Apocalyptic Costuming and Life

Sometimes things just don’t work out. Sometimes NOTHING works out. This makes me very grumpy.

Dickens Day Dress? No.
New Car? No.
Sick dog? Yes.
Men’s Breeches Toile for James’ 18th c. suit? NO.

Ladies, let me forewarn you about JP Ryan’s breeches pattern. She does some forewarning herself, right there on the pattern in fact, but stupid seamsters like me disregard that and go full-steam-ahead in confidence. In this particular case, though, I have nothing good to say. The pattern is very difficult to understand, and does not seem to follow any kind of logical construction or method. The directions are confusing, the little pictures quite cryptic, and you’re just not sure if you’ve done it right or not until you’ve got the thing on a body. In this case it was my own body. Now, you can imagine that my 26-year-old girl-body is not at all like my gentleman client’s man-body, yet the breeches fit me rather tightly through the legs (too tightly for James, I think), and the rear end, which I knew was going to be baggy, was more like an adult diaper. It was phenomenally, ridiculously baggy! I do understand the purpose of the diaper-butt, but with our modern sensibilities, despite all our desires to be historically accurate, I could not with any kind of confidence present a diaper-butted pair of too-tight breeches to my client and hope he went for them!

Despair set in, then panic, then a plan. Simplicity happens to make a fairly decent 18th c. men’s ensemble pattern – the Pirates of the Caribbean pattern – that has a rather nice pair of drop-front breeches included. These are what I’m going for, with some alterations to the cuffs, for instance, to make them more “Versailles,” less “PIRATE.” The toile should be fairly straight-forward to put together, it being Simplicity, and then puppies will be happy again and all will be well. Let’s hope.

As for the rest of it…the car, particularly. Well, sometimes things just don’t work out and one realizes it would be best to wait. It’s best to wait, in this case. I’m sad, but it’s the practical thing to do. I have an evil empire to build…then I can get my Bat-Mobile.


  • Robin Gallowglas

    December 16, 2009 at 8:04 PM

    So sorry… I do hate it when things go wrong. I used teh Simplicity kids version of the Pirates pattern for Robert and I have to say it worked out quite well. Hope other things get better soon for you. See you this weekend.

  • Madame Berg

    December 16, 2009 at 9:29 PM

    Oh. Now I'm even more scared to actually make a toile from the Eagle View drop-fall pattern I purchased during a brief period of hubris.

    But(t!)… Is there any way I could talk you into showing us some snaps of the fail breeches (modelled by you, of course)? ๐Ÿ˜›

  • Lauren

    December 16, 2009 at 9:42 PM

    Sorry you're having such a rough time with the breeches. How is their frock coat pattern?

    In my small breeches experience, I have found that once you figure it out, it becomes ridiculously simple, and so much easier each time. The worst for me, was figuring out how to make pockets that are invisible on the outside. Sigh.. I'm sure you will get it ๐Ÿ™‚ I used a simplicity pattern for A's breeches, too, and modified it. It worked like a charm.

  • Lauren R

    December 16, 2009 at 11:47 PM

    Madame, I'm going to burn the toile. It would be way too much of my hiney, too, to put on the internet, diaper-butt or not.

    Lauren, thanks for the words of encouragement. I've picked up the new simplicity pattern this afternoon and will be working on the toile tonight, so hopefully SOMETHING will go right for me this week…

    I guess we all hit speedbumps every now and again. is this the natural cycle of stitchers?

  • The Dreamstress

    December 17, 2009 at 8:05 AM

    Major bummer ๐Ÿ™ Here's hoping you get a car you like even better, doggie gets well soon, and at least your diaper butt is a good costuming disaster story!

  • Anonymous

    December 17, 2009 at 8:20 PM

    Oh poooo ๐Ÿ™ I hate it when you're really looking forward to things and they don't work out – why does it always seem to all go wrong at once?! Sorry you're being tortured by fate. Sounds like a good rescue plan with the Simplicity pattern though! Good luck.

