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Wednesday, April 15, 2015

· Red & Cream 1770s Jacket ·

When we purchased the fabric for my robe a l'Anglaise, it only came in pre-cut increments.  Therefore, there was enough fabric for a gown and petticoat for myself, a round gown for my mother, and lots of leftovers.  Several years ago, I realized that a jacket would round out my 18th c. wardrobe nicely, so I used some of the fabric for that.  It has kind of turned into the "widow's oil" of fabric, as we still had enough for a modern tote bag, and still have over a yard left.  But I'm not complaining!  I have yet to tire of this fabric. :-)

I've admired the jacket from "Costume Close Up" for years, but after seeing it on a large portion of Colonial Williamsburg employees, I was wary of making my own version.  I like to be as unique as I can (limited at times by my knowledge or lack thereof...), but that can sometimes be a hindrance.  I'm glad I didn't let the distaste of being "just like everyone else" stop me from making this jacket, because it is so fetching!  I love the style. :-)

I already had J.P. Ryan's jacket pattern and found that it fits me rather well as a base, so rather than start from scratch, I decided to use that as my starting point.  View D is rather reminiscent of the CCU jacket, so I used that as a reference to make the necessary changes.

Problem number one that I ran into with the JP Ryan pattern is that the back piece is too wide, therefore the angled peplum seam only hits at the side.  This causes wrinkles in the back peplum, since there isn't any allowance for skirt fullness.  I wanted to minimize my fabric usage with this jacket, so I made use of piecing and unique cutting.  The jacket should have a side back seam, but my fabric-saving measure was to put in a godet instead of having an angled seam.  It adds the necessary fluffiness- one of my favorite aspects of 18th c. jackets. :-)

The jacket also needed slits at the front, which also end up helping to allow for skirt fullness.  I believe I shorted the whole jacket a bit too, but I can't quite remember. :-)

As always, my much-loved, much-complimented American Duchess "Kensingtons" accent my outfit perfectly!  Has anyone else noticed how red shoes pop perfectly with all my 18th c. outfits?!  Totally unplanned, but I love it. :-D  Red is the perfect contrast!

While the front of my robe a l'Anglaise was a great example of matching designs, this jacket is a good example of a more common 18th c. frame of mind- utter disregard to pattern matching. ;-)

After making my first entirely hand-stitched garment earlier that year (my Polonaise), I was inspired to make another hand-sewn garment.  A jacket is much quicker gratification. ;-)  I've continued the tradition of hand-sewn jackets (mustard and block-print), and I'm a big fan.  There is something about visible hand stitches that makes me so happy inside. :-D

(For a great step-by-step tutorial on constructing this jacket with 18th c. methods, check out Rebecca and Ashley's tutorial here)

I took a diversion from my normal straight-pin closure to do lacing on this jacket.  It takes considerably longer to get ready in the morning, but I adore the look!!

This jacket also benefited from the (much needed) assistance of that ever-so-handy pair of socks.
But really, all that cute flounciness needs a little extra "oomph" to showcase it. ;-)

One of my favorite petticoats to pair with this jacket is my green one, but I do always get several "what a very festive outfit!" comments when I do. :-P  Green and red are two of my favorite colors, and they pair so nicely, but I wish they didn't have the automatic Christmas implication.  However, visiting Williamsburg in December this past year was the perfect opportunity to wear it with confidence and smile off all the "festive" comments. ;-)

· Photos by the fabulous Kathryn! ·


  1. Gosh! That is such an adorable pairing! The green is so lush and lovely and that jacket is perfect! You always look so put together, no matter what century you're wearing! Wonderful work!!

    1. Thank you, Holly! What a wonderful compliment! :-)

  2. This is amazing! I'm very impressed. I have no idea how to do such historical clothing, but I hope sometime I have a reason to! This is so adorable.

  3. Oh Lily, this is so beautiful!! I am thoroughly envious of your 18th century garments. I know that one of the main reasons for making these pieces is in order to wear them to the many trips your family has taken to Williamsburg! My family and I visited there for the first time last summer and my was it wonderful, however, I am quite upset that I chose not to dress time I most certainly will!!!

    1. Thanks Madison! You're so sweet! I hope you're able to dress up next time- it really enhances the experience and the folks at the millinery/tailor shop are SO helpful and informative to talk with! :-)

  4. I love it! I have serious jacket envy now. I love that red and white print, gosh!

  5. I feel SO tardy. I would have commented sooner, but garden-digging took precedence over blog-commenting today. :|
    This is SO gorgeous, Lily!! I have been looking forward to seeing more hole-in-the-wall pictures! :)
    I love the laces on the front of the jacket, and all of those detailed seams! My goodness! Too beautiful.
    I think the colors are lovely as well. They really don't look "Christmas-y" together at all!
    Lovely, lovely outfit! I'm slowly getting in the mood for colonial sewing (especially with my AD Georgianas getting old in the box), so this is just the perfect inspiration! :)

    1. Thanks Esther! Hope you have fun delving into the 18th century- it's addicting! :-)

  6. So so beautiful ! You've done an amazing work !

  7. You look positively stupendous Lily!
    Thank you for sharing such a beautiful project with us!

    of Calico Sisters blog

  8. Your jacket is lovely Lily! And, what's funny, is for once your combination of green and red didn't scream Christmas at me, but rather Springtime. :)

    the Middle Sister and Singer

    1. Thanks Brigid! And I'm so glad someone else thinks this is a very springtime-appropriate color scheme! ;-)



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