Friday, June 4, 2010

German wool Jacket, 1732

Hello Everyone,

I know It's been a while since I posted something but my life has just been crazy. My fiancee deployed to Afghanistan at the beginning of May, I started my summer job at the museum and finished up my 2nd semester of my Museum studies diploma.... wow. If you haven't all noticed, I'm a big nerd!

So, A customer approached me a few months ago about making her some 18th century jackets. One from a wood cut and one from a painting by Pesne of Elizabeth Oberbuchler, a refugee from Salzburg, 1732. This post is about the painting and I'll do another when I'm completed the wood cut jacket.

I had to draft the pattern, I do this using a combination of my dress dummy, an 18th century jacket pattern, my quilting rulers, and good old know how.

After cutting out all the pieces of lining and dry fitting them to the dummy, I cut out the lining pieces.

The jacket is strange in that it's very much like a riding habit/man's waistcoat. I tried to do some research online and only found Mara Riley's web page (a valuable resource for any Scottish representations) which told me who the lady in the painting was, the date and what I basically already knew.

SO. the basic construction of this jacket was as basic as making any other jacket. The bodice and skirts are cut together. There is are 2 front pieces, 2 side pieces and 2 back pieces for a total of 6 pieces. Of course you'll have to have these same pieces cut out of the linen and main fabric. The sleeves are cut slightly curved like in a man's frock coat - and in two pieces; The top and bottom. The cuff is exactly like that used on a riding habit and cut in two pieces as well.

I first sew the lining together minus the sleeves, and the same thing for the main fabric. When it came to the skirts, I made sure to stop sewing at the waist to leave the skirts free. I then pin the lining and main material together, matching the seams and pick stitch so the bodice isn't bulky and fits properly. After this I turned under the edges of both the neckline and around the skirts, pick stitching around them.

I like sleeves making sleeves for some random reason and take great pleasure in making them up. The sleeves in this one have a regular cuff like that on a riding habit, but with the German influence and like in the painting we're adding linen twill tape (black) around the cuffs and collar edge. I'm not 100% sure why they did this and it's the only one that I've come across with this decorative edging added. I have seen it used as hem savers on petticoats, but never on a jacket. Please remember if you're going to copy this jacket to mention is German influence and lack of documentation on it's historical accuracy in the twill detail.
I laid the twill tape on after the neckline and skirts had been pick stitched. I then used black cotton thread and pick stitched it on as well. The jacket in the photo looks like it's been modified to close with hook and eyes. I hate hook and eyes in the 18th century, it's just as easy to use pins only pins keeps things closed better, are a little more forgiving if you're going to lace your stays looser and very removable.

After the entire bodice was done I finished up the sleeves with the twill detail and then sewed the sleeves onto the body. In the 18th century sleeve edges were not finished. They were left hanging in the bodice. Finishing the edge would add extra bulk at an area where any woman could tell you - it's not comfortable to have!!

So, the jacket is finally finished!! I put it on my dress dummy as I was a little ahead of myself to take some photo's and send it to the customer. The dummy didn't have any stays etc on it so the back is pulling slightly in a way that would not happen when it was on the customer.

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