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Page history last edited by Shylaah 14 years, 2 months ago

This version exclusively for Confessions of a Jackaholic.  Do not copy and paste elsewhere.



I was in a hurry and did not spend as much time researching the waistcoat as I would have liked, and I'm not very proud of the one I made.  I just had so many problems (due to my ignorance) with it, that I'm not too fond of it--it's a seamstress thing :) But hopefully my experience and experiments with it might be of a wee bit of help to others, so here goes..... 


For the front, I used a linen-weave cotton that was originally a medium denim blue color.  It turned out to be a little too flimsy.  Those Silversmith buttons are real heavy and they pulled down on the upper edge of the waistcoat.  I had to take off the buttons, open the front edge and put in some interfacing to sturdy it up a bit. Would recommend some lightweight interfacing on the button and buttonhole edges anyway whatever fabric you choose. If I were starting over making another waistcoat, I'd choose some kind of heavy linen.


For the color, if you can't find that aubergine color, then get something light preferably not any darker than a medium blue, and dye it. Adding color is much easier than trying to take away color, especially taking away color then adding more/different color--big hassle. So stay away from dark and bright colors.


I bought two bottles of rit dye, one purple, one navy blue and mixed up batches and test dyed strips. I started with 1 part purple, 1 part blue (teaspoon full, or cap full for 'part' is close enough and mix it with about 6 parts water--you don't need much for a little index card sized sample.......).  Then a new batch of 2 parts purple, 1 part blue, then another new batch of 3 parts purple, 1 part blue. I added more purple to the batches because that aubergine color is more purple than it is blue but I didn't know just how much more purple.  I dyed (same amount of time in the dye bath for each sample) and dried samples till I got one I was satisfied with, which turned out to be the 3 parts purple, 1 part blue on the particular fabric I used.

It has proven difficult to find something close to SA for the back of the waistcoat.  It seems that everyone is having or has had the same problems finding an appropriate fabric.  I never found a really suitable fabric for the back. I used a light grey that had a kind of a hint of stripe in the weave, not a color stripe, but the way it was woven.  As with the color for the front, I would suggest that you get fabric for the back of the vest as close as you can to SA, but in a lighter offering, and dye it to get it as close to the picture of Jack's as you can. Any fabric with lighter and darker strips will remain lighter and darker stripes after an over dye, it won't take away the stripes unless you were dying it black or something really dark.

The waistcoat I made.......

I used the Simplicity #4923 pattern.  I didn't know anything about SA when I started the waistcoat. The only mod I made in the beginning was to move the shoulder seams to the top of the shoulder. Then I left it laying cut out but unfinished for months while I studied and worked on the frock coat.  When I went to complete the waistcoat, I did all I could to correct the error of my ways--but there wasn't a lot I could do since it was already cut out and I didn't have enough material to start over.
I cut some of the material off the sides of the front to decrease the flare.  I rounded off the center front at the neckline, and tried to straightened the lower front as much as I could, but I only had the seam allowance to work within and couldn't do much there.  And there were other woes. I made functional pockets, but alas, I positioned them too low.  I re-drew the pocket flaps because I had enough material to re-cut those. I made it longer top to bottom and changed the profile of it to a slight point in the center instead of the scallops the pattern has. I sewed the buttons on through the lining after all else was done. I was rushing against a deadline to get the waistcoat finished and in my haste, when I sewed on the pocket buttons, I sewed right through the functional pocket, rendering them nearly useless!  I did re-do them at a later date.
I made the functional pockets, using the technique found on this page called the windowpane opening method,


near the bottom of the page, look for the section titled Pocket with flap. 

DO NOT do the flap WITH the pocket like they show it. Make the flaps separately, do the buttonholes on them and then sew the flap on separately, over the top of the pocket opening.  Make the pocket opening 1/2 to 3/4 inch shorter on each end of the opening than the pocket flap is wide to make sure it will not show on the finished vest.

I cut the pocket bag and lining both out of the same material I used to line the vest.  I cut it much bigger than it needed to be.  After I stitched them onto the vest, I pressed them down and trimmed it to be about 1 inch wider than the pocket opening toward the center front of the waistcoat, about 1/2 inch shorter than the bottom finished edge, and sewed the side of the pocket lining that's toward the side seam into the side seam.

The back of the waistcoat ends 4 or 5 inches below the waist  I left about four inch slits at the bottom of the side seams, and made a slit in the center of the back to about an inch above the waist.
The lacings I made, each one is 4X4 inches finished, so to make 2 of these cut 4 pieces of the vest back fabric 4X4 inches plus seam allowance. Using 2 pieces with right sides together sew around like you were making a little pillow....something like this... 

 __      __

|         |

|         |  

|         |

| ________|


Trim the seam allowance, turn right side out through opening. Slip stitch opening closed.

I used a 6mm metal jump ring to make the eyelets for the lacing.  I used readily available jewelry jump rings, but later found out that if you make the lacing holes using a jump ring, it's suppose to be some special kind of soldered jump ring because jewelry jump rings have an opening that might slice through the stitching or eventually work itself out of the stitching.  Here are links to a couple of eyelet how-to web pages.  I'm sure Google could find you many more.
Make four lacing holes per side, spaced 1/2 inch down from the top, 1/2 half inch up from the bottom and one inch apart. I think I placed the lacing holes too close to the center edge.  I put them about 1/4 inch from the edge, and I think it should be more like 1/2 inch from the edge, at least it looks that way on the stuntman outfit vest. Sew the pieces centered just a little above waist level and about mid way between the center back and the side seams. Lace with a thin leather strip.

