Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Progressing on the Queen's American Rangers Jacket: Pockets, sleeves, epaulettes and wings

Next up is to fix the sleeves to the jacket.  I pinned the sleeve to the interior of the jacket, ensuring that the rear sleeve seam bisected the back panel about 2-3 in. from the seam with the front panel.  You might have to work, stretching the arm hole to get it to fit the shoulder of the sleeve.  I had to work with the pinning a few times to avoid the fabric buckling.  I sewed the sleeves on with a backstitch and then pressed out the shoulder seam using a ham, just like the lower sleeves.

On to the pockets.  For their placement, I measured up 5 1/2 in from the bottom of the front panel and 3 in. from the raw vertical edge (where the buttons and button holes will eventually be worked).  Now, I should say that these measurements are based off a size 44 jacket, so they may change with a smaller or shorter jacket.  I think generally on line with the third button-hole is what we're aiming for. 

We have no information as to whether there were working pockets on the jacket.  Most enlisted coats of the period had interior pockets, so the outer pocket flap would lay flat (i.e. Regimentals).  It is suggested that the same would be true for waistcoats, however, my theory is as follows.  When the Rangers switched from Regimentals to jackets, like other light infantry, it is probable that they merely took the sleeves from the regimental and fixed them to their waistcoats.  If we consider that they were accoutered with the converted government set (ventral box slung on a belt across the shoulder) there is no place to stow tools (turnscrew), picks, and such like.  It is possible the working pockets were added after the fact.  I have chosen that route here.  The pockets hold my turn screw, pick, a few coins, a penny knife and my flint and steel very nicely, without causing a disheveled and unmilitary appearance. 

Sew the pocket welt below where the pocket slash will be located, leaving a 1/4 in seam allowance.  Use a backstitch.  Be sure to clip the corners, so you are not sewing through three layers of fabric when you turn the welt up to sew to the body.

If you choose to make a working pocket, fold a linen square back on itself, using a back stitch.  Leave 1/2 in seam allowance throughout and use a whip stitch to fix the pocket bag to the interior of the pocket slash.

Fold the pocket welt back on itself, press and pin.

Using a straight stitch, sew the sides of the welt to the body.  Use a whip stitch to fix the top edge of the welt to the body, or it you chose to make a working pocket, to the front part of the pocket bag.

Should you choose to  have working pockets, the finished product should look like this.

In placing the epaulette, it should be centered on the shoulder.  It is easier to work the button hole prior to sewing on. I have seen several options for affixing epaulettes:  one can sew it flat with the epaulette falling over the sleeve and then turn it back towards the collar or use a back stitch to sew it flat and then whip stitch to the sleeve where the raw edge will join to the wing.  For fixing the button, make a hole with an awl, forcing the button shank through.  on the underside thread about two inches of linen tape through the shank and whip stitch the tape to the underside of the shoulder.

Epaulette placement

Pin your epaulettes and wings like so. 
Notice how the wing will extend about 2 in beyond your sleeve seams. A whip stitch
will suffice to hold the wing.

Make a hole where you marked the placement of the epaulette buttonhole.

Poke the shank through the hole and thread the linen tape through.
You may need to ream out the shank hole with your awl,
in order to allow the tape and needle to pass through.

Sew down the tape on either side of the shank. 
This same technique is used for the buttons on the chest and cuffs.

 As you see in the photo the epaulette should just touch the shoulder seam, about 1-2 in. from the neck line.  Once we fix the collar, it should not overlap the button.  This may require some trimming of the epaulette prior to sewing.

In fixing the wings, start at the top of the shoulder at the epaulette and sew down the front an back, again using a whip stitch.  As always, there should be at least 6-8 stitches/in. and the stitches should be small enough not to be visible on the sleeve. 

Notice that the wing may need to be trimmed such that it only extends about 1-1/2 in. below the sleeve seams. 

The points of the wing should bisect the space between the rear arm sleeve seam and the rear panel seam.

Next time we'll look at sewing the collar and attaching the lining.

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