Tuesday, 18 April 2017

1775 Orange Stripe Caraco - Pet-en-l'air Style

Patterns: J.P Ryan "Pet-en-l'air" pattern, altered.
Fabrics: 100% Cotton; cream with orange and dark grey stripes. Cotton osnaburg lining.
Available on Etsy HERE
Chest: 38-41
Waist: 33 - 36
Upper arm: <14.5"

Construction Details:
Hand stitched in all visible areas. I only used machine stitching on inside seams. Also handmade eyelets for the front lining lacing.
The ruching on the stomacher has scalloped cut edges.
Lining has size adjustment options at center front and center back. The front laces closed and the center back has ties.

Is it a Caraco or a Pet-en-l'air?
In truth, I'm not sure. It's either a pet-en-l'air or it's both. In general, the term caraco tends to get used a catch all descriptor for pretty much any 18th century jacket that does not have horizontal waist seams attaching a separate skirt, or that isn't obviously a riding habit. It's definitely not a casaquin jacket, I at least know that, LOL.

Alterations to the J.P. Ryan Pattern
Pretty much the only change I made to the original pattern is the length. The pattern has the length of the pet-en-l'air much longer, suited to being spread out over generous pocket hoops. I wanted to make a more relaxed ensemble that would be worn over a simple bum roll.

  • shortened overall length of jacket significantly
  • omitted side skirt piece.
If you're not familiar with the basic construction of a saque gown, the lining is pretty much what makes the whole thing fit, with the actual gown then attached to it like a shell. 

(above) front of lining before I did the eyelets
(below) back of lining with adjustment ties.

The Watteau Pleats
I have several different patterns for saques with different pleat patterns to form the back. I really do like the J.P. Ryan method for the pleats. It's a bit more complex, comprised of 6 pleat steps on each side, with one large pleat covering two below to create a very layered series. Others are much simpler, basically just layered box pleats, but I don't think they flow down to the hem as well as the fold method from this pattern. 

(below) Here you can see the layering, and one of the narrowing pleats underneath the larger top ones. You can also see the vertical line of stitching where the back is attached to the lining.

The Stomacher
Made with two layers of cotton osnaburg behind the stripe fashion fabric. The stomacher is not boned. Since it's being laid over the front lining section, which is already boned, I didn't think it was necessary. In fact, the bones would have showed too much and ruined the look.

The ruching is bias stripes of cotton with a scalloped edge. I used by trusty antique scalloping sheers (which are hard to find and nearly impossible to get sharpened these days). I used a machine long stitch to do the gathering, then hand stitched it all down and removed the machine gather stiches. 

The center front false buttons are mother-of-pearl, each with a single fresh water pearl.

The Petticoat
As with almost all 18th century petticoats, there's nothing really unique going on here. It's your basic double waistband style with side openings, length adjusted at the top to suit the bun roll. In this case, the bum roll style I chose is the end-heavy crescent...where the center back of the bum roll is moderate and the sides (ends) over the hips are a bit fatter. 


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