Victorian 1899 Era Suit Making

When my etsy shop does well I spend money! I got this awesome pattern from Wearing History called the Sophie Jacket, circa 1899. It reminded me of one of my favorite vampire movies, Bram Stoker’s Dracula.

I wanted to invest into my skill set more than simply sewing with solid materials (#solidschallenge~ sewing with solid materials show my mistakes, craftsmanship and they force me to get creative). I thought, suit tailoring is a great way to challenge my skills too.

Tracy McElfreash Tracysews Blog Victorian Suit Making

The pattern says advanced on it. I read through all of the instructions a few times before making the jacket. I was originally going to make it with wool although her pattern says clearly to make a muslin out of less expensive fabrics first to check for fit and comprehetion.

The hardest part of this pattern for me was cutting all of the pieces. There’s around 55  if I choose to line my jacket and use interfacing. Once I cut all of my pieces I marked all of my dots and lines with tracing paper and a tracing wheel.

Most of the work with this garment was clipping and pressing all of the curves. The patterns directions are very well written and dead on.  Since I read through my directions first I know that the lining directions were in the back and they were different then the steps I would do for unlined. I have prior experience with  lined jackets and coats.

Tracy McElfreash Tracysews Blog Victorian Suit Making

The coat still needed something besides moving the buttons around.

Tracy McElfreash Tracysews Blog Victorian Suit Making

I sewed all of my buttons on with my machine. Remember you still need to lock in your stitch when you sew buttons on with your machine or a light pull on one string and they fall off. You can do this by sewing in one place for at least 3-4 stitches at the beginning and at the end of each bar tack stitch.

I wanted to trim the jacket although I knew it would all need to be sewn on by hand or all of my “good” stitching would look messy with multiple sets of stitches on reverse sides. Plus it would really show up on a solid material.

“Did you make that?”, in a low key monotone voice is worse than, “Did you make that?”, in high pitch voice of excitement.

Tracy McElfreash Tracysews Blog Victorian Suit Making

Here is the completed jacket. It is one of the coolest things I have made to date.


Just a few other suits, jackets and such I’ve made. I’m learning so much about tailoring!

Behind the scenes~ in the middle of making the construction of the suit I got to guest appear on WDTN Channel 2 news’s lunch program, Living Dayton. Click here to see the full interview.

Tracy McElfresh

Thank you for reading!

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