Tuesday, 23 July 2013

Patterning the KCI Drawstring Jacket c. 1790

I didn't think much of this little pink jacket when I first saw it, probably because it was overshadowed by the awesomeness of the jacket and gilet on the opposite page, but it has really grown on me. I now think it's adorable.
Pink taffeta drawstring jacket c. 1790 (source)
It's in the book, but for some reason it isn't in their digital archives. For the separates challenge I am making a light brown version of this jacket.
This doesn't appear to be a common style. A Frolic Through Time has a wonderful 2 part article on 1790's fashion which includes a lot of gathered front garments, but they are all gowns.
I could only find two other images of a gathered front jacket. They appear to be two paintings of the same lady in the exact same outfit. Even the chair is the same, though the upholstery is a different colour. Oddly enough, this jacket is pink too.
"The joy of motherhood", 1796. Henri-Nicolas Van Gorp. (source)

"Nina Singing a Romance", Henri-Nicolas Van Gorp, (source)
 The belt and the construction of the front are different, and this one has a collar, but the overall effect is similar.
I started by making a toile from my 1790s stays pattern. I added width to the back, cut the tabs off and flared the side piece more instead of putting the godet in. I also added a bit to the straps and the top of the back.
 The sleeve is from a pattern I started working on a few months ago. It had been mocked up about 3 times before this and still didn't fit right. I tried the toile on and awkwardly marked very wobbly correction lines on with a sharpie. I then cut the toile up along different lines.
 I made another toile based on the corrected version of the first one. I included the belt and gathered front panel in this one. The top of the gathered panel was too straight, but it was getting closer to looking like the original.
I put a tail on this one, but it was too big and the zip ties made it sit strangely.
 Toile #3 was an altered version of the previous toile with yet another sleeve. I cut a shallow dip in the gathered panel and made it a little narrower.
Now it looks like the original. Yay!
It seems to fit well. I moved two of the seams afterward to make the back pieces a bit narrower, but I don't think that affected the fit. The sleeve still didn't fit so I made some changes and mocked it up for the 6th time. I think it fits now.
All the pattern pieces on the big table in the storage room.
I just noticed that the ends of the belt are wrong. The ends of the belt on the original are straight so I'll have to cut the slanted ends off mine.
The tail in the original appears to be two layers of fabric. It is rather thick and I can't see a narrow hem around it, so I am making my tail with two layers.
The pieces for the lining. The middle panel and the top piece are also going to be used for the outer fabric.
Here is a diagram of how the pieces go together. The tapeworm-like thing at the top is the ruched trim that goes around the neckline. The lining fastens in front with hidden lacing and the gathered panel attaches on one side with hooks and eyes.

I am leaving out the lacing on the front of the belt but keeping the rest of the design the same.
The top layer of the tail is cut in one piece with the centre back piece. The scratchy lines are to correct a drawing mistake.
Maybe it would be a better idea to write about those construction details after I've sewn them.

There doesn't seem to be a logical order to write about pattern pieces, so I'm sorry if this post is confusing or disjointed.


  1. I'm so excited that you are making this jacket - its a favorite of mine too! And thanks for showing the pics of your pattern pieces too. That's always so helpful!

    1. Thank you!
      I'm planning on drawing some better diagrams and scanning them. I think I might also shrink down the pieces on a grid and scan those, but it depends on how well the jacket ends up fitting.

  2. Oh heck yeah! I can't wait to see how this turns out. I've been intrigued by this one for years, and don't know of anybody who has made one yet. Bring it on! I want to see!

    1. Thank you! I'm incredibly surprised and excited to see that you have found my blog. Yours was the first costume blog I ever came across and is the reason I became obsessed with costuming in the first place, so, thank you!