Buy our step-collar weskit for a Dandy Victorian vest!
You need our full size paper pattern for Men's Waistcoats (Vests) for the 1850s through 1900s. Single- and double-breasted versions both included.
Fits chests 38"-54" with instructions for making the pattern fit larger sizes. All sizes are included in one envelope. Embellishment suggestions, historical notes and period tailoring techniques included.
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silk or suit wool
lightweight silk or linen for lining
heavy linen or canvas for interlining and back
2 yds at least 45" wide
(1 yard each if making plain linen back)
buttons for front closure
Let us help you! At Reconstructing History, we want to see you wearing the best garments you are capable of making. Call us Monday through Friday from 8am until 6pm Eastern Time (or email us around the clock) and we will answer any questions you might have!
Below is an excerpt from the historical notes you will receive as part of this pattern:
1850s-1900s Step Collar Waistcoats
The waistcoat (or vest) had long been the display garment upon which a gentleman showed his good taste and devotion to luxury. But by the 1850s and 60s, the waistcoat was becoming a more subdued piece of clothing, made in checks and stripes to match the trousers. By the late 1860s, the waistcoat was an essential part of the three-piece lounge suit with all three garments made from the same fabric.
In the 1850s, the waistlines tended to be straight across or very slightly lower in center front. The collar was set in the middle of the chest and the fronts closed with five or six buttons. Single-breasted waistcoats were the norm, but double-breasted versions did exist.
In the 1860s the French no-collar waistcoat was gaining in popularity. These came in both single- and double-breasted versions. The more popular style was still the single-breasted step-collar waistcoat, now with a higher neck closure for daily wear.
Not much changes in the world of waistcoats in the 1870s through the end of the century. The preferred neckline for daily wear is high. The waist is flat or very slightly rounded. The single-breasted version remains the most popular style. And the waistcoat continues to match the coat and trousers as it does in today’s three-piece suits. The days of wild waistcoats were clearly at an end.
Davis, R.I. Men’s Garments 1830-1900. 1994: Players Press, Studio City, CA.
MacLochlainn, Jason. The Victorian Tailor: An Introduction to Period Tailoring. 2011:St. Martin’s Press, New York.
Payne, Blanche. History of Costume. 1965: Harper Collins, New York.
Shep, R.L. The Great War: Styles and Patterns of the 1910s. 1998: R.L Shep Publications, Fort Bragg, CA.
Thornton, J.P. The Sectional System of Gentleman’s Garment Cutting. 1896: Minister & Co., London.
Waugh, Norah. Cut of Men’s Clothes 1600-1900. 1964: Routledge, New York.
For more, purchase this pattern.
This information © 2011 Kass McGann and Reconstructing History