Sunday, September 30, 2012

The Ubiquitous Williamsburg Jacket, Worn Two Ways

The jacket at Williamsburg.

This was a rather unexpected project, made with fabric bought for something else that it wouldn't work for. I realized I had no normallish 18c clothes--just the chemise dress and a court dress at the time, I think it was. Well, excepting earlier things that didn't seem quite right anymore!

In the above picture I'm wearing them with my hand knit cotton stockings. I used pearl cotton (not exactly period, but, well, compromise was in order because at least when I made them, there didn't seem to be an exact match. The pearl cotton was at least the right size and fiber!) and size 0000 needles on them. They were so fun to make. Of course, the Under the Redcoat after this I helped with ice cream making where they got so drenched with saltwater that I could barely get them off (my dress hem turned as stiff as cardboard too) and I've been afraid to put them back on since...

The shoes are my Burnley and Trowbridge mules. I love those shoes, and generally carry them in my gigantic 18c pockets in case I need to switch to more comfortable shoes :)

But back to the dress!

The jacket at Williamsburg. Construction

The pattern is the jacket form Costume Close-Up that everyone has made. And why not? It's a super cute jacket! The construction follows the first one I made from this pattern (seen here, please, please, please ignore the petticoat, stomacher and ribbon! I wish I had more fabric so I could make a matching stomacher, as I still do like the jacket). For the second jacket, I didn't even test to see if the pattern still fit. Fortunately, except for taking about 2 inches out of the shoulders (really?), it fit!

The picture on the right shows the only updated construction information. Many 18c techniques have the fabric and lining sewn together at the seams and then turned in at the edges--but how does that work if the seams are sewn together? Easy--for the last inch or so, sew them separately. I guessed this when I made my first jacket, but didn't include it online as I had no proof. Since then I was lucky enough to win a 1790s jacket (for about $30!!!) on eBay. And since it was missing a sleeve, I was able to see that this technique was correct. Hooray!

I have very few pictures of this at Williamsburg this year. Why? It was too hot to take pictures. 113F with about 95% humidity. Fun, that...

The Jacket at Williamsburg

And this picture makes laugh--it's so typical of an event. The computer is out to share pictures, a frappuccino, as I am addicted during the summer, cell phone (my tiny cute one of a few years ago) to text and coordinate with all everyone there, a camera next to me, and a picture being taken of me with my other camera. Also, my amusement of newly pink stocking feet :)

The jacket at Costume Con. The jacket at Costume Con.

I also wore the jacket to Costume Con in 2009 with a matching petticoat. The petticoat was too narrow, about 90 inches, I think? I think I only had about 3 yards of 45 inch fabric, so I disguised that with an apron. Also, my hair really, really doesn't like to tease in humid weather. Well, it doesn't like to tease at all, but humidity makes it worse. It rained heavily and constantly for the entire convention!

The jacket at Costume Con.

I wore it over a bumroll, which I didn't at Williamsburg. I wish I had another back picture to compare!


  1. Very nice! I'm filing this for a possible doll dress. Since I'm no longer a re-enactor, I've been making miniatures (1/3 size) of 18th century clothing. I'd like to thank you for the post showing how to pleat a court dress petticoat on a pannier. It worked perfectly!

  2. Lovely! I have some of that fabric, but haven't cut into it yet. While your petticoat is a bit narrower than usual, I think that because you're on the smaller side it works out proportionally.

  3. I am enjoying following your blog. Your dresses are AMAZING. the details are beautiful. And thank you for introducing me to Poiret, a very interesting designer. I started following your blog when I entered a project runway type contest called Project Reveal. this year's theme is Thomas Jefferson. As i searched through looking at 18th century costume I found your blog.. I have been enjoying all your dresses and other wearables. I am making a modern take on a men's riding jacket, with an embroidered corset and a poiret type skirt. YeS I know the eras are all mixed up, but it is a fun runway show. I am not a costumer, just someone who sews for myself and my daughter, but love living vicariously through you. Also thank you for American Duchess info. I ordered the 17th century shoes and LOVE them. What fun. I have been looking for shoes like that since my wedding 16 years ago. That heel is no longer available, but American Duchess brought it back and I love them.


  4. I love the picture of you pointing to your stocking! That is such a typical "Katherine" shot. ;)

  5. Your jacket is lovely! I particularly enjoy it with the the red petticoat. It really pops!