Below are sketches French Ghost posted of the first mods he made to the Simplicity #4923 vest pattern.  These are essentially the same mods I made, (or tried to make on my already cut out material).  


(red = mods) original pics at:
However, after looking at a few new pictures and reviewing the ones I already had while writing this, I think the side seam may go a few more inches toward the back of the vest.  Notice in the picture below, the side seam doesn't line up vertically with the shoulder seam, and the lower part of the vest is wrapped around the hip. 


The vest button's design/style name is Silversmith.  You will need 18 buttons, 12 down the front, 3 under each pocket flap.  The size for SA has been debated.  They are commonly available in the 7/8 inch size and as such have commonly been used on waistcoat replicas.  However, Simon at KTTC forums (jsn97 on eBay) was selling the 5/8 inch Silversmith buttons and that size is probably the SA size.  If you look at pictures that show both the coat buttons and the vest buttons, most of the time the vest buttons look to be about half as big as the coat buttons.  And since we know the coat buttons are roughly 1 inch, then 5/8 inch would be right for the vest buttons.  So you'll have to check with Simon for those as I could find no other place that sells the 5/8 inch Silversmith buttons. 
For the 7.8 inch buttons:
Joanne's Fabrics SKU number #1430 Creative Buttons by JHB and were 2 on a card for $3.25 last time I checked (June 2008)  . 
They are available at several places on the internet:
Silhouettes Clothing Co. http://www.topnotchcostumes.com/buttons.html 18 for $49.95 (which is about $2.78 each)
Update May 2010
Simon describes the buttons in the British measurement called "line" (one twelfth of an imperial inch) which is from the French lignes abbreviated L and 40 lines/lignes equal 1 inch American. According to Simon the breeches buttons are 24L which would be about 3/8th inches and just a little smaller than the waistcoat buttons that are 28L which would be 11/16th inches, just a little bigger than 5/8ths, but not quite 3/4ths.

If you're looking to purchase these buttons, Simon is the only one I know of who has offered these sizes for sale. I'm sure you can get in touch with him  through his eBay account .
The prices he quoted me in January 2010 was "UK Prices are £1 for the silversmiths, and 80p for the frock coat buttons, + a 10% forum discount, so 90p and 72p respectively."  The currrent exchange rate is about £1 equals $1.43, so rough calculation would be about $1.29 each for the Sliversmith buttons at today's (May 24, 2010) exchange rate and the 10% forum discount!! And I don't know what the shipping would be.



I had planned to do the regular hand stitched buttonholes, tailor buttonholes, on the vest but I ran out of time to do that. I had no choice but to do them with the sewing machine.Well, the vest buttonhole is about 3 inches long and my buttonhole attachment is only 1 1/2 inches.


Okay, a sewing machine buttonhole is just satin stitches, very close zig zag stitch, the little attachment just makes it easier to do. So I marked the 3 inch buttonhole and tried to satin stitch down one side and turn it around and stitch the other side.  I could not get the stitching to stay straight over this much distance. The center got all wavey and ugly.


My sewing machine has double needle sewing. So I used a 3.0 double needle (the 3.0 is how many millimeters apart the needles are) and set the machine to the maximum zig zag width I could use with a double needle, and satin stitched down the length of the buttonhole. Not the most beautiful buttonhole I ever saw. No keyhole at the front and it is rather skinny, but it was all I had time to do with them. My fabric was kind of thin, so I used a stabilizer to keep the stitching flat and even.


I didn't get a close up enough picture of the buttonholes on the front of the vest, but maybe you can see here how it looked on the pocket flap.



I don't recall the amount of the spacing for the buttons and buttonholes.  It would vary by your height anyway.  So find where you want to put the top button, and find where you want to put the bottom button.  Measure that distance, divide by 11 (the number of SPACES down the front) and make the center of the buttons and buttonholes that far apart. On the pocket flaps, maybe 1/2 inch or a little more from the edge and one down the middle.



A few words about

Aubergine as the name of the color of the vest gets thrown around a lot and is much discussed what color is that really.  One "official" mentioning of the color by that name was in the description of the POTC1 stunt double costume that was sold on eBay a few years ago.
The items featured in this lot comprise an authentic screen costume worn

by the stunt double for the roguish Captain Jack Sparrow during the

production of Walt Disney Pictures' thrilling high-seas adventure tale

"Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl." Original

costumer's tags attached to various items identify them as costume pieces

created for the stuntman. Included here are:

* woven blue-gray eight-button jacket with flared, pleated tails and oversize slit cuffs

* distressed 12-button aubergine linen vest

* oversize, open-necked cream linen shirt with billowing sleeves

* faded brown cotton button-fly pants with buttoned, buckled cuffs

* distressed brown leather belt with oversize antique-finished buckle

* distressed brown suede knee-high boots with 10-inch cuffs

* cream-colored sash with red stripes

* fingerless medium brown glove with wrist strips

* frayed black rag with striped accents


Aubergine is eggplant.  So I assume that the color Aubergine is some saturation of the hue that is the color of eggplant, but they vary from deep purple-ish, to red-ish purple, so, who knows?


There is an interesting set of pictures on flickr with many variations of the color Aubergine

There is no shortage of pictures of Jack in his waistcoat, but here are some reference photos anyway:
Hi-res, zoom in for a good up close look of the pocket opening

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