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  • Finishing a Tart "blank"

    I'm thinking of ordering a RDII "blank" from Ben Tart and wanted to check to see how much sewing skill is required.

    According to Ben Tart, an "open blank" is a jacket put together with the following hand work left to do: "Button holes, top stitching, pockets, closing the neck linning, and closing the sleeve linning. We send you the thread, and directions for you to finish the job."

    I've done numerous button holes, but haven't done the other listed tasks. If anyone out there has completed an "open blank", I would appreciate hearing about your experience. I want to make sure the directions are adequate and my skills are adequate to the task.

    Thanks,
    Robert Carter
    69th NYSV, Co. A
    justrobnj@gmail.com
    www.69thsnyv.org

  • #2
    Re: Finishing a Tart "blank"

    Hey, Rob, how's my favorite chaplain? ;)

    I'll go you one better: I took on one of Ben's mark-up kits for trousers (the pattern is inscribed on the fabric in marker pen, with printed instructions, buttons and thread, etc.). The directions were not terrific, though if you can reference a finished garment, it will help a lot. I made an RD II from scratch using a County Cloth pattern and Ben Tart fabric, so maybe I can give you a partial answer.

    Buttonholes are nothing difficult if you follow the directions Chris Daley has offered on this forum (the use of a chisel to cut the holes saves a lot of sloppy cutting, and is as close to period buttonhole scissors as you're going to get without purchasing a pair).

    Topstitching is pretty easy: you just follow the outline of the seams (again, it helps to have a finished garment or else some indication of where to topstitch; the edges and along the collar are pretty common, but on the RD II, it also includes the epaulettes). But topstitching is the easy part that comes last.

    Closing the neck lining means attaching the lining at the collar, usually by turning the coat inside out. See, the lining is not supposed to be attached to the body of the coat fabric, but "float" inside. Closing the neck is not tricky per se, just time consuming. I'm not sure what Ben means by pockets. If you have to cut and put in the pockets, that's getting more tricky. I find setting the pockets among the trickiest part of clothing construction, since 19th Century pockets often had prominent pocket "welts" (the strip of fabric that shields the edge of the pocket from wear and dirt. If the pockets are already set, and all you have to do is sew around the pocket bag edges inside, then you're OK. If you have to "set" the pockets, then you might find the task a bit confusing without a finished garment for a guide.

    The sleeve lining is closed by pulling the sleeves inside out, going inside the lining from the bottom of the coat, and sewing the sleeve lining and coat lining together without catching the needle on the body material. Again, time-consuming, but not rocket science. You then seal off the bottom edge of the lining and afix it to the body of the coat. Then you do your topstitching and your buttonholes last.

    If one of our seamsters or seamstresses can give clearer guidance, that would be a good thing. But I do not consider myself a seamster, just an amateur who has made several jackets in both colors.
    Bill Cross
    The Rowdy Pards

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    • #3
      Re: Finishing a Tart "blank"

      I've hand sewn a Childs CD jacket from a kit, and recently a Tart RD II jacket kit, since I needed a good ANV impression for Spotsylvania (I live out west). Since it was an unassembled kit, I took the opportunity to swap out the osnaburg sleeve lining pieces, and used them as a guide to cut new lining from some shirting material.

      Childs' directions are a tad more detailed, regarding things like setting the pocket, but I found Tart's directions to be adequate enough to get the job done, and I'm an amateur. Just required close review of the instructions, and it all made sense. All the pieces came together nicely.

      The mark up kits or partially finished jackets are a good way to cut your teeth on hand sewing. Good luck w/ yours.

      Dan Hadley
      [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Finishing a Tart "blank"

        Rob,

        I could help you out with that. If you want to swing by my neighborhood sometime I can show you easy how to finish up your project.

        Shoot me an email.

        ryanweddle@nyc.rr.com
        Ryan B.Weddle

        7th New York State Militia

        "Beware of all enterprises that require new clothes" - Henry David Thoreau

        "The willingness with which our young people are likely to serve in any war, no matter how justified, shall be directly proportional as to how they perceive the Veterans of earlier wars were treated and appreciated by their country."
        George Washington , 1789

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        • #5
          Re: Finishing a Tart "blank"

          I have sewn both a RDII and Richmond Depot pants from Country Cloth. The directions were kind of dificult to understand, but I was able to figure them out. I had to research the different stiches for accuracy, but it isn't all that hard to make a jacket. Sewing your own jacket is both cheaper :wink_smil and educating, because you can see how they made the jackets.

