Monday 6 December 2010

Planet Of Fire waistcoat - pattern cutting

I’ve worked on a nice little project this week, taking it from nothing to a finished (abet test) garment in only six days!

Back in May I went to the Cameo Auction and acquired the original tapestry waistcoat worn by Peter Davison in Planet Of Fire (see left).

It is my first piece of screen used proper costume I have bought, though it is only worn briefly in a couple of episodes. That said it is very distinctive and quite striking (see below).

First thing to do is trace off the net size of the waistcoat. I do this by simply laying tissue pattern paper over the sections of the waistcoat and put dots at the corners and along the edges of the shapes. I then join these dots up with a firm, ruler drawn line (see right).

These tracings give me the finished hemmed and critical in this case, after the pleats and darts have been set in the back (see left).

What I now need to do is expand the pattern to include the folds that create the vent, and allow for the darts. This is done while building it into a draft block (see right).

Finally, I can now trace the pattern back off onto tissue paper, this time to include the necessary seam allowances (see left).

I then have a few sundry pieces to draw up for the welted pockets, their pocket bags and the back strapping.

I now have a usable pattern, allowing for darts, pleats and seam allowances. It might appear to be a long way around, but it is the only way to arrive at a working pattern that works first time.

The fabric used for the fronts of the waistcoat is rather special. It is a curtain material where the floral design has been hand chain-stitched, most likely in India. As yet I haven’t tried to track down a similar or usable alternative, but while rummaging though the remnants box at John Lewis recently, I found a couple of metres of a near identically made material, though in an all white colourway (see left).

Since there are a total of SIX (count them!) pockets to set on the front, I’d like to have a go at setting them in a similar fabric to troubleshoot any potential problems. The remnant was half price, so a bargain I could not pass up!

The rest of my test will be done using calico and lightweight cotton for lining.

Check back soon to see how I got on with making my fully-worked calico test.


  1. i would love to buy a replica of this reminded me of something gram parsons wore..very beautiful and lovely detail...does anyone make things like this to buy?

  2. two years later and im still looking for a waiscoat like that..its still a lovely thing


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