March 15, 2010

Civil War Era Civilian Vest

This is a civilian vest that I sewed for Andy, so he could have something kind of nice to wear to the balls over his muddy soldier clothes. I sewed this a long, long time ago and never finished sewing the button holes.

I don't know why I have such an aversion to buttonholes, they aren't particularly difficult and it is the only thing preventing this vest from being wearable.  

The vest is made of a heavy patterned tapestry cotton with a white cotton lining. The buttons are original bone buttons.  I'm pretty sure this vest really isn't for dancing but to forward Andy's secret desire to be Sherlock Holmes (the original one of course!) :D He is currently reading to me the Adventures of Sherlock Holmes. I am enjoying it very much. He is very good at reading and uses different voices and accents for each character. It's a real treat.   
 During the mid 1800s, no gentleman would be without a vest and a coat. Working class men and many soldiers did not adhere to the normal rules of society and many are photographed in just their shirts.
Sarah Morgan, a proper young lady, who was 18 years old when the war broke out, visited sailors in the South and remarked in her diary "He, the doctor and the Captain, were the only ones who possessed a coat in the whole crowd, the few who saved theirs, carrying them over their arms. Mr Read more than once blushingly remarked that they were prepared to fight, and hardly expected to meet us; but we pretended to think there was nothing unusual in his dress. I can understand though, that he should feel rather awkward; I would not like to meet him, if I was in the same costume."

The vest itself was not hard to sew and sewed up rather quickly. This was my first time sewing a nice lining and not one just to add body to a garment. I think it turned out rather nicely. Hopefully, I will finish this soon to keep Andy from going around in just his shirt. The horror! :D If anyone is interested in learning how to hand sew buttonholes, there is a really good tutorial on the blog: Art, Beauty and Well-Ordered Chaos.   
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  1. I love it! and if it doesn't fit Andy,I"ll wear it.:D

  2. Thanks. Everyone here said it looked like a sofa. I like it too.


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