despite my best intentions, I didn’t do an amazing job documenting the making of the tailcoat for the rugby promotion. But here is what I have got!
actually, the only interesting photos I took are of the preparation of the canvas. The canvas is the inner shell of a suit – it is sculptured into the body shape in the chest area and the shape is “locked in place” by padstitches. After a good press with plenty of hot steam, the shape stays in the canvas permanently… and this is the secret of a good quality suit.
there are many ways of cutting the canvas. I still have not got the “one and only” way to do it. My cutting of the canvas is usually determined by what types of canvas I managed to get hold of, since that usually poses the first problem! The quality and thickness of the main fabric also plays a roll in choosing the canvas type and shape. This tailcoat was made from fairly thick furnishing fabric, so I chose to add a shoulder piece.
The main canvas piece, the largest one, has the same grain as th main fabric. The grain of the chest piece, usually cut from horsehair canvas, is determined by the angle of the break line. Both canvases have 2 darts to give shape to the chest. These darts are closed with fusing tape, that is iron on tape. In addition, after the tape is applied, they are secured by zig zag stitches.
the break line is pulled in and prevented from stretching by either applying fusing tape or, when doing it the “proper way”, by basting a piece of selvage from lining fabric tightly in place. A slightly tightened break line promotes additional room for the chest.
in the above photo the pad stitches are clearly visible. All layers are held in place with padstitching – and the direction of the stitches gives a clue that the layers are rolled into different directions whilst being stitched together. An additional layer of thin wadding gives extra volume to the chest shape.
This photo illustrates the main fabric having been mounted onto the canvas, the cut in the canvas through which the pocket bag of the chest pocket has been pulled and the lapel having been padstitched. Finally the canvas on the front edge is being cut back to the actual sewing line and fusing tape is applied to hold it in place before sewing the lapel fabric to the main body.
and then… as if through magic… the coat has got sleeves and lining and a collar!