  • Duchie

    December 17, 2009 at 8:32 PM

    To answer Other Lauren – the frock coat pattern and waistcoat pattern from JP Ryan are both lovely.

    I've mocked up the Simplicity breeches and am please to find them shockingly similar to the JP Ryan "historically accurate" ones, just simplified and more logical, and MUCH more flattering. So now the toile-d suit it ready to go down to Dickens Fair with me this weekend, for a fitting with James.

    Avi (the puppy) is feeling much better – she had a reaction to the vaccines she got a couple days ago, and was moping around, but is now back to her perky self.

    Car – I'll just have to wait. It's okay, not a big deal. I have a vehicle which is pretty useful and rolls down the road, so that'll have to do for now.

    Thanks for all the lovely comments, ladies ๐Ÿ™‚ I love you all!

  • Angela

    December 17, 2009 at 11:20 PM

    I too have used this Simplicity pattern. I made the coat with minor adjustments for my self to use at the Pirate Faire and later as an early ladies riding or traveling coat. It worked really well and lent itself to alterations for more period exactness. I can't say anything about the breeches but it looks like others have given you the scoop on those.

    It is a real bug-a-boo for me when I get going on a costume and the red flags go up and it is not working. Worst is to ignore the red flags, keep going and wind up exhausted with something the cat dragged. I know we have all done that at least once, right? :0

    Oh, poo – no car, either? Hang in there m'lady, you will get what you want in the end. Cheers!

  • Anonymous

    December 20, 2009 at 10:19 AM

    I had the toile fitting with Lauren this evening at Gaskells, in the men's room — she was rather nervous about going in there (ummm, she's a girl; guys like girls around them when they're 1/2 naked) but we weren't doing it in the hall. Things worked out fine. I'm quite excited. She had some great ideas with details. There were some stunning dresses at the ball tonight, and I got to dance Strip the Willow with Lauren.

  • Lauren Duchie

    December 20, 2009 at 11:42 PM

    Awww, James, I'm so excited to get started on the final version of this suit. You're going to look EPIC – er – Ubersexlich! (I may never get the spelling of that right, but we do both know of what I speak). And Strip the Willow as quite fun ๐Ÿ™‚ Sorry I didn't have the energe for Sir Roger…next time!

  • Anonymous

    December 21, 2009 at 7:44 AM

    I'll collect on Sir Roger later. As for shoes, what fabric do you suggest? The Fugawe customs are $220, but the regulars only come in D width and I'm EE. (These are women's so I get the heel.)

  • amduch

    December 23, 2009 at 6:57 AM

    I would go with black – you can then wear them with multiple things (same as the hat) .. but if you want fancy…hrm…black velvet? black suede would be nice…

  • Anonymous

    December 23, 2009 at 6:45 PM

    I think diaper butt is super hot. I had Jeremy is too tight breeches with diaper butt for our wedding ๐Ÿ™‚ It really is supposed to be that big so you can ride horseback or fence easily, I swear. And there was a time when they looked painted on but I agree with you that we don't have to choose to make them what we might consider uncomfortable or ugly. You will see guys in 18th century portraits sitting down with their legs extended because they can't bend, or they had to undo the strap & buttons at the knee to sit more comfy.

  • Unknown

    November 9, 2014 at 1:51 AM

    JP Ryan pattern is the most historically correct pattern one can use. the butt is supposed to be that way and the first thing you do is throw out all modern day sewing concet and do as the patter says too. The pieces are cut historically correct unlike todays blocky oversized patterns ..please

  • Unknown

    December 5, 2014 at 8:28 PM

    I can feel your disappointment. We figured out exactly the same problem with the pants for my husband's wedding outfit. Especially as he has a belly but hardly a butt, this looked even more ridiculous. We had the help of a professional and well trained seamstress for historical clothing and even she could not cope with the pattern.


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