One of my favorite parts about being a costumer is being able to work with passionate people who are into some really cool things. This year a professional organist commissioned me to make him a costume that would be historically accurate for Johann Sebastian Bach.
This was an interesting change from the fantasy work I've been doing, and required some research into the period. Hint? Pirates of the Caribbean is almost the exact perfect time period, and they are still selling patterns for PotC costumes, so if you want to give it a try, I'd recommend altering one of those.
But historical reference is important, and we are basing the ensemble heavily on this portrait of Bach:
We debated about color and fabric, but finally settled on a nice, dark blue velvet. Thanks to my local fabric warehouse, I'm able to get velvet at 50% off the list price, which means my clients can usually easily afford real velvet, and not a cheap imitation.
Here's my assistant, Hannah, cutting out the pieces! Hannah comes in about three or four times a month to help me keep up with demand!
It is absolutely essential to serge all the raw edges on velvet, even if it is going to be lined, otherwise it will eventually fray completely away. Thankfully I do have a serger now, so such work goes quickly.
The lapels needed to be reinforced with interfacing for the buttons and buttonholes. I greatly prefer fusible interfacing, which is applied with a hot iron and damp pressing cloth.
This is the PotC pattern I referenced above. I was expecting to have to do a lot of alteration to a regular coat pattern, but to my surprise and delight the Jack Sparrow coat was nearly exactly what I needed. The only major changes I made were to line the entire thing, and cut out some of the excess fabric in the lower half.
Making the cuffs...
Sewing on the pocket flaps.
Check out Part 2 for more details on inserting the sleeves, lining and doing the buttons!