it is embroidery. I'm pointing this picture out because it is so unusual. 99% of the other portraits I have seen show the coat at this time period with simple worked buttonholes in matching thread.

Here's a second picture, of an existing coat from 1760-70. We're starting to get about 20 years past the period I'm working in. This coat has "fringed tabs of green silk braid" under the buttons.

So, the "trim around the buttonholes" style did exist, but it just doesn't seem to have been real popular.

I was able to assemble Jay's waistcoat today. I made a muslin to test the pattern, and ended up narrowing the back by several inches. This should fit fairly closely, without the need for the tie in back, which doesn't seem to have been used at the time.

April 6

Added pockets to the waistcoat, and worked on my shirt a little bit. I should have done the pockets before I assembled the waistcoat, but as they were not part of the original pattern I forgot about it until after I'd got the lining in. That meant I had to do it the hard way, but it's done now. Next up are the pocket flaps and the buttonholes.

Cut the cuffs for my shirt. This started out as a shirt for someone else, turned out it was too short for them, so now it belongs to me. I bought some small pearl buttons last weekend to close up the front slit. Didn't do a whole lot today, but I figure I've got to keep plugging at it or I'll be way behind.

April 11

Started putting in the buttonholes on my husband's waistcoat. The pattern calls for modern buttonholes, just larger than the button, but I am making them extra wide as was done in the 1700's. This is one of those times that I'm glad my machine does nice buttonholes. Even by machine they are tedious.

I also antiqued my brass buttons. They were very shiny and almost white. I was able to brush on a dark brown wood stain to tone down the brightness and bring out the fine detail on the buttons. I think they will look much nicer this way.

Web surfing has been fruitful today. Nicole's pirate page has some good information on uniforms, which leads to the National Maritime Museum and an article on The image of the ordinary seaman in the 18th century. And finally, we have what I've been looking for, an admiral in a trimmed coat. Here's another one, described as having "gold embroidered buttonholes". I think I should point out that these are uniforms, not everyday dress. Then again, pirates are sort of military, aren't they?

April 16

A good friend of mine died over the weekend. I have absolutely no desire to do any sewing this week, but I've got a deadline to meet, and I'm already behind.

I was able to work on my shirt again more today. Gathered the lace for my cuffs, sewed them up and got ready to attach them to the sleeves. Then I took them completely apart and re-made them in my size. After that I sewed the pearl buttons to the front of the shirt, and started making the thread loops to go with them. I need to go out this week and buy more buttons for the cuffs.

April 24

Have spent the week working out the cutting diagram for my coat, going over the Simplicity pattern and determining how to alter it. Mostly, though I've spent a lot of time outside in the garden this week, planting.

Tara tells me she doesn't think she can go to CostumeCon this year. Some unexpected expenses have suddenly made that impossible. I'm even less motivated now to finish this project.

May 2

The trip to Iowa is off. I've decided to shelve this project for now. I may pick it up again for fall.

September 23

Ah, progress at last. But not mine. Tara came over last week and I helped her cut out her coat. She's got it partly sewn together. And she's started her own project blog.

December 24

Joann's has had a bunch of their clearance fabric at half off the discount price this week, so I went down today and bought 6 yards of ugly, heavy, cotton fabric real cheap. I'm going to test cut the coat pattern and do all my fitting on this before I cut my velvet. Especially after hearing about all the assembly problems Tara has had with hers.

December 27

Spent yesterday afternoon cutting out the test fabric. Daylight doesn't last as long as it used to. Started sewing things today. Need to figure out the back pleats, and the sides, for that matter. The pattern has a single gore at each side and in the back, but a real coat would not only have the pleats, but be open up to the hip, and probably held closed with a single button.

January 29, 2007

Have been working on things off and on. Did a bunch of fitting on the test coat, had to take in the sides, the shoulders, and will need to shorten it by four or five inches at the hem. Have almost figured out how to cut and gather the side and back pleats. Just had a devil of a time finding good pictures of the construction of the back of the coat.

Saturday I finished my shirt. It's got lace ruffles at the wrist and pearl buttons up the front. Today I'm trying to figure out the size and shape of the cravat, and what to make it out of. My first thought was silk, which I would need to buy because I only have dupioni in my stash, but after a little reading it turns out I need linen. Ideally a fine linen, but I think I will use some of the nice cotton-linen blend I already have and save myself some effort. That's what a stash is for, after all.

February 1

Fiddled with the fitting of the coat some more yesterday. Took the back in an inch and curved the seam so it fits better. The coat is supposed to be fitted, and not hang like a sack. The thing with commercial patterns is that it's impossible to make a pattern that fits any two people, so they draft them to hang like potato sacks and expect you to do the rest. When you don't your home-made clothing looks, well, home-made.

Also got the sleeve on and messed with that. I seem to have narrow shoulders because I always have to move the seam line up an inch or so. See also previous comments about fitting. The cuff seems to work as-is from the pattern. I'm not sure about the width of the sleeve, it seems somewhat large. Taking the side seams in make the armscye smaller, so maybe reducing an equal amount in the sleeve seam will help the proportions there.

