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  1. #1
    Join Date
    23rd March 19
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    vintage tweed jacket and waistcoat renovatiion

    I picked up a vintage Argyll and matching waistcoat off the evilbay a week or so ago. I knew it had a couple of issues from the sale pics: a few missing buttons, drooping pocket welts, and at least a couple open seams/areas of degraded lining in the waistcoat. When it arrived (payed for on Friday, arrived on Monday) I found there were a few more open seams in the jacket primarily along the bottom hem in three places, a poorly repaired epaulette on the left shoulder, and the pocket welts were pretty bad. They had drifted more than .5" (12mm for you folks over there) and had distorted the material above and below the pockets. Also the set had been hung up on a hanger for YEARS and folds had set hard into the fabric. Check out the pic of the vest prior to any work; you can see how far the fabric had distorted by comparing the lines of the overcheck.
    Click image for larger version. 

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    Anyways, it fits like it was made from my measurements so I figured it's worth putting some time and effort into rejuvenating the set and getting them back into the light of day.

    First step was to give it a good clean. First up a thorough, gentle brushing to get the easy dust and dirt off. Then a clean damp cloth with a little touch of woolite to lift what I could from the fibres. I just used an easy 'twist and lift' to get what I could; no sense in roughing up tweed that's older than I am. After the cleaning things were looking pretty good. It's a lovely tweed, much more green than I had thought once the dust was gone.
    Post cleaning:
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    Not bad at all. Next job is to get the fabric square. It'll need a whole lotta steam to relax to wool and shift it back where it should be. It's taken a few days to get things to where they are now, but it's just a slow process. Easy peasy, but sloooooooow...

    step one: shift the pocket welt closer to where it should be and baste it in place
    step two: steam the fabric from where the distortion begins, furthest away from the welt first slowly working towards the welt. It takes a lot of steam with no pressing. I'm just relaxing the wool and coaxing it into place.
    step three: Leave the piece on the ham until cool and dry. I made a ham by balling up an old wool army blanket into the right shape.
    step four: take out the basting and start again by moving the welt closer to where it needs to go and steam again.
    step five: take out the basting and... Well, you get the idea.

    I've done three rounds of basting and steaming and I'm almost there. One more time into the breach and she'll be as good as she's going to get. In any case I'm not looking for perfection. The set is older than I am and if it shows a little age I'm happy to wear it in all it's glory.

    Jacket breast pocket:
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    It's almost there. Once it cools and dries I'll try it on and see if I want to try to take it the rest of the way. I did press the hanger folds out of the other side to see how it would work on my blanket ham. I'm happy to say that while it took enough steam to run a steam engine a mile and a half, the surprisingly thick interlining and tweed let go of the folds and settled into a nice smooth plane again. This is the first time I've tried restoring an interlining this thick so I wasn't sure what it would take to get it back into shape.

    The waistcoat is nearly there as well.
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    The vest might be done with the steaming process. I'll have to try it on once it's completely cool and dry and check it out. Again, with a vintage piece this old I'm looking to do a 'sympathetic restoration' rather than try to get it looking brand spanking new.



    I wish I had thought to get more "before" pics. I'll take more shots through the rest of the process if anyone's interested.
    Still on the Gantt chart:
    1. secure the open seams in the vest and patch the one seam where the fabric has lost a little integrity. If it turns out the inside vest lining is too brittle at this point I'll re-line the waistcoat.
    2. take apart the epaulette repair and redo the work. Someone stitched the button and epaulette to the shoulder as a single piece. Right now it doesn't sit right and looks lumpy.
    3. close the open spots on the lining around the hem of the jacket. Everything's in good shape here, it'll just need re-stitching.
    4. source and replace the two missing buttons on the cuffs. Anyone know where to get 3/4" antler buttons?
    5. source and replace the six missing buttons on the waistcoat pocket flaps. Anyone know where to get 9/16" antler buttons?
    Last edited by Bad Monkey; 27th May 19 at 08:23 PM.

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    26th December 18
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    That is a lovely looking pair - so glad you were able to get it! Especially since it cleaned up and fits you well!

    Shane

  4. #3
    Join Date
    14th July 12
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    St. Paul, Minnesota
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    That looks like a great restoration project, so full steam ahead. I had a source in Germany that supplied me with wonderful traditional antler buttons for two jacket projects of my own a couple years back. Unfortunately, when I went to check the web address I see they are no longer shipping product. Good luck on finding a source—it seems to be a disappearing art.
    " Anything worth doing is worth doing slowly." - Mae West -

  5. #4
    Join Date
    30th September 08
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    You might try here...

    Last edited by ShaunMaxwell; 27th May 19 at 08:25 PM.
    Shaun Maxwell
    Vice President & Texas Commissioner
    Clan Maxwell Society

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  7. #5
    Join Date
    13th January 19
    Location
    Texas Hill Country
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    Well done! - I like having a 'project' going on
    “It has never been hard to tell the difference between a Scotsman with a grievance and a ray of sunshine.”

    P.G. Wodehouse.

  8. #6
    Join Date
    23rd March 19
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    hopefully this project won't be going on for very long. I'm hoping to wear it to this Saturday's gig; it's the first time We've played a show in Seattle since St. Paddy's weekend and I'd like to wear it for the show. Well, I'm pretty sure the jacket will come off after a few tunes but that's par for the course.

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  10. #7
    Join Date
    3rd March 15
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    Nice looking tweed.

    For horn buttons you could try this place on Etsy (although location wise it's a bit more convenient for me that it is for the States): https://www.etsy.com/shop/AMHornLith...on_id=24869844

  11. #8
    Join Date
    27th October 09
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    Very nicely done so far! It's a lovely tweed, and I'm glad to see someone giving it the attention it needs to bring it back to its former glory. They just don't make 'em like this any more.

    I am looking forward to seeing photos of you wearing it after it's all finished!

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