Monday, 10 August 2020

1770s Silk/Wool Satin Jacket & Petticoat

[18th century, jacket, caraco, pierrot, mariner's cuffs, wool satin, blend satin, edge stitching, 1770s, 1780s]
Pattern: Self-draft. 
Fabric: Silk/Wool blend satin, medium to heavy weight (toeing the line). Color is "Light Antique Lavender." 

Chest: 42"
Waist: 35"
Back Width: 15.5"
Sleeve Length: 26" along back, around elbow curve. 
Sleeve Bicep: 13.5" max
Hem: 35" front, 38" back (accommodates lift of a bum-roll or pads). 

I got the idea for this style jacket from several museum pieces I've seen. Most of them were jackets from the late 1770s and into the 1780s. There were several that looked like reworks over old garments, caracos from as early as the 1750s that had been adapted to become a bit more fashionable. This gave them design "mixes" like added button front, but older style skirts. I decided to go with taking an older style caraco and making it more fashionable to a lady in the 1780s by giving it full length sleeves, mariner's cuffs, and a center front button closure. 

As I have used the basic body template of this pattern before, construction was easy and came with no unforeseen snags. I drafted the changes, mostly to the center fronts, on the form with a muslin first. While I did use machine stitching to assemble the jacket pieces and lining, I used hand stitching to put in the lining (see the full edge stitching on the jacket), and to do all the work on the cuffs. 

The buttonholes are handworked with silk floss of a color "light antique lavender", which was an almost perfect match to the fabric. The buttons I made in the 18th century manner, wrapping fabric around wood molds and securing with heavy thread. 

The Fabric
I lucked out finding this silk/wool satin gem. It was sold as a "mystery" fabric bolt end of only 4 yards. In the shop I believed I was getting a heavy cotton sateen or maybe a convincing poly blend. But later I did burn tests on the whole fabric, then separate burn tests of threads from the warp and weft separated. Sure enough it came out to be purple silk woven with white wool (I would estimate a 70% silk to 30% wool mix). I had never actually seen wool or silk/wool satin in person, as it's not a common fabric and rarely found in your typical fabric shop. In my searches I also found that it tends to be quite expensive, usually $50+ a yard. 

Yardage Used
At 60" wide, and with a very subtle two-way nap, I was able to get the following for this garment:
  • Jacket used 1.6 yards. 
  • Petticoat, with a 38" back length and 1.3" hem, used 2.2 yards. 
  • Total fabric for this garment, 60" wide.........3.8 yards. 
Not bad! I have only about 1/3 of a yard left, which isn't really enough for anything. The weight of the fabric (medium to heavy) also limits what can be done with such a small amount. I will likely keep it on hand for any repairs or changes to this garment in the future. 


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