Today I cut the pattern for the waistcoat, made a muslin out of some scrap cotton, decided I was happy with the fit -- more or less -- and cut the gold brocade for the real thing. Based on my experience with the coat I was undecided between cutting the small or the extra-small pattern size. I cut the small and marked the XS on the muslin. Turned out that the small fit everywhere except the neck, which I cut back to the XS size. Pretty easy.

The brocade I am using is a yellow-gold (the 2nd one in the top row at the top of this page) with multicolor flowers and vines all over it. It is not authentic reproduction fabric or anything like that, but it has the right feel, and it is simply beautiful. For the back I have a stash remnant of pale green linen, and for the lining I have a stash remnant of butter colored silk that matches well. The silk will only line the front, leaving a single layer of linen on the back. This should be more comfortable than a double lining, given all the layers to this outfit.

The Gentlemen of Fortune website never fails to impress. Here's a nice page with some information on putting an authentic coat together.

February 5

I was able to get the shell of my waistcoat assembled, but not without some effort. The yellow satin turned out to be "Fabric from Hell". It was not only the typical slippery, fraying stuff, it shrunk when I got the iron near it. It's a mix of polyester and nylon, and it must be the nylon that does that. So my interfacing couldn't be ironed on, I had to pin it, and of course the pins are leaving marks. Yes, I'm using silk pins. It's not helping. I also had to piece the silk lining because the remnant I had was not the right dimensions to get both front linings out of it whole. There's nothing wrong with pieceing, it was done historically, it was economical, and it won't show. It did take a bit more work, though, and I really wanted to use that yellow silk.

I put pockets in the front of my waistcoat, which are not in the pattern. Now that I've done that a few times it's starting to get easy. I did not have enough yellow silk lining to do the pockets, so I used the green linen left from the back. It won't really be seen. I do have enough yellow silk to do the lining of the pocket flaps.

Working on pocket flaps today. The pocket flaps as given in the pattern are not correct for the time period I am re-creating. I'm not sure they're correct for any part of the 18th century at all. I've spent the morning looking up the shapes of waistcoat pocket flaps, so I can make this look right. Or at least look better than the pattern. Here's a close-up of a plain linen workman's waistcoat in the collection of the Connecticut Historical Society. You can see the distinctive curves in the shape. There were some variations on this, but this is a pretty typical pocket flap from 1720 through to the 1760's. Since this is the same shape that is used for the pocket of the coat, it should be easy to scale it down a little bit for use on the waistcoat, but I'm not going to, I'm going to draw my own pattern.

February 15

Made quite a bit of progress on the waistcoats this week. My husband's is completely finished now, I spent yesterday hand sewing all the inside seams and doing the last of the buttons. I was originally looking for metal buttons for the waistcoat, and hadn't found any last year (and passed up the opportunity to buy some when a local shop went out of business because I wasn't thinking clearly) and in the end decided to do fabric covered buttons. They are more or less period, not too expensive, and only moderately fiddly. And they look cool as hell. There's a picture here taken before the pocket flaps went on. The camera flash makes the gold brocade look much shinier than it really is. My waistcoat has the lining in, but needs all the inside seams finished off and the pocket flaps put on.

February 22

Where does the time go? It's been a week and I'm still working on finishing the lining in my waistcoat. Surely I've done more sewing than that?

Only 5 weeks left until Costume Con -- and I still haven't cut my coat.

February 26

Using _The Cut of Men's Clothes_ as a reference, I have re-drafted the sleeves and cuffs. There's nothing really wrong with the sleeve in the pattern, but it is too wide for my size. The cuffs on the other hand, are shaped differently. I want mine to be fuller, rounder, and open on the bottom. The bucket cuff is ok for the early 18th century, but I don't like it.

Here's a picture showing how I narrowed the sleeve and adjusted the curve at the elbow. And you can see the lovely cheap blue and yellow spotted fabric I'm using as my muslin. That's the original cuff, not my modified one.

Another change I decided to make was in the neckline of the coat. For some reason the pattern gives you a rounded, curved front opening, but after looking at some portraits I noticed actual coats were squared off at the front. I attached a scrap of fabric and drew in the new neckline to remind me when I cut the velvet.

March 7

Cut the velvet on Monday. It took me most of the afternoon to figure out how to lay out the pieces on the fabric I have. I had a 3 yard length of velvet, and two 1-yard pieces. All 60" wide. One of the 1-yard pieces had been partially cut when I tried to make an Elizabethan gown a few years ago. That didn't work, so I kept the fabric and am recycling it. After much agonizing with the velvet, I got everything arranged satisfactorily, and with the nap (I think). And then... (cue dramatic music)... I cut it.

Today I cut the lining out. I was able to fit everything onto a 4 yard piece of 60" wide green silk -- but I didn't have to worry about nap, only the grain.

The big green J shaped piece is the fronts, the green mushroom shaped piece is the backs, the sleeves are the blue and white pieces in the lower right, and the small square pieces are the cuffs. Notice what's missing?

Now it's time to interface everything.

