The Making Of A Very Special Waistcoat & Top Hat

This past weekend has seen a flurry of activity even greater than the recent very busy days we have had, as we sat down with a long list of wedding ‘makes’ to complete. We designed, cut, sewed, glued, printed and folded things feverishly and found ourselves two days closer to our wedding at the end of it. As we will be away from home next weekend this leaves us with only the following weekend to get everything for the wedding completed, so every day, evening and spare moment seems filled with loveliness but also the feeling of having many, many things to do!

One of the main tasks for the weekend was to make sure that Giantmonk would be properly attired for the occasion, and so I set about with a sewing machine that I was not too familiar with (after my last one tragically broke) and very little idea of what a Giantmonk-proportioned waistcoat should look like when drafted into very much custom pattern pieces. However, I measured around his stout little tummy and rather short torso and after looking up picture of what a waistcoat looks like when worn decided to just go for it.

The front of the waistcoat is made from a heavy brocade cotton in cream and ivory, which I picked up as scraps of curtaining from a wonderful labyrinthine rabbit warren of a shop called Hole In The Wall in Walsall (which, incidentally, is well worth a visit if you are ever in the area).

I added a little inset pocket without a zip into one side of the waistcoat as Giantmonk has agreed to take charge of caring for some very precious and special items for us for the ceremony and wanted a little pocket so that he could be sure that his small cargo was safe and secure.

The back of the waistcoat is made from the same muted gold satin that the pocket is edged and lined with, and the whole waistcoat is lined for durability and style.

Once I had worked out how to put the waistcoat together and managed to adjust the fit a little to ensure that it made the most of Giantmonk’s wonderful stature I added the three buttonholes to secure the waistcoat closed.

If there’s something that always scares me, it’s buttonholes. What actually terrifies me are buttonholes on a machine that I am unfamiliar with.

Buttonholes can make or break a finished garment. Even after practising the buttonhole (about thirty times) on some scrap fabric to ensure position, size, tension, stitch length and every other variable, I always expect the buttonholes to do something totally unpredictable. Really, though, it is a symptom of them being something so visible on the very front and focus of the finished garment, and if you mess them up they can be very difficult to rectify in such a visible place as a piece of fabric will never be quite the same once it has had a high-density buttonhole sewn into it, even with every stitch unpicked.

However, despite all of the qualms, the making of the buttonholes passed by without major incident, and three little ivory coloured buttons were sewn on to complete the closure, and the final fitting was made and the waistcoat with a special little pocket was declared to be complete.

However, that was not the end of Giantmonk’s outfit, for as you will have seen in the pictures above Giantmonk also sports a very handsome top hat.

Flared at the top for a little whimsy and balance, Giantmonk’s top hat is made from brown felt formed around a lightweight cardboard inner for stability. The brim is made from a ring of cardboard sandwiched between two layers of felt and cut flush to finish, and it fits him perfectly.

Giantmonk is now all set for the wedding with his completely handmade outfit. He’s very excited about it, as you might imagine, so he’s written a couple of blog posts of his own, all about the designing and Giantmonk’s own wishes for his outfit and then his thoughts on when he got to try on his waistcoat and top hat for the first time.

This website is likely to be a bit quiet on the lead up to the wedding, but I can only say that I have so very much to share once the big day has been and all of the details of the things we have made can finally be shared! I absolutely cannot wait!

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