Tuesday, February 9, 2016

The Bonnie Prince Charles

I have been plotting making me special dress for my 15th wedding anniversary, which I still want to do , but I got to thinking.  "Here I am in a beautiful dress, but what will the DH wear?"  For years he has been asking for a Prince Charles Jacket, but I always seemed to put that plan on the back burner.  I decided I wasn't going to do that this time.  I want to do something nice for him for our anniversary as well.  Therefore the 1870's wedding gown is out, the simpler 1950's tea length poofy wedding gown is in.  That is not to say I won't ultimately make the dress but I'll do that some other time.  I want to do something special for the DH. This way both of us can look amazing for our anniversary, and this way going out to dinner dressed up will be alot easier on us. :)

A client talked to me last fall about having me make him a Prince Charlie Jacket and Vest. The look on the DH's face when I said I would make the client one but not him, really stuck with me.  Now that the client has put funds down on his project, I am also preparing for the DH's as well.  I plan to share my research on both versions here. 

The pattern I am going to use will be Folkwear Scottish Kilt, Prince Charlie Jacket, Vest, Socks Sewing Pattern # 152.  It comes in a size 36-48. I will be getting a copy for my client and one of the DH.  As to why I am not using the same pattern for both, it is simply that I want to custom fit the pattern to each of them.  If the client or DH for that matter, want a second jacket it would be difficult to shift the sizing and adjustments back and forth. A better look and design for both my client and the DH.
 
When I went to begin purchasing fabric for the client, he originally
wanted a Beretha wool from England,  a Cupo silk lining and special silk satin for the lapels.   Unfortunately, due to time passing the wool has now sold out. This left me with finding a new wool for him, and in the mean time finding a reasonably priced wool for the DH's jacket. 

I posted a request for good wool resources on one of my historical costuming groups, and I did bug another costumer friend of mine as well.  I have found the hardest thing sometimes is simply having a data base that you can source your materials from.   
  • AW Hainsworth - They are out of the UK. They do high end wool for everything from costume, apparel, reenactments, pretty much everything.  They have a minimum order of 2 meters.  That won't be an issue with this project but it is something to keep in mind.  Their customer service is excellent. I was able to put in a sample request with them and they are not charging me for them.  They do have  a facebook page if you need to contact them as well.  
  • Macquarie Textile Solutions-  They are out of Australia, and all their wool is local wool.  They have excellent customer service, but they have a minimum order of 30 meters.  Considering the cost of the wool is  20 AUD per yard, it is certainly not in my budget. However, if someone is commissioning a series of cloaks or such it is quite possible that the minimum could be reached. 
  • Truro Fabrics - They are also out of the UK.  They have weave of wool that I am looking for however they only have it in navy. Very high end fabrics.
  • Whaleys-Bradford  - is another UK company with a great selection and slightly more reasonable prices.  You are still paying aprox. $30/yd, but that is better than $50/yard.   I had difficulty requesting samples because their check out system didn't like my address, but a quick email to their email got a quick response.  They are sending me the swatches I need at no cost.  It pays to ask nicely. 
  • B. Black and Sons-  This company has been my go to person for USA wool and supplies.  They have everything from basic wool suiting, to high end cashmere on hand in common colors.  Also they stock good quality tailoring supplies.  They have some good wools here, and if you contact them and ask for swatches or recommendations, they are really good about helping you.  I've worked with them before and I hope to work with them again on the DH's jacket.
  • Thai Silks- They seem ok, and were recommended, unfortunately they did not have a black silk satin or taffeta. Prices were good at $20-25 per yard
  • Dharma Trading Co. - I've done some work with them before but the concern with this company is that they make their fabrics for you to dye them yourself.  If that is something you want to do, go for it.  Otherwise, unless they already have the fabric pre-dyed for you OR you want white/off white, you will need to look elsewhere.
  • Silk Baron- Struck gold here.  I got glowing reviews from 3 different people on them.  They do swatch, but there is a small $2-4 fee.  However when you place a yardage order they give you extra swatches at no charge. They do offer free shipping on all their continental USA orders, and reasonable shipping everywhere else.  Really good prices on their products.  My ONLY quibble is that the only black taffeta or satin they have is in 'licorice'. I order a sample so that I could match to the wools.
  • Fabric.com - I've used them years ago for a clients project and they have a very wide selection.  They handle all price ranges of fabrics.  They have black wool running from $15-$35.  This may also be a good place to get fabric for the DH's jacket.  They have silk blend satin for the client's project ($15-20/yard) , as well as basic satin for $5/yard. Like I said, wide selection. Oh and they do free shipping on orders $35 or more.
  • B & J fabrics - These fabrics are drool worthy, but there is a catch.  They have heart attack worthy price tags to boot. The good quality wool starts at $120/ yard, though they do have some blends that start at $33/yard . The Double faced Silk Satin in Black was $300/ yard. Unless you have some seriously deep pockets, I wouldn't go there except to drool. 

So far that is just the fabric research, now on to buttons.