When last we spoke, I had started work on the interfacing of the jacket, which is sometimes referred to as the “Canvas.”
The “Canvas” is made up of three parts, the first of which is called the “canvas.” (No, that is not a typo. Part of the canvas is called the canvas.) The part of the canvas called the canvas is made out of a material called “canvas,” but which isn’t really canvas as you’d recognize it. Instead it is a stiff cotton cloth impregnated with animal hair.
I dealt with that last week. This week I am going to make the other two parts of the canvas, neither of which is made of canvas.
The second part of the canvas is a smaller piece that helps for the drape of the shoulder. It is sometimes called the chest piece.
(I know that was a stretch, but I kinda couldn’t resist.)
The chest piece is made out of a material called “haircloth,” which is a stiff cotton material impregnated with animal hair (which is a different stiff cotton material than the canvas, impregnated with a different amount of hair).
The chest piece is essentially a copy of the upper corner of the canvas, and gets the same darts as that portion of the canvas did.
Once the chest piece is constructed, it is pinned to the canvas, then basted to the canvas, and finally the pins are removed.
Once that’s done, you move on to the cover cloth. The cover cloth is made of thick, soft felt. It lays over the chest piece and ensures that no strands of the very stiff, sharp animal hair come loose and poke through the jacket and into the jacket wearer’s various tender shoulder meats. This part is optional, but as the wearer in this case will be me, I’ve decided to go the extra mile to protect the wearer. I’m certain he will appreciate my craftsmanship.
The cover cloth is cut to a similar shape to the shoulder piece, but slightly larger, and without the darts. Then it is pinned over the shoulder piece, basted to the canvas, and the pins are removed.
One interesting wrinkle is that you deliberately pin and baste the cover cloth on in such a way that it has some excess fabric sort of wrinkling up in the middle. This is referred to as “ease.”
Now that everything is cut, darted, pinned, basted, eased, and unpinned, you take all of the steps I just mentioned, and do them again, but in a mirror image so that you have two canvases.
The next step will be “pad stitching.” It is a series of hand-made, half-inch long stitches that hold all three of the layers of the canvas together. A skilled tailor does these without any guidelines, trusting his or her muscle memory and experience to help keep the rows of hundreds of stitches straight.
I know better than that.
I drew a series of guidelines, along with a quarter circle in the corner to show where the shoulder pad will be.
Note, it’s hard to find something that can draw on thick, soft felt. I ended up using a liquid chalk marker, but had to stop often and clean the nib, as it got “too felty.”
Now the canvases are ready for pad stitching. In the next installment or installments of this blog I will keep you appraised of my progress in the pad stitching process in real time, but I warn you, this was the part that, in my first post, I described as being so tedious and time consuming that mechanized factories don’t bother with it.