Soft Parts Forward Unto Dawn - Dress Uniform Project

FANGS

Commanding Officer
Community Staff
Division Staff
I thought I'd get this build thread started because I'm excited about it!

See this thread for the reference shots of Lasky's dress uniform from FuD.

Forward Unto Dawn Dress Uniform Reference

We're pretty lucky to have such great photos of the actual costume so that's going to help a great deal in getting the details correct. Sewing is definitely my forte, however, this goes beyond that somewhat in that it is tailoring. That's a different animal. In order to get it looking like it does in those photos, it needs a lot of under construction. Some I've done before many times, and a couple of things that I haven't. We'll see as I go what all is going to ultimately be required.

At the very least this thing is three layers. The outer "fashion" fabric as it's usually referred to as, an interlining and a lining. The interlining is used to give structure and stability to the fashion fabric and is usually a sturdy fabric. I like to use a heavier weight cotton twill. Each piece of the fashion fabric is basted to a piece of interlining and then the two pieces are treated as one. Some pieces will also require some interfacing for extra stability - like the collar, and potentially some light padding (including a padding stitch which I've not done before) in the shoulder area. All of these things will create a suit jacket that will hang beautifully, but you wouldn't know all of that stuff is going on under it. You would notice it, however, if it was missing so the extra effort is most definitely worth it.

I don't exactly what the fabric is that they used because I didn't see it in person but my best guess is it's a fabric classified as suiting. I'm choosing to go with a wool suiting for both the grey and the black. I recently made a full Outlander costume (Season 1) that consisted of a lot of layers and a lot of wool. It was my first time really working with wool and it was a joy. It hangs beautifully, it is lovely to sew and the end product looks polished. Plus, despite the number of layers and heavy fabric - I never overheated. It also didn't wrinkle much in my suitcase. The drawback of course is that this will need to be drycleaned but I think it's worth it.

I found a supplier in Ontario (through Etsy) that carries a lot of wool suiting for very reasonable prices. I'll post a photo of what it looks like once I get home.

I'm using this pattern as a starting point:

M4745 | Civil War Coat and Trousers Sewing Pattern | McCall's Patterns

This pattern is still in print so you can likely pick it up at your local JoAnn's or Fabricland etc. I've used it before and it is medium difficulty pattern. Of course, there will need to be several alterations, which I'll go through as I make them. The trick is going to be to make a mock up first - especially since this is a pattern shaped for the male body. As well, it is too long and has some back detailing that is not in the Lasky uniform.

The pants should be suitable. They are drafted to be a button fly as it is a historical Civil War Era reproduction pattern. However that can be altered to a fly front. This would likely be the most difficult part of the pattern for inexperienced sewers or those that haven't done one before. There are lots of videos on Youtube however that walk you right through it. You could also "cheat" and use the pants from a scrubs pattern that have an elastic waist since you don't see the waist at all. I'll be doing the fly front. The pants wil be lined because I'm using wool, but also to help with the drape of them. The waistband will need some interfacing and of course a zipper for the fly and a button for the closure.

The jacket will need a separating zipper. Most zippers, like the ones you would use in the pants for the fly, have a zipper stop at the end. A separating zipper is the same kind that you have in your coats that you have to stick the end in the tab and then zip it together. You'll notice that the zipper is upside down from how it usually would be, opening from the bottom up. It's also a very specific looking zipper pull and a grey background with gold teeth. That's going to take some hunting. So far the closest I've found is a black background with gold teeth and a pull that is straight with a ball on the end. I think the number one find is going to be the gold teeth. Grey background next and then a closer matching zipper pull if possible. I think though that gold teeth on the black background is sufficient, but I will try to find the right one.

The embroidery for the chest, shoulders and collar has been digitized. I did a test stitch (I'll post a photo of that a little later) on the wool and it looks amazing. I have to fiddle a little with tension still but I'll get it perfect. I might have to monkey with the sizing a little as well. It might be a little oversized at this point.

I hope to do some mock ups this weekend to share with all of you, so keep watching!
 

Dirtdives

RXO & Keeper of Con Lists
405th Regiment Officer
Community Staff
Not the same........and takes much longer to finish 1 piece let alone an entire costume.
 

