Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Royal Navy Shinangians. Are you jealous? You should be.

My helper kitty, Arthur.
The past few weeks have been a series of fortunate and unfortunate days of sewing.  At times this Royal Navy Surgeons uniform has sent me into a fit of tears, and other times, I high five myself when I figure out something that I suspected I would never be able to do.  Yes, I high five myself.

The waistcoat was probably the easiest thing to do, I love waistcoats.  The breeches were a little more difficult to accomplish, but somehow I muddled through them.  I still will never make breeches again.

Then came the frock coat, which I assumed would be the easiest thing to do, since it was similar to waistcoats and you know, I made spencers and junk, and helped Mr. Ramsey with a couple of his.

What the hell am I doing here.
Oh foolish, simple me.  I was so so wrong.  Not only had I never made one from scratch, It was not a civilian style which I was previously used to, and I had to heavily alter the pattern as it was an American militia jacket.  The mock up seemed to go right well, and I was confident I would be able to transfer it with little difficulty.

When will I ever learn that things which appear to be simple will most certainly NOT BE especially if I am creating something I have never created before.

It was too big then after it being taken it, it was too small. I have had to re cut out and sew two pieces, I have had to take it apart and resew it back together about twenty times (this is NOT hyperbole. Ok maybe it is a bit, but not by much), and vow to never work on it again before I have gotten to a suitable, satisfactory point with it.

The good Doctor working on his collar embroidery.
The Doctor, too, has had his fair share of fits and frustrations with it - he has bravely taken the charge to embroidering the twist on the neck seen in the original uniform, found at the Maritime Museum in England.  Halfway through one side, there was some difficulty between various RN fans in whether or not the metallic embroidery was gold or silver.  So until we hear back from the Maritime Museum with a definitive answer, that is on hold.  He was doing so well, too..

He has also been working very diligently on a Chapeau Bras, starting with some intense research, black poster-board, tape, and some wrapping paper - called the Chafeaux Bras (yuk yuk yuk).  Now he is on the Mark Two mock up out of stiffer materials, spray adhesive, and some very impressive brain skills. Its looking very sharp and I am quite impressed and proud.
The poster-board Chafaux bras. Slightly suggestive..

Now, all that is left to do is 28 button holes by hand.  I have less than a month left until this royal navy event in July.  Whilst the dear Doctor has encouraged me that he will be just as happy without the coat, I still would like it to be done for him to show off - if I can. 

Pad stitching on the collar to stiffen it.
I have had to start another project on the side to turn to when the coat was making me frantic - a swiss dotted drop front with three ruffles on the bottom, and its turning out right well if I say so myself! More on that later (since it also made me crazy a bit.)


  1. Dear Miss Waterman,
    Jeepers, you sure took on some big challenges, didn't you? A Royal Navy frock coat, from the age of Perfect Fit? With pad stitching and goldwork and all? Yipes!

    The drop-front dress sounds delightful. Wonder if it will appear at Jane Fest?

    Very best,

    Natalie in KY
    hardly doing any sewing at all

  2. That may be my new favorite picture of you ever.