Friday, June 4, 2010

German linen Jacket, 1750

As I mentioned in my last post I am working on a couple of German jackets for a wonderful customer.

This next one I'm working on will complete the order. : >

It's a German wood cut c 1750 by an unknown author, titled "Eine Frau im Haup Gehend" or "A woman in the home".

It is being constructed from a beautiful brown linen/tan stripe. I purchased this linen from Wm Booth Draper (item number WLN327). I'll be lining the jacket with an oat color linen.

Similar to the other German jacket I had to create a pattern for this project as well. Patterns for many ethnic and unusual outfits can't be found and need to created. I didn't make a pattern that can be sold, it's not that put together by any means! I generally do my drafting very organically. I start with the lining material and use colored tailors chalk to mark my pattern out where I think each piece should be cut. I then measure it all again checking the numbers against the waist, bust, arm length, back length, side length etc. When I'm happy with that (there generally happens to be a number of lines in random colors.... it's pretty but time consuming!) I cut it all out and dry fit it to the dress dummy (for the amount that I talk about her, I have two, they really should be named... any thoughts?) If there are any adjustments I need to make I do it now. I then take the lining which has become by pattern and cut out the main material.
Although the two jackets look totally different their basic construction remains the same. Like the wool jacket I came out with 6 pieces for the bodice. 2 front pieces, 2 side pieces, 2 back pieces. I pick stitch along the seams to attach the lining to main material. Unlike the wool jacket, however, the sleeves on this are cut from one piece, like gowns of the period, and has only one seam running up the inside arm. This sleeve has a large cuff, but only reaches to below the elbow and is slightly more fitted than that of the blue wool jacket.

This jacket was a little more difficult than a regular jacket as it's not front closing and required robings down the front. Robings are a throwback to the Mantua and are used to hid pins and fixings of the gown. Almost 99% of gowns or jackets that fit with a stomacher should have robings. Because of this I had to be very careful to cut the front of the bodice as I wanted to make the robings right, they are precariously folded and are actually the same piece as the front.

As this jacket required covered buttons I of course had to make them! I use the same covered buttons you can purchase at your local fabric store, or at the request of the customer I can make them with a wooden or rag middle. For the buttons take some scraps of your material and position the cutting guide where you would like it. I generally don't center a pattern etc unless I'm copying an item that has it since buttons in the 18th century added detail but were not meant to be main focal points. Or, like the case of a polonaise, were both decorative and functional. Don't get me wrong, there are very decorative buttons, but these are covered buttons with no embroidery etc.... stay with me, stop thinking about all the shiny buttons!!

Now that you have all these little circles (for anyone that has quilted or crafted they look like the beginnings of yo-yos) take the smooth top part of the button and your little rubble mold. Place your material in the rubble mold, good side down. Place the smooth top portion of the button on top and push it into the mold. Then wrap all that extra fabric and just use your finger to push it into the back of the button. place the little back with the shank facing you and use the little hard blue plastic piece. This is placed over the back of the button, on a flat surface press down hard. You'll feel if the button snaps into place. You can see if the button is sitting wrong, if the button has bent etc. Please remember that thin fabrics may not work, thick wools will also not work. If you're using a more sheer material I take a little bit of high grade sand paper and buff the top of the button to get rid of some of that horrible sheen (it surprisingly does shine through the material). There buttons done!! I'll be making the buttons tonight, this jacket needs 26 of the little guys..... that will be my evening. I'm also going to try and make soap tonight - but that's a story for another day!


  1. Wow, this is amazing! What a striking talent you have! Very nice to meet you :) your creations are lovely!~

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