Wednesday, 14 August 2013

The KCI Drawstring Jacket is Done!

It's finally finished!
Here it is.

Here is the original. (source)
Overall, I think it's pretty close.

Here is the rest of the construction.
The cuffs on the original are very odd. They have one button and then there is an open slit. Since I had already changed the belt design, I made my cuffs button closed, like on this jacket.

I covered 8 wooden buttons in silk. Some of the buttons had to be carved away and sanded down a little because they weren't all the same size.
They are covered with a big circle of silk, and a very small circle to help cover the holes.
I put 4 buttonholes on each of the cuffs. I had brought tailors chalk, but couldn't find it, so I marked the holes with a fine tipped pen. It turned out to be much more precise than chalk.
The first buttonhole being finished. These are the best buttonholes I have made so far.
I sewed the buttons to the little flap on the inside of the cuff.

There are white ruffles on the cuffs  of the original. You can't see them in the picture I posted but they are there. I made mine out of one of the selvages leftover from the thing that I must now call a buffon.
The ruffle, attached to the inside of the cuff.
I cut two rectangles from it, hemmed them on three sides, then pleated and stitched them to the inside of the cuff. I kept my stitching sort of large and tied off the thread onto another piece of thread rather than tying it to the fabric.
This will make the ruffles easier to remove for cleaning. My ruffles came out a bit longer than the ones in the book. I must measure more carefully next time.
The finished cuffs. The buttons make me happy.
I whip-stitched the left side of the gathered front panel to the bodice.
The other edge is fastened with 14 hook and bar closures. Hooks and eyes would have been unnecessarily wide.
The finished jacket on the porch. I need to correct the angle of the upper edge on the gathered panel.

A closeup of the bars that the hooks hook on to.
The belt is made of a layer of silk and a layer of linen. I just ironed the edges in and sewed them down. It's a thick piece of linen but the belt still wrinkles a bit. It is stab-stitched to the bodice on the left side and attaches with 4 hooks and bars on the right side.
The right end of the belt.
The ruched trim was very easy. I cut two 23"x3.5" rectangles, sewed them together, and pressed the edges in. I gathered the sides up with a running stitch.
Trim being scrunched up.
I pinned them around the neckline, matching the join in the trim to the centre back seam.
I sewed it on with a stab-stitch on the inside edge and a backstitch on the outer edge.
This seems to have fixed the problem of the back edge of the neckline being pulled outward.
I love ruching. I'm not quite sure how it's pronounced though.
And then it was done!
I am not properly dressed in these pictures because we are still at the cottage and I only packed the necessary undergarments. When I get back home I will take properly accessorized pictures.
Update: Here they are.
I also promise to take good pictures of all the pattern pieces, many of which have been edited during the construction of this jacket.
From the front
I'm not sure if I have mentioned it yet, but this is the first jacket I have ever made. Not just my first historical jacket, but my first real garment with sleeves that isn't a shirt or shift. So even though it has problems, I am very, very happy to have made something wearable.
I think that a lot of the problems can be blamed on the fabric, which is so thin it's almost sheer.
From the side.
I am thrilled with how well the sleeves turned out. I had to mock these monsters up at least 6 times but they fit! They are quite snug, but still give me a decent range of motion. My one complaint with the sleeves is that the linen lining is a bit scratchy.
From the back.
The tail is a little bit too long. I will have to shorten the pattern pieces by a few centimetres.
This jacket has such a ridiculously tiny tail. I have never seen one remotely close to this size on any other 18th century jacket.
I love the cuffs.

The Challenge: #16, Separates
Fabric: Flea-coloured silk fabric that I don't know the name of. It is thin, crispy, and somewhat slubby. Plain white linen for the bodice lining. Thin, stiff brown linen for the sleeve linings and the back of the gathered panel. One small piece of thick brown linen for the back of the belt. Thin, gauzy cotton for the cuff ruffles.
Pattern:  Drafted by me
Year: c. 1790
Notions: 2 thin black zip ties, 18" of cotton bias tape, 180 cm of seam binding, 138 cm of lacing, 8 wooden buttons, 18 hook & bar closures, thread.
How historically accurate is it? Not too bad. The look is accurate. Some of the materials are accurate, but a lot of them are not. The construction is at least partly accurate, but it's hard to tell with such an unusual style of jacket.
Hours to complete: 114 hours and 7 minutes. Patterning not included.
First worn: August 13th, 2013 (I tried it on lots of times before that to make sure it fit.)
Total cost: $0. Everything was from the stash.
I fully intend to make this pattern up again as soon as I get my hands on some pink taffeta. When that happens I will try to copy the look of the original as closely as possible.
This is the side where the fastenings are. They are nicely inconspicuous from a distance. 


  1. AAAH! This is AWESOME! Thank you for showing your construction all the way through. I'm just patterning out some sleeves with button cuffs, and your photos have helped me to see that I did them wrong. A picture is worth a thousand words :-).

    Excellent job, and congratulations on being one of the first to make this jacket (that I know of, at least)

    1. Thank you!
      It's great to hear that my cuff pictures were helpful! I considered adding the button flap to the sleeve pattern piece, but that part of the sleeve was on the bias and I decided that sewing on a separate flap would be sturdier.

  2. Hi! I just recently came across your blog and I'm very impressed by your work.

    You've done an absolutely gorgeous job reproducing the jacket. Thank you for sharing all your construction details. I really enjoyed reading about it.

    1. Thank you!
      It's good to know that people like reading about construction details. I sometimes wonder if I'm being too nitpicky and boring.

  3. Wow!!! Great job! I do think that it looks very much like the original, and that's going to be amazing if you make it up in pink!

  4. This turned out SO GREAT! Thank-you for sharing so much wonderful info about your project too. This is such a fun style, and it's great to see how it was made up.

  5. Brilliant job, especially considering that you didn't even get to examine the original!

    1. Thank you!
      The KCI does like to make things difficult to copy, they never show enough pictures.

  6. Stunning work! Just amazing and I love all your detail and seeing it is so cool. The close ups of the button holes and the internal structure are so neat to see in close detail :)

  7. I've come to this very late, so have just read all the posts in one go. Please keep the construction details in future posts; it's always fascinating to hear about problems found, and how they are overcome.

    The jacket is amazing!

    1. Thank you!
      I will most definitely keep showing the construction details. I love posting about how garments are put together so it's great to hear that people like reading about it.

  8. Gracious, just found your blog and am so impressed, especially since you haven't made many historical items thus far. Excellent work, and the wry wit apparent in your descriptions and comments is great fun. Looking forward to your next projects!

    Very best,

    1. Thank you!
      I'm not quite sure what you mean by wry wit though. I hardly ever try to be funny, yet it seems that people often find the things I say amusing.
      I am, for the most part, puzzled by this. I simply describe and explain things in the way that makes the most sense to me. I don't mind it if people find it funny, I just don't know why they do.
      I think it's probably an Aspergers thing.