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Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Working Class Attire · 1770s Style


OK, I'll be honest.  This was one of my beginner 18th c. outfits, and I was this close to not even bothering with getting photos for the blog.  It's such a simple, boring outfit, and one that I doubted was even worth sharing.

I thought, "Hey, I'll just go ahead and do a post about it, and then sell it in my Etsy shop a month later."  I was tired of it and ready to pass it on.

But then..... Kathryn took pictures.

Seriously, I don't know how she does this!  Every time I'm on the fence about an outfit, she works her photography magic and suddenly I have a renewed zest for said garment!

So.....for those of you who would have purchased this jacket... sorry.  It's no longer for sale. ;-)  I've changed my mind- this is one of my favorite outfits!  I like to think that I'm rather modest and not vain, but I'll admit- I really do love the way these pictures turned out. To the extent that there may or may not have been squealing in public on the streets of Williamsburg when I saw them... ;-)


Part of that is because these pictures were taken in front of my favorite house/wreath combinations in Colonial Williamsburg this past December.  The Sign of the Rhinoceros is always a quaint, off-the-beaten-path house, but the Christmas decor made it more than usually charming, in my opinion. :-)


The jacket is super simple- linen lined with cotton (made back before I knew better....) and machine assembled, hence the lining peeking out at the front edges.  Hand-assembling has the benefit of keeping those pesky linings staying back where they're supposed to be, but I was ignorant of such things when I made this. ;-)

The jacket is made from JP Ryan's jacket pattern, and went together rather well.  This was my second one, so I didn't make any changes to the basic design.  Even though this was one of my first 18th c. endeavors, the fit of the back and sleeves turned out better than most of my more recent projects!  Not sure what that says about my fitting skills trajectory... ;-P


The jacket started out life as a bedgown.  Poor fabric- it's really not worthy of such appalling treatment.  I was so, so pleased with it though, because it was my very first historically-accurate outfit!
I soon found out that I utterly loathe and despise bedgowns, so that was a short-lived incarnation.  I used the pieces and some of the leftover fabric to make this jacket.  Fitted garments make me so much happier!


I was drawing a blank on accessorizing this outfit, mainly due to the fact that I completely forgot to pack our simpler apron for this trip!!  Argh!  I missed it on most days- hopefully now I won't forget it again!  I paired this with one of our block-printed neckerchiefs.  I went on a printed neckerchief spree a couple years ago, and made them out of all the appropriate fabric we had.  This one was barely eked out of the leftover scraps, but we happened to have enough of the border to trim the neck edge! :-)

· Thanks for reconciling me to this jacket, Kathryn! ·

25 comments:

  1. So lovely! I'm really drawn to working class styles because of their beautiful simplicity. Plus it's easier to imagine someone actually living in these clothes.

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    1. I agree! I could totally live/cook/clean/etc in something like this! :-) Another benefit to working-class- they improve with age and wear! ;-)

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  2. Absolutely gorgeous!! Honestly, Lily, this is my favorite colonial outfit of yours (at least, of those I've seen so far!)! I don't blame you at all for squealing!! It's just gorgeous, and you accessorized it perfectly.
    My colonial-sewing ignorance is showing; are you not supposed to use cotton for lining? What sort of fabric did you use for the neckerchief? I just love it! It almost looks embroidered.
    Lovely, lovely, lovely! You may just have convinced me to start sewing colonial clothing. I might just pick up the needed patterns today. Yay! :)

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    1. Esther, thanks so much! :-) I hope you do venture into the 18th c. soon! It's super addicting. ;-)

      Yes, cotton is not really appropriate for that use in this time period. It's before the age of the cotton gin, so cotton is NOT at all as affordable as we in the 21st c. are used to. ;-) Linen is the go-to lining fabric in the period. The neckerchief is made from a fine cotton that has been block-printed. *This* is a period use of cotton- small amounts were very common even for lower class; it's a relatively inexpensive way of dressing up. :-) I purchased the fabric from http://stores.ebay.com/Heritage-Trading/Fabric-/_i.html?_nkw=hand+printed+cotton&submit=Search&_fsub=5516169&_sid=47896792 Not all the designs they offer are good options, but they do have some nice ones! Also, several different purveyors offer printed neckerchiefs.