Lieutenant Jaku

Well-Known Member
I know, just look up how to use one on YouTube. But sewing machines are scary!
If you have seen the horror movie Annabelle the scariest part was the sewing machine.
Shivers
 

FANGS

Commanding Officer
Community Staff
Division Staff
I would be happy to give anyone who needs it advice on how to get started with sewing. It actually isn't as hard as it appears. It just takes practice like anything else. Plus you can do most things with a fairly basic, inexpensive machine.

Having said that, sewing isn't the only part you need to learn. Sizing, cutting, fitting etc. are all completely separate skills with their own learning curves.

If anyone is truly serious about learning, perhaps we could start a club of sorts and meet once in awhile on Google Hangouts or Skype and make something simple like a helmet bag etc. If you'd find value in it, maybe TurboCharizard and I can could start a basics thread for you to refer to.
 

PerniciousDuke

RXO & BCO
405th Regiment Officer
Community Staff
I could use a helmet bag! ... and a sewing machine. lol

I wouldn't mind watching on a hangouts thing and then using the advice later at my parents who have a machine.
 

TurboCharizard

RMO & BCO
405th Regiment Officer
Community Staff
I have to do some dice bags up later on this week, I could possibly do a Friday night hangout depending on work and stuff.
 

xXDashIVXx

Well-Known Member
i have experience with hand sewing small things like plushies, but that would just be suicidal for an under suit or something... so I definitely agree that this is a wondaful idea, for experienced and newcomers, to be a stuck/pinned thread
 

FANGS

Commanding Officer
Community Staff
Division Staff
Finally getting back to this project! I managed to get the basic jacket mock up cut out today.

I've changed my mind and am using this pattern instead:

20190601_170010.jpg

The other pattern has a seam at the waist and this one doesn't. I am however using the sleeve from the original pattern for a couple of reasons. One, I lost the one that goes with this and two, the other sleeve is a two piece sleeve which will work better for the colour blocking.

When I'm doing a mock up I try and think about how I'll use it. If it will just be junked, I'll use crap fabric. But if it can be used as the lining etc or for something else, I'll use a nicer fabric. Regardless, you want to use a fabric that is closer to the final fabric. For example, don't use a stretch fabric for the mock up if the final won't have stretch. In this case, this basic mock up once fited can be used as the base for other projects so I'm using a cotton and will keep it as a fitted base.

20190601_180202.jpg

This is a fairly basic quilting cotton that is nice to work with and could be used for a lining as well. I think in the US you'll usually find a similar one called Kona Cotton at JoAnn's.

I've used this pattern before and I'll likely use it again so I don't want to cut out the size I need. There are a few ways to do this. If the piece is simple you can sometimes get away with folding the pattern to the size you need. You can also use tracing paper to make a copy of the pattern. Or you can trace the pattern right on the fabric when you're using a colour and weight of fabric that will allow it. I also have a lightboard that makes it super easy.

20190601_172705.jpg

I just use a chalk marking device of some sort to trace.

20190601_175135.jpg

There are pencils, refillable pencils wirh different coloured chalk and the one I used here that is the refillable yellow container that has a little wheel in it. Always make sure you know what you're using and whether it will come off of your fabric. Some marking stuff removes too easily and some will set under the heat of an iron so always test.

Always read your pattern pieces. Do they need to be cut on a fold? And watch your grain lines. Make sure you have your pieces straight by measuring from the grainline marking on the piece to the edge of the fabric.

20190601_171555.jpg

In that last photo you'll see another tool - pattern weights. These can be anything with a little weight to them. Large washers wrapped in ribbon, cans of tuna etc.. just make sure whatever it is is clean. These make cutting out faster than pinning and if you use a fabric you can't pin as it will leave permanent holes, they are the better option.

This obviously is a pattern made for men so there may be fit issues in the chest and hip area, but also in the neck and across the shoulders. As well, carfully look at what you need it to look like and see if there are changes that can be made now. For example, the collar shape is wrong so I squared it up before cutting.

20190601_173800.jpg20190601_173703.jpg.

Note on the pattern pieces that there are little triangles. Sometimes single and other times more. Be sure to mark these until you are more comfortable with construction on basic pieces and always on pieces that are difficult to orientate either in direction or location. This is a really basic pattern so I'm not using them. I can always go back though and mark them if I run in to trouble. You can mark them with chalk or with cutting out a mirror image of the triangle to the outside or even clip a small ways inside the seam allowence.

Tomorrow I'll baste together the pieces for fitting. This is done with very long stitches either by hand or machine that are easy to remove.
 
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