Friday, January 22, 2021

An 18thc hooded jacket

 Aha, I am back after the holidays! Frustratingly, I have been dealing with a lot of joint pain, mostly in my hands, since March of 2020, and it comes and goes, but I think the cold weather has really slowed me down. Lots of visits to the rheumatologist with no clear answers other than 'maybe RA' and definitely mild carpal tunnel after a very expensive nerve study, so I need to be more diligent about wearing braces, resting adequately, and learning better hand and arm stretches.

But I really enjoyed making this quick and easy (mostly) hooded jacket out of pre-quilted silk! 

I started this with a couple of inspirations in mind -- one from a portrait, one from an extant, and something sort of in-between happened! 

Here's the portrait I really liked, "Baroness Magdalene Charlotte Hedevig Løvenskiold, nee Numsen" by Jens Juel, 1772. I definitely borrowed her blue bow, plain stomacher, and the sleeves that end right at the elbow with trim before the lower sleeves are added.



The extant that I loved is at The Met, and is not hooded, but is quilted! It's just labeled "Ensemble" from 1760ish.

Because I didn't want the hassle of constructing a full button-front waistcoat, I decided against doing a true Brunswick jacket. Often those are a bit longer, have more details, and usually have longer sleeve ruffles which I struggled to envision working in quilted fabric. But there are so many portraits with stomacher-front hooded jackets that I felt that was a better fit for my medium this time! 

It actually turned out to be super simple to take the longest jacket from the trusty J.P. Ryan "jack-pack" (as I like to call that delightfully useful pattern set) and attach the pleated hood from the cape in the book "Fitting and Proper" by Sharon Burnston.

To me, the silhouette is quite pleasing, and it went together extremely quickly!

I loved how the fan pleats in the hood turned can see what body this fabric has to it because it turned out I didn't even need my styrofoam head to keep it up, haha!

And it's hard to see here but I just mirrored the same hood pattern for the lining, only in a rose-gold dupioni I had lying around. Dupioni is too slubby to be accurate for the 18thc, but as I machined most of the gown's unseen seams to save my poor hands, and the silk itself is clearly machine-quilted, it seemed ridiculous to then obsess over such niceties as a slightly-off silk weave for some hood lining. I wanted a color that would flatter my skin tone when the hood was actually up, too, and this was good stash-busting because I didn't know what else to do with dupioni.

The contrast of two golds is something kind of fun yet true to many 18thc ensembles in portraits.
 I can't remember now what went wrong with the sleeves that I discarded my first set, thank goodness I had lots of this quilted silk! But the discarded set actually turned out perfect to become the lower detachable sleeves of the jacket...I simply finished them off with a sheer white cotton ruffle and then basted them into the jacket at the elbow. 

The trim, on the other hand...ha. So here I was congratulating myself about how much time I'd saved by getting pre-quilted 100% silk. It was just $10 a yard when I bought it (FabricGuru has absolutely ludicrous deals sometimes, y'all, it just takes regular searching).  
But I somehow never stopped to think that if I wanted the pretty ruched or ruffled trim of both my inspiration portrait and the outfit at The Met, I might need a solid UNQUILTED silk. Good job, Anna. After trying swatches from various silk sellers like Renaissance and Silk Baron, I just couldn't get a good match in any taffetas out there; this is a true bright goldy gold.

So I had to start cutting strips and using a seam-ripper to UNPICK all the quilting for the trim. 

Anyway. Hours of unpicking later, I lucked out that with a little fingernail scratching and hot ironing, the holes from the machine quilting are unnoticeable, especially being gathered. But I don't have the trim done around the bottom of the jacket yet like I'd planned, nor any trim on the petticoat...I doubt I'll do a deep ruffle like The Met's petticoat, I have a hunch that the leftover unpicked diamond pattern holes on the fabric will probably be too obvious for that. But maybe a nice row of ruched or pleated trim will add just enough interest for my taste. Eventually, when I have more patience.

My lovely friend Emily (@historicthimble on Instagram) talked me into coming out of my hole for a socially distanced walk in historic downtown St. Charles; it was delightful! I had no idea how many beautiful old buildings still stood. And the fact that many of the Christmas decorations were still up just lent extra cheer to the outing.

Emily whipped up a red wool cloak to go with her beautiful Italian gown, and looked so charming next to all the red ribbons and greenery: 

(Such wealth, a pineapple!)

It was below freezing and I was SO grateful for being able to put some underlayers on beneath the quilted jacket! Actually at some points, we were both HOT in our respective outfits!

My fur muff was perfect for hiding my phone inside the whole time, lol! And much appreciated on the hands when the wind blew. It's made out of strips from a vintage stole I found at the thrift store.

I did NOT have a bum roll on and you can see how poofy the quilting makes this whole ensemble! The cap is made of silk gauze, also a recently finished project, from the J.P. Ryan Dormeuse pattern which you can find at Burnley & Trowbridge right now. I highly recommend it, I thought it was really easy and turned out a super cute cap. It'll look even better when I put some height in my hair! It's generally got more floof at the front around the face but I was having issues keeping it on with my slick hair so I pinned it in a couple of spots.

So that was my December make. On the first day of January I started a striped silk taffeta pet-en-l'air/short sacque, and it should be done by the end of this month! Here's a sneak peak of this gooorgeous striped blue and smoky cream silk I got from a remnant sale from Hallie Larkin (aka At the Sign of the Golden Scissors)!

Till next time!