{JennylaFleur: Dress Diaries}

late 1770s jacket

a jacket of the late 1770s

draped by me, based on my basic robe anglaise pattern & sleeves from a NSoCT pattern

linen, cotton (lining),
grosgrain ribbon, lace

My first long sleeved
18th century jacket and one
of my most favorite pieces.

Completed May 2006.





The Results:


September 2007
In Sperryville Virginia.






May 2007
Modeling at Belmont's Seurat Sunday.
More photos from this event can be found here.






September 2006
At the Lewis Store.






September 2006
At an RCHS event.






July 2006
At the Spotsylvania County 4th of July.






May 2006
At an RCHS tea.
More photos from this event can be found here.






The Dress Diary:

April 2006


Inspiration for this project has finally struck! When I made up my cream linen petticoat last July , I set aside the leftover fabric for a jacket. I can't believe it's taken me this long to decide what to make!

I'll be making a replica of the outfit above from from the Colonial Williamsburg collection. There are better pics in The Language of Clothing book as well. I'm (hopefully – not sure how much yardage this puppy will take!) making it out of that cream linen, leftover from my petticoat. I will trim it with white lace and black grosgrain ribbon. Eventually I want a big black hat à la Sarah Siddons to go with it but I don't know when I will get to that ...

April 24 2006

I put together the toile for my 1780s ruffly jacket today. At least the bodice anyway. I still need to attach the sleeves and then drape the skirt all of which I will do as soon as I post this note. I am going to try and get this made for an event on Sunday.

April 24 2006 | later that day

I need professional help I really do. Not that on my readers aren't already aware of that but I feel the need to express the thought. I set aside today to sew and what to I do? I spend the day spring cleaning my room, closet and hope chest. *sigh* It felt good to do all that tidying up but I should have been sewing all day!!

I started my sewing day this evening. *rolls eyes* I started out by trying on my ruffly jacket bodice and it looks perfect. I took my basic robe anglaise lining pattern and simply added some more seams in the back. Easy!

The long sleeves to go with it are turning out to be much more fiddly. I tried using my robe anglaise sleeves as a base but that definitely didn't work so I pulled out my Northern Society of Costume & Textiles pattern and will use the sleeves from that. I've enlarged them and am killing time here while it prints out.

Have I ever mentioned how much I hate sleeves? :P

April 29 2006


Ah yes, the ruffly jacket or return to the dratted sleeves. I cut out the pattern from the Northern Society of Costume & Textiles pattern jacket and basted them up a few days ago. They took a bit more fiddling than I expected. They had to be enlarged and lengthened both above and below the elbow (no surprise there) and the elbow to wrist required some shaping/fitting.

I finally got it looking pretty good (pics are of the finial toile #1 fitting this morning), except for the fact that the upper back wasn't large enough to fit my gown. You can see just how much I added to the top of the sleeve in the pics, the black horizontal marker line was the original top of the front piece. Weird, huh?

So I marked then took the sleeve apart & recut them - adding generously to the upper back (which is actually at the seam). I've tried the second sleeve on three times now. You know repining here, adjusting there. I have one small adjustment to make before I try it on for, hopefully, the last time. I took a break for lunch, which ended up being a late lunch and nap so I'm writing this before entering the fray again.

Obviously I won't be wearing this jacket to Belmont tomorrow, but I may have a chance to wear it Thursday (and of course UTR and Costume College ) so I'm hoping to get the toile finished today.

April 29 2006 | later that day


The final sleeve toile #2 fitting and the sleeve toile #3 fitting. There is still a bunchy fullness at the back of the sleeve that is bothering me but I think I can live with it at this point. There is always a certain amount of fullness there, even in period frocks. Besides I've had enough messing with it!


The toile as it is tonight. The peplum looks pretty good I think. I need to perfect the shaping (much easier when it's back to being a flat piece of fabric) and I might lengthen it an inch or so. I need to try it on with a petticoat – it's hard to determine proportions with pj pants on! I'll try it on again tomorrow, when I'll have everything on anyway.

I really shouldn't have stayed up so late finishing the toile, not with Belmont to get ready for in the morning but I didn't want to waste my momentum. This outfit is really coming along! Next up, I need to trace master patterns and see if I can actually fit everything onto my piece of fabric. *crossing fingers and toes*

May 1 2006


When I got home from Belmont yesterday I tried on my ruffly jacket toile, while I had all the petticoats and underwear on. I think the length is perfect and oh so cute! So that was easy.

Before I went to bed, I laid out the pieces on my fabric to see if it would fit. I didn't have much left but luckily it's 60" wide and I had a second piece left over from the width from the petticoat. After much fiddling and fussing I finally got everything to fit. As you can see I'll have to take about 5" of the fullness out of the peplum, but I gathered the pleats on the toile so really it should be fine.

Of course there is something missing from the picture, if you will notice. The ruffles for the peplum and bottom of the petticoat. There won't even be enough to piece a ruffle together for the peplum. I am bummed but I think I will go ahead without them. I really have my heart set on using this fabric for the ensemble and really shouldn't spend money anything else. I'll still have my lace and ribbon trimming, so I think that will be enough on the jacket. The petticoat will just have to stay plain.

Okay beloved pin posse ... what do you think. Should I save the creamy linen for a jacket I'll get to use more (in a style without peplum or long sleeves to save fabric for some form of ruffling) and try to get another fabric for the ruffled jacket ensemble or stick with what I've got (saving money for Costume College ) and just make the ruffled jacket sans ruffle? I can't figure out the poll thing so replying is fine!

