Wednesday, 12 June 2019

Caraco a la Polonaise - 1770s Jacket

Pattern: Self drafted, though I referred to two pattern from The Cut of Women's Clothes as a guide when I began; diagrams XXI and XXIII. I also referred to several extant fashion plates.

Fabric: 100% Silk Taffetas, in dark brown, buff, and sage green.
Available on Etsy HERE
Measurements:
Chest: 38-39"
Waist: 31-32.5"
Back Width: 14"
Upper Arm: 13.5" max.
Hem: 39" at front, 42" at back

I did my sleeves with this image in mind
While I did draft this pretty much from scratch, I used a lot of visual sources for reference when deciding on the shape and lay of the garment. 

Norah Waugh shows two examples of "polonaise" jackets in The Cut of Women's Clothes, and there are many fashion plates showing the style (unfortunately, almost none show them front a view!). They came with short sleeves, long sleeves, heavily trimmed, plain, etc. 

Compared to the amount of the resources and information available on other 18th century styles--the anglaise, Caracos, Sack-back gowns, etc.--there is precious little available on the true polonaise. There aren't many survived in museum, especially not compared the other styles. Keeping that in mind, there is evidence to show that they were sometimes lined and sometimes not. It seemed to depend on the fabric being used (whether or not it needed the support of some lining) and preference. 

I chose to fully line this polonaise, as I am not really a fan of the way taffeta behaves when it doesn't have something else helping to weight it down. It is a "crunchy" fabric, after all, and wants to hold whatever shape it gets squished into. This is great for some reasons and not so great for others =P 



FINISHED






























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