Tuesday, 19 January 2021

18th c. Caraco w/Comperes Front - Red/Cream Cotton

Pattern: Self Drafted "Gabriella" jacket
Fabrics: 100% cotton, all parts. 

Chest: 35/36"
Waist: 29/30"
Hip: Free
Hem: 39" Front, 42" Back (bumroll or rump)
Back Width: 14" max
Bicep: 13.5" max

A 3rd quarter 18th century Caraco jacket with comperes panel front closure and silk covered buttons. The jacket is fully edge trimmed with narrow box pleats that use the stripe print of the cotton. I stitched all the trim down by hand. The buttonholes are also hand worked, and the buttons are silk covered wood forms. 
The jacket is fully lined in unbleached muslin. The sleeve linings are set in by hand with slip stitching, so there are no raw or exposed seams anywhere inside the jacket. And because everything is cotton, this jacket and petticoat can be machine washed (although the ironing afterward to get the pleats back into nice order probably wouldn't be worth it. I would recommend hand washing anyway). 

The Trim
I did do something new--at least for me--on this caraco with the trim. This is the first time I decided to apply pleated trim without the methodically math of making everything perfectly balanced. Of course I'm referring to the pleating method of "divide in half repeatedly until everything is pleated down in uniform increments." This time I just started with a long length of prepared cotton, with the edges already pressed under 1/2", and then I did all the pleating around just by sight. 

Doing this way, I realized, has two big benefits. One, it was less boring and irritating. Two, the end result is more "natural" looking, or perhaps period accurate because that obsession with precision in clothes wasn't the big thing in the 18th century. If anything, super even pleats, especially if the trim is contrasting, can make a garment look cheap and inaccurate because the trim will appear store-bought even if it isn't. 

Otherwise, there isn't much to be told on this ensemble. I've made this style many times before using the pattern I've been tweaking and adjusting for a years now. If you search the blog for "Gabriella" you will find other posts of jackets made from the same pattern, some with slight alterations. 


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