Back in the good old days of December 2005, I was invited to a 12th Night party by a group of historical costuming friends whom I had only known via the interwebs. So I had a month to make an outfit to impress a group of people who knew what they were doing, all of whom had likely been working on their costumes for months and months and months.
I decide to go in drag as an 18th centuray man because all womens outfits for almost any period involved undergarments that I just didn't have time to make. Plus I had fabrics and patterns on hand (don't ask me why I had 18th century mens clothing patterns in my stash because I have no earthly idea).
The frockcoat and breeches I did in a grey cotton velvet that I had bought for an Elizabethan gown that I never got around to making. The waistcoat I did in a mulberry satin scrap that I don't even remember what I bought for it.
And what does a girl do when making an outfit in a hurry to make it look impressive..... embroider the CRAP out of it and hope no one notices the fitting and construction mistakes underneath the loud decorations. :-)
Here are some pics of me at the event.
The coat is totally unlined and the facings are safety pinned on the inside. The waistcoat armholes are also completely unfinished, not even bound, just zigzag-ed on the raw edges to keep them from fraying. I was not going to take that frock coat off, so I only finished what you could see. I totally forgot to make a shirt to wear under the waistcoat, so that is an old dress shirt that I forced to work, again hoping the Power of Embroidery would be distracting enough that no one would notice.
I started out using a pattern by Pegree of Williamsburg which was HORRIBLE. I ended up scraping that version and using a pattern by J.P. Ryan instead (Yes, I not only had 18th century breeches patterns, but had several of them from different designers. No, I don't know why.). Every J. P. Ryan pattern I have worked with has been a delight to use. I recommend them.
To save time I made a bunch of alterations, so the finished product was not much like the pattern. I left out the pockets and the back gusset, and took out a lot of the fullness in the seat. The top of the pants are not even finished, just pinned together where it should button closed. Again, since it wasn't going to show, I didn't finish it. I did covered buttons in the grey velvet and used old purse buckles for the knee straps.
Another J.P.Ryan pattern. I machine embroidered little designs (that matched the waistcoat designs) with yellow and gold metallic threads on grey velvet scraps and covered all the buttons. I used gold braid trim to outline all the buttonholes and the pocket flaps.
I used a pattern from Rocking Horse Farms. The embroidery I did by machine, and used my new fangled "design" software for the first time to create the total embroidery design. I took a couple basic flower designs that came with the machine and doubled them, flipped them, repeated them, changed the colors, etc to fill the space. I used more gold braid trim to outline the pocket flaps and the edges of the waistcoat, and then used one of the decorative stitches already on my machine in metallic gold thread in between the braiding. Again, the buttons were embroidered and then covered to match the waistcoat.
All in all, an impressive outfit if you don't look too close. I made a grand entrance and I had a great time at the party and, once I got a little comfortable with the folks there (it was my first time meeting ANY of them in person!), we all had a little giggle as I opened the coat and revealed just how sloppy it really was.