Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Pattern Review: Thread Theory Belvedere Waistcoat

Thread Theory is a Canadian independent pattern company designing for men (with a couple of women's patterns in there too). The Belvedere Waistcoat is their latest release, currently available only as a pdf but eventually to be in print like their other patterns.
This is the third Thread Theory pattern I've sewn. I find their attention to detail and level of instructions to be excellent, and felt confident the Belvedere Waistcoat would be likewise. And it was!

My husband Andy is a great fan of waistcoats as part of his work wardrobe. The Thread Theory Fairfield shirt is a good fit on him with minor alterations, so I was hopeful this pattern would be too. I was also able to compare the Belevedere pattern pieces to one of Andy's favourite waistcoats and it seemed a good match.

The Belvedere is exactly what I was hoping for in a waistcoat pattern, being fully lined, having front and neck facings and proper welt pockets. Several optional add-ons are in the process of being released, including patch pockets, a back waist cinch and a collar.

Morgan, the designer behind Thread Theory, explains that the Belvedere is drafted to pair with higher-waisted formal pants. People wanting a waistcoat to go with jeans or other pants that sit lower would probably wish to lengthen it. I also read this review by a pattern tester who found it quite short on her partner. After comparison with Andy's ready-to-wear waistcoat I decided to add 2 inches in length. This was an easy alteration to the relevant pattern pieces at the clearly marked 'lengthen and shorten' lines.

I made two other alterations to the pattern:

- shortened the front darts - after adding the 2" of length, which goes right across the centre of the darts, I lowered the top point of the dart 3". This means the entire dart is just 1" shorter than on the original pattern, but the top sits 3" below its original position. This is more in line with the position of darts on Andy's existing waistcoats.

- altered side seams a little (in at the top, out at the bottom) at the 'trying on' stage suggested in the pattern instructions. This small adjustment changed a good fit to a great fit.

I used this beautiful 'Cashmere Finish' 100% Wool coating in Silvered Black, which was a pleasure to work with and gives the waistcoat a luxurious feel. Wrangling those welt pockets, situated right in the middle of darts, was certainly a test of fabric manipulation. It required a lot of careful steamy pressing, which made me grateful to be working with pure wool that wouldn't easily singe/melt! I can understand the use of a wooden 'clapper' better now, because pressing down with my hands on steaming wool after the iron is removed is a bit... toasty.

The layers of wool also proved too challenging for my beloved Singer buttonholer attachments (which can whip out a series of shirt buttonholes in minutes). After some trial and error I became friends with the 3-step buttonhole on my vintage Bernina, and was very happy with the result.

The lining and back is an acetate from DK Fabrics - using the darker, greyer side for the outside and the fancy gold on the inside. Shell buttons were also from DK. The acetate was a bit tricky to work with (not least because my hands are a bit dry and rough and my fingers caught on the fabric, ugh!) and it seemed like a minor miracle when the final waistcoat was turned right way out and all the wispy frayed seam allowances were hidden neatly away. It's a beautiful result and after a bit of recovery time I'll have probably forgotten the pain of sewing with acetate and attempt it again. You know how it goes. Pretty shinies!

And here we have my cooperative model, who knows the price of a lovingly tailored garment!
Real, functional welt pocket!
As soon as the waistcoat was finished Andy claimed it and has hardly taken it off, although I do want to grab it back at some point and re-sew the buttons on with a bit of a thread shank to allow some room for the thickness of the wool.
Altogether a very gratifying sew, and I'm sure there will be more Belvederes in the future.

There's a full step-by-step sewalong for the Thread Theory Belvedere Waistcoat in progress on their blog right now, and this will be available as a valuable resource for anyone sewing it in future.

- Jane & Fiona xx



4 comments:

  1. Nice beard, Andy!!! And brew! Lookin' good! The waistcoat is excellent. It makes me want to go to a pub and hang out with the chaps and drink a pint or two. ;-)

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    1. Yep he's a fully fledged craft-brew drinkin' weirdy beardy now! Heheh. Thread Theory have just put up a sewalong post about tailoring the waistcoat front with hair canvas and padstitching and everything so now I'm kind of keen to do another with all that!

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    1. Thanks Beth, it was very satisfying to make!

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