March 13

I ran out of interfacing last week, even after buying an extra 6 yards for this project. A lot of it got sucked up in the extra skirts I put in, it's only 24" wide and my coat skirts are much wider than that. I had to go out and buy more on Sunday, but I was able to use a half price coupon for it, so it wasn't too bad.

Monday I finished the interfacing and started assembling the sleeves. There's a long, complicated method of sewing the sleeve and lining together inside out so that when you turn everything right sides together you end up with all the seams neatly inside. In practice it looks like a cross between quilt patchwork and origami. Well, I did it wrong the first time -- got the cuffs on the wrong way. Sleeves hate me.

So today was round two of sleevigami. I disassembled the first sleeve and swapped cuffs, which sounds easier than it was, as I wanted to rip out as few seams as possible so as not to mark up the silk and the velvet. Then I got the second sleeve done, and before dinner, too.

March 15

Sleeves are on! The front and back pieces are sewn together and the lining is in. From here on out it's all hand sewing. Oh boy.

Oh yeah, I forgot to cut the pockets and flaps for my coat. I *think* I have enough scraps to make them, but I haven't checked yet.

March 19

Friday night I went over to Tara's house and we worked on her coat. She's ahead of me in construction, got it mostly assembled and started on the trim. We re-did the trim on the cuffs so it would lay flat, and got started on the trim for the front. I spent a couple hours putting fabric glue on, then sewing 3" long strips of gold braid on the bias to stretch velvet, until we ran out of gold thread. It's going to look really spiffy when it's finished.

Today I need to do the pockets on my coat, so I can get them in place before I sew up the inside seams and make it look all nice.

I've also got an idea for how I want to do the braid up the front, I'll have to do a sample piece, measure it, and see if I have enough. I've only got 12 yards of braid, which is not all that much when it comes to costuming.

March 20

Nine days left until CostumeCon. I'm starting to feel a little bit rushed. I did some measuring last night and figured that I will need 50+ feet of braid to do the trim the way I wanted it. I will probably end up not using any of it. Plain coats are period, even if they're not quite as pretty. Then again, I might find something at the store this weekend.

Yesterday I did the pockets. I only put one pocket liner in backwards, but I was able to fix that easily. They look very nice. I'm getting used to doing those.

Been trying to get the pleats set in place today. I don't know what I did wrong with the back pleats but they will not hang right. I simply cannot get them to fall correctly. Dammit! The side pleats are being a lot less fussy, thank goodness. I also spent some time today edge stitching various parts of the coat.

Forecast for tomorrow: more hand stitching.

The National Maritime Museum in Greenwich also has uniforms in their collection. Yummy!

March 22

Spent yesterday on more hand edge stitching. I think I'm done with that. Had to go out last night and buy dark green thread for the buttonholes. I've been using a pale green for the edge stitching because it buries in the velvet and isn't really seen from the top, yet it matches the lining color, however the buttonholes will be very visible. Surviving examples tend to show the buttonhole thread in the same color as the coat.

The top picture is the braid I originally wanted to use on my coat. It is white and gold and because it is braided it will turn and lay flat when I sew it down. But I don't have enough of it. There's someone selling it on Ebay for $8.99 a yard. Get real! I bought mine at 50c a yard.

I have another roll of gold trim, it is "antique", which means it is much darker, but I have 17.5 yards of it, which is what I need to do the coat, so I guess I am going to use it. If I bought anything new right now I wouldn't be able to get anything decent -- in time to sew it on -- for under $2 a yard, and probably not even that cheap.

March 25

I've been so tired this week, between my arthritis flaring up and the lack of sun. I've woken up several mornings feeling bruised and achy all over. On top of that the higher dosage of medication my doctor recommends gives me an upset stomach. Bleargh. But I'm still slogging away on the coat.

Friday I went over to Tara's house and we spent a couple hours sewing together. I was able to use her dress form and re-adjust how the pleats on my coat will lay. I got the back to look halfway decent. I also got one pocket sewn on before realizing I haven't put buttonholes in them yet, so I'll need to take that off and re-do it later.

March 27

Monday I put the false buttonholes on my pocket flaps and cuffs. They look pretty good. I marked the placement with masking tape, to keep the lines straight. If you do this, test it on a scrap first. The tape can pull tufts of pile out of your velvet, and you may need to blot the tape on another piece of fabric to make it less sticky first.

Tara came over last night and we worked on her coat. I helped her even out the hemline, and we made pocket flaps. Then we spent some time painting the pistols and daggers we bought, to make them look less plastic.

March 29

The list of things I still have to do is too long to type at this point. But I have got the feathers and trim glued onto my hat. Yes, those are clothespins holding it in place until it dries.

March 30

It's raining as I write this, coming down in buckets, and Tara is late picking me up so we can head out for the con.

Was up until 11 last night hemming. Still need to trim one cuff and sew on all the buttons. I guess I'll do that this evening after we get to our hotel. The painted-over plastic weaponry came out pretty nice, I put the finishing dullcote on this morning. Got the camera packed, plus extra batteries, so I should have some good pics when we get back.

April 2

The con was a blast and I am exhausted. But I have a picture:

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