I am very aware that I owe you a couple more wedding-related blog posts. I've been waiting for the proper photos to arrive so I can fully illustrate the last two handmade garments that I want to share with you. A quick recap: you can see my self-made wedding dress here; Vic's bridesmaid dress here; and pics from our NYC honeymoon here. Later this week I'll show you the AMAZING 'Mother of the Bride' dress my mum made herself, but today I'm going to talk about the waistcoat I made for Pat (AKA, The Groom).
I hesitate to use the word 'theme', but we definitely wanted our wedding to have an overall look. Because we were going down a very DIY route with everything, and had picked a reception venue that looked like a club that we could decorate as we pleased, we had to think hard about what we wanted because we were going to have to invent it all. Everything from the venue to our dresses ended up referencing a mid-century vintage/cocktail/casino/playing cards/speak-easy/cabaret kind of vibe.
Pat had to come up with what kind of look he wanted to rock, and he decided he wanted to wear a slick suit of some kind. We were totally lucky that the kind of mens suits that are in the shops at the moment are of a particularly slim-fit, skinny nature, which work fantastically on his own slim physique. We found the perfect dark grey suit with black sateen collar in the very first shop we visited. He later got himself a beautiful slim-fitting shirt and skinny black sateen tie. Our friend Kirstin (who made my fascinator/hat) made him some wonderful playing card cufflinks. But even though the suit he chose also had a matching waistcoat available, I wanted to add a Zoe-made element to his outfit as well, so it was agreed I would make his waistcoat.
From early on, Pat was floating Tybalt from Baz Luhrman's version of Romeo and Juliet as a style inspiration. He's long been drawn to latino/Mexican/Catholic/Gangster style, and John Leguizamo shows how good a slender guy can wear such a vibe. We obviously decided to go down a less costumey road with our interpretation, but decided a Maria de Guadalupe on the back of the waistcoat would provide an appropriate touch of the Catholic/latino kitsch we both enjoy so much, whilst simultaneously referencing Pat's own Catholic heritage (albeit of a far more Irish origin). Although I doubt everyone would fully appreciate it, it was also our homage to the whole Catholic thing, as we were the first couple in his family not to get married in a church (or more specifically, one particular Catholic church in his mother's home town).
Fabric and Pattern
So where to start? I bought extra black sateen when getting the fabric for Vic's bridesmaid dress (which I hoped would also look sufficiently similar to the sateen of the jacket collar) and I ordered a panel of the Henry Alexander Virgin of Guadalupe fabric pictured above (from someone on Etsy though, not from that site I just linked to, I should mention). With the fabric order taken care of, it was on to the pattern dilemma. I randomly got hold of this questionable 1990's mens formal attire pattern pictured below. (Incidentally, you can get your own copy here! Should you want to...) I think it came from a public donation when I worked for Traid and I had kept it stashed with half an eye on the fact we had a wedding coming up.
Alterations and Fitting
Even the smallest size was way too roomy for Pat, so I did several rounds of toiles until I was happy with the fit and how it would look under the jacket when it was buttoned up. One of the changes I made included adding back shaping darts instead of the pull tab detail because I wanted a very sleek silhouette rather than a bunched up gathered effect. I also initially thought the entire back panel would be made from the Guadalupe fabric, so I had to change the back of the pattern so it could be cut on the fold rather than with a centre back seam. There was actually quite a bit of shaping in the centre back seam, so transferring all that into the new back shaping darts was something of a challenge. However, the big back shaping darts and the positioning of the Mary/Maria on the panel of fabric I finally ended up with meant that cutting the whole back piece from the fabric panel wouldn't have worked so it was back to the drawing board.
Thankfully I have mad-skillz when it comes to machine appliqué (which is how I spent a big chunk of my twenties when I wasn't working in casinos and pizza restaurants or guzzling chardonnay). I sped off to the local fabric shop and bought some nice black fabric to form the new back panel and got some bondaweb stuff (isn't it annoying when you could have sworn you have a large stash of something but can't lay your hands on it when it's needed?!) to secure the Maria whilst I satin stitched her down. I should have added a layer of fusible interfacing to the wrong side of the back panel before I started to satin stitch, so the stitching is a tiny bit wavy, but NOONE is going to notice that but me. Pat certainly didn't. He just kept repeating 'Strong', when I showed him the appliquéd back panel.
A couple of years ago I decided I would try and make Pat a shirt for every year we are together. I think I'll reword that to a 'garment' for every year we are together, which will bring me in line with the four years we've clocked up so far. Perhaps surprisingly, this waistcoat has actually been worn since the wedding. Pictured above is Pat rocking his sans jacket look for my birthday drinks last month.