May 6 2006

After a few days of waffling back and forth I finally cut out my ruffly jacket last night. I'm going to take Suzi's excellent advice and use a thin muslin (or voile or organdy or something) for the ruffle with the original creamy linen. After you made that suggestion I looked through my books and found a few examples and really liked the look of them. You are the best Suzi!

I didn't get much further with the project than that as I had to wash the cotton lining before I could cut it. It's now washed and dried so I'll start my morning by cutting that out. I've decided to use a purple lining, just for the fun of it. It won't ever be seen except perhaps a peek at my neckline.

Unless of course I line the peplum with it which I haven't decided on yet – what do you think? The peplum probably doesn't need a lining, it should be heavy enough on it's own. Would the purple be dashing or distracting to you think? I'm going for very stylish with this ensemble you know. I also wasn't going to line the sleeves (t keep those long sleeves as cool as possible in the summer) - should I line them so the lining shows a bit at the wrist?

May 6 2006 | later that day

Well I decided not to use the purple lining after all.

After looking at it I decided it changed the color of my fabric too much. Not a good thing, especially as I really didn't want to line the sleeves (for coolness). So I'm back to white cotton. I couldn't have figured this out before I went to the fabric store for white cotton of course (have to go back now for more) but at least I decided before I'd cut the purple.

I'm waiting for my cotton to dry (had to preshrink it) right now. Why is it on the days you set aside for sewing you never get much done? I'm more productive when I should really be doing something else!

May 8 2006

So ummm ... yeah. I've been working on my jacket for the past few days. *make mental note to actually update LJ while sewing* I finished putting the bodice together (except for the sleeve hems and hooks & eyes) last night. I've been working on the peplum today, admittedly not much. Been one of those days but hey - I caught up on my backlogged emails! A very good thing indeed.

I hand stitched the hem of the peplum and pleated half but when I tried it up against the bodice it doesn't come around far enough. This is the point at which taking out 3.25 inches (actually a total of 6.5") to fit the pattern pieces within my yardage is starting to hurt. *ouch*

So out those cute, small, full pleats go, in favor of more spaced pleats to fit the bodice correctly. May I just say scrimping fabric totally stinks? The good thing is my linen has some body to it so it shouldn't look too skimpy. I really should go work on the peplum right now but I'm feeling like just going to bed instead.

In fact I am going to bed instead. My all-day headache is a good enough excuse right? ...

May 15 2006

I'm off to Williamsburg to visit friends for a few days despite the fact I have tons of sewing to do for the RCHS tea on Saturday. I was going to make that red toile dress for that but decided against it. I will now be gone 3 days this week and still have the bed gown to make for B. So I'll be wearing my ruffled jacket. It's practically done – only handwork left so I'll take that down with me and work on it during our visit.

Hopefully that will be finished when we get back ... if not then I might be in trouble! Where has May gone to anyway!!

May 18 2006

I'm dreadfully behind with costumes for the tea on Saturday. I'm still sewing on trim and hooks on my jacket and haven't even started on B's bed gown. I feel another headache coming on too. I really don't have time for that you know. Wretched headaches!!

So back to the needle and thread I go ...

May 19 2006

Here is my jacket as is. I finished it last night. I have plans for more trimming but this is all that is getting done for Saturday. Oh well. I bought a black felt hat blank in Williamsburg (first time I'd seen them there!) but I won't have time to trim that either ...

May 20 2006

Pics from the tea today can now be found in the gallery above. It turned out to be a fun event. I really enjoyed having B there. Even though we didn't spend the whole time together (having different duties) it was fun to have her be a part of it.

My jacket turned out well I think. It definitely needs more trim but I was happy to be able to wear it today and still get a good night's sleep! The hat is my new felt hat from Williamsburg. I didn't have time to trim it properly so B and I just stuck some feathers and cockades on it. Worked pretty well ...

Oh yes, I wore a new bum roll today. It was my experimental stuffed stocking. I cut off one leg of a pair of tights, filled it with fiberfill and safety pinned it close with ribbons at each end. It worked pretty well, a bit slippery before I got my petticoats on but no one would guess it's not "correct". It will definitely work until I can get around to making a proper one in that style.

May 24 2006

Thanks to all for your kind comments on my attire this weekend. I'm so humbled by your praise - you guys are great! More pics of the event can now be found above.

May 24 2006 2006

I finished sewing the trim on my ruffled jacket. It is so cute! I just have the trim on the skirt to do now. I need to re-fit the bodice as well. I finally realized the other day why it was a little too big. I did all the fittings during that certain time of the month. You know when one doesn't want to lace the stays very tight? *sigh* I never even thought of it.

Unfortunately I have to take almost half the peplum off to access the side seam but I'll have to do it. I can't stand my 18th century bodices too big!

June 24


Oh yes and pics of the finished ruffled jacket. Don't mind the wrinkles, it needs to be pressed from where I was working on it. Still haven't gotten to the store for the ribbon for the skirt…

June 27 2006

I finished the trim on the ruffle jacket petticoat today as well so that outfit is finished. Well maybe. I can't decided if want to mess with the hat or not. I'm tempted to leave it, cunning plans or no, at least until last. Rounding out my Costume College wardrobe is would be good too.



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