      Thanks for asking questions! I never know how much info to share.... some of it seems so "obvious", just because I've been exposed to it for so long. :-)

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  3. My goodness, I have been dreaming all month of making an outfit just like this, for when I someday, finally get to visit Williamsburg!!! I'm glad you are not selling it, it is too lovely.
    Can you tell me what patterns you used for the other components? Did you do a corset, bum roll, other underpinnings, etc?

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    1. Thank you, Lisette! :-) I am wearing a shift (chemise), stays (corset), pocket, and under petticoat, small bum roll (to hold out the back "fluff") besides the viewable layers. :-)

      For the shift and pocket, I used the JP Ryan pattern (although I made the shift sleeves less full-they were too bulky under my sleeves). For my stays, I used the pattern included in Jean Hunnisett's book "Period Costume for Stage and Screen, 1500-1800". The bum roll is actually just a pair of socks I safety-pinned into the under-petti since I forgot to bring the official bum roll. ;-P

      Like I told Esther above- thanks so much for asking! I'm happy to help and answer any questions! :-)

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  4. I love the combination of the solid blue jacket with the neckerchief! Somehow your outfit reminds me of the 18th century version of a jean skirt and a t-shirt, in a good, dressed up way! It looks so practical, and so pretty too!

    Blessings,
    Brigid
    the Middle Sister and Singer

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    1. Hehe! I love that mental picture- very true! Thanks so much, Brigid! :-)

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  5. Beautiful pictures! I much prefer a the simple styles of the common people to the frills of the posh. Never assume something is too simple to share!

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  6. Love love love! You always hit the 18th c. nail right on the head. Your work wear is as glorious as your more extravagant styles. I just love it!

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  7. This is an awesome outfit!

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  8. Incredibly lovely outfit and photos. You suit 18th century fashions sublimely well, dear gal.

    ♥ Jessica

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  9. Wow! This is beautiful!! I don't even understand how you could be on the fence about it! Your work is simply stunning! I'm hoping to join a Revolutionary War re-enactment group sometime. I will definitely be looking at your blog for inspiration.

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    1. Thanks, Jill! I wish you well on your re-enactment ventures; that sounds so fun!

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  10. Fabulous. I have two jackets from the JP Ryan pattern just lying about....I think your photos have inspired me to get into gear and finish them. I love the simple lines of your jacket. Gorgeous all around!

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    1. Thanks Catherine! I hope you do get around to finishing them- I went to visit your blog, and you do lovely work! :-)

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  11. Thank you all so much! You are all always so enthusiastic- it's a joy to share my work with such an appreciative audience! :-)

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  12. I think you look more like a proud and serious middle-class everyday-clothes wearing mistress of the house. That printed fischu is SO correct for the dark blue. A big chatelaine heavy with keys would look fantastic and a big crystal-cross or black velvet-choker in the neck-area http://orig04.deviantart.net/47c3/f/2011/272/7/d/18th_century_jacket_and_hat_by_verdaera-d4baw2v.jpg.

    And a I can see you in my minds eye waving a spoon at lazy maids and servants!

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    1. LOL! I love it! And that chatelaine sounds like an amazing accessory- I should keep my eyes open for one!

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  13. Linen lined with cotton, what would you use now?

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    1. Natalie,

      I'd line it with linen now. :-) Cotton was significantly more expensive than linen, so while some garments might be made from it, using it as a lining is a very unlikely choice! Thanks for your question- hope that helps! :-)

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  14. Would you attempt to wear the jacket with any modern clothes, or save it for re-enactments? I love the style, but never have occasion to dress in period clothing. :(

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    1. In the past, I've worn historical styles on a daily basis but nowadays I rely vintage styles for my creative outlet. ;-) Sadly that means that I have to search out (and usually travel) for opportunities to air them out! I wouldn't attempt to wear historical clothing like this in conjunction with modern clothing, but just because they have been specifically made to be worn over drastically different undergarments!

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