          Sincerly,
          Andrew Zetts

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          • #6
            Re: Finishing a Tart "blank"

            Rob,

            I'd take Ryan up on his offer. He is very talented with needle and thread and knows the proper way to put a kit together.

            Sewing is easy if you have a skill for it. However, having an experienced hand to guide you through the process is often the difference between a well constructed garment and a marginally constructed garment. Most instructions are basic and don't include details like trimming seam allowances, setting the collar properly, and pressing. (FAR too many "authentic" jackets aren't properly pressed during construction.)

            Anyway, if I was a novice and had a talented guy like Ryan nearby who was willing to help, I'd definitely go that route.
            John Stillwagon

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: Finishing a Tart "blank"

              Dont forget to iron your seems!
              Robert Johnson

              "Them fellers out thar you ar goin up against, ain't none of the blue-bellied, white-livered Yanks and sassidge-eatin'forrin' hirelin's you have in Virginny that run atthe snap of a cap - they're Western fellers, an' they'll mighty quick give you a bellyful o' fightin."



              In memory of: William Garry Co.H 5th USCC KIA 10/2/64 Saltville VA.

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              • #8
                Re: Finishing a Tart "blank"

                And then iron them again!
                John Stillwagon

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                • #9
                  Re: Finishing a Tart "blank"

                  Originally posted by Yellowhammer
                  And then iron them again!
                  Actually, "press" the seams--it's a bit different from ironing like you do to
                  shirts &c. A good steam iron is just the ticket.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: Finishing a Tart "blank"

                    Remember it isnt just runnign an iron over top of the seam a couple of passes.

                    Get a good quality iron. Yellowhammer posted a good commercial one on the old forum, and it is great if you do alot of pressing. A good hopper fed steam iron. If you dont want to go that far, I have used a heavy Rowenta Steam Iron available at TARGET, which has done good service for me as well.

                    If you have access to a pressing ham, it helps alot on those curved seams.
                    I also have a hard wood sleeve board which is great for pressing sleeve seams. (Imagine a small iron board for sleeves)

                    Most of all dont press directly against the wool with the iron. I use scrap cotton shirting material for a pressing cloth. I keep it wet, and then let the iron set and allow the steam to do the work. Carefully monitor the pressing as you go, but if you do wind up scorching anything it will be your pressing cloth, not your "TART" cloth.

                    Just some thoughts.
                    Todd Morris

                    Proprietor, Morris & Company Historical Clothiers

                    http://morrisclothiers.com

                    Canton Lodge #60 F&AM Canton, Ohio


                    In Memorium: Pvt. Simon Morris, Co. G, 78th OVI Died: April 14, 1863 Jefferson Barracks, Missouri
                    Joseph Rezin Thompson, 1st W.Va. Light Artillery
                    Azville W. Lindsey, Co. G, 12th W.Va. Volunteer Infantry

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                    • #11
                      Re: Finishing a Tart "blank"

                      This is the iron I use for pressing:

                      http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll...sPageName=WDVW

                      If you are going to do any amount of sewing, an iron like this will pay for itself in the time you save.

                      As Todd said, always use a pressing cloth (mine is a leftover scrap of blue line duck from a shelter tent project) and be attentive.
                      John Stillwagon

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                      • #12
                        Re: Finishing a Tart "blank"

                        John, thanks for posting that link to ebay for the steam iron. I've been wanting to get one since we all did the frock class with Chris Daley a year and a half ago but didn't know which to get. I used yours there and they work great.
                        John Greenfield

                        GawdAwful Mess [url]www.gawdawfulmess.com[/url]

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: Finishing a Tart "blank"

                          John,

                          Yeah, Joe Loehle, Chris D and I all got them about the same time. Mine currently has a short in the switch but that's no big deal considering how many yards of seams it has pressed.
                          John Stillwagon

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