At The Atelier- Design Creation, Part 6

In out last post, we assembled the pieces for both the exterior fashion layer and the interior lining/facing layers for the Eton jacket.

In full disclosure, we’d like to say that this project has been an interesting learning experience in that it’s demonstrated to us that there is a lot more involved to drafting a pattern than simply drawing lines on paper following some formula, cutting out the pieces, and putting it together. A lot more. The one thing that nobody really ever discussed in pattern drafting and overall development is that once a pattern is constructed and tested out with one or more toilles, there’s still the matter of working out just how exactly the garment is going to be constructed. Of course, it’s assumed that one just knows all the relevant techniques and that bears little or nor discussion but the reality is with historical garments, there’s a lot that’s become obscure or even lost over the years. Fortunately, there are a number of references out there so it’s not an impossible task but it’s one that’s going require a lot of practice and work to master. So with that said, let’s proceed to the next steps…🙂


We now arrive at one of the most crucial stages- assembling the jacket body.

A lot more pressing is in order but overall we’re pleased with how it came together.

And now onto constructing the cuffs:

The decision to utilize turn-back cuffs was purely an aesthetic one and we could have just as easily used a number of different styles… 🙂 Here’s  the  cuffs pinned to the sleeves:

 

And voila, sleeves!

And finally, the sleeves are attached and set in the proper position. All that remains is some final touch-ups.

(To be continued…)



And Now For A Little Marabou Trim

I‘m finally getting around to adding the final trim to this 1890s capelet I started last Fall. It’s marabou feather trim and it’s a time-consuming process of hand-stitching it on. My fingers will never be the same… 😉



Outerwear Style c. 1870

Today we feature an interesting circa 1870 visite from the Musée des Arts Décoratifs:

Visite, c. 1870; Musee de Arts Decoratifs (Inv. 49228), © MAD, Paris / photo : Jean Tholance

This visite is constructed from a combination of a silk jacquard in green, red, black, and gold and a what appears to be a black silk velvet with a raised floral design- it’s very hard to make out from the pictures. The multi-color jacquard runs along the front and it used in the sleeves and lower back; again, it’s difficult to make out the precise construction. Finally, the edges are trimmed with gold knot-work fringe. In many respects, this style is very reminiscent of 1860s mantles.

Below is a close-up of the sleeve:

In the above picture, one can see the elaborate silk jacquard pattern that’s very reminiscent of a tapestry and edged with knot-work fringe. Overall, the combination of a multicolor jacquard combined with black creates a very dramatic style effect and especially when it comes to the front and sleeves. It’s too bad that there are no pictures detailing the construction and especially on the back where the jacquard and the black velvet meet. This is an excellent example of early 1870s outerwear style and definitely would be a good candidate for recreating.



At The Atelier- Design Creation, Part 5

In out last post, we completed construction on the canvases for the two front pieces of the Eton jacket and now it’s time to move on to completing the rest of it. As noted previously, this jacket pattern is one that we drafted utilizing a pattern drafting system developed by Charles Hecklinger in The Keystone Jacket and Dress Cutter.  So let’s move on…🙂


Turning to the sleeves, we note that these sleeves have near-90 degree elbow bends and curves which present some challenges for sewing. We found the most practical method to be to first sew and finish the inside seams first. Next, the outer seams are sewn up. We must emphasize that these require a high degree of clipping along the seam allowances and ironing in order to maintain smooth lines and preserve the shape. It’s a definitely more complicated than conventional straight sleeves.

And now, time to put together the lining:

We  decided  to use a moiré for the lining…

Above is the assembled back and side pieces…then the two fronts which combine the lining and facing fabrics:

And finally, assembling the outer layer:

And here’s the lining all assembled:

And finally the outer body:

We’re happy to say that all the pattern pieces fit together very nicely and only a minimum of adjustments were needed. It’s hanging very nicely on the mannequin and we look forward to finally putting the main body together. 🙂

(To be continued…)



Going Out- Opera Capes

Going to the opera, or any formal occasion, required the right outerwear and especially in colder weather. Outerwear during the late 19th Century could range from short capelets all the day to full-on coats and naturally, each couturier had ideas on outerwear styles. Here’s just one style, in this case a circa 1890 opera case that was made by Jacques Doucet:

Doucet, Opera Cape, c. 1890; Metropolitan Museum of Art (1995.177.2)

This cape is constructed from a gold silk floral patterned brocade and trimmed along the collar and shoulders with fur. The capelet and lining appear to be be a yellow/gold silk, probably a satin but it’s hard to tell from the picture- unfortunately, there are no further details on the construction or materials used.

Now, although couturiers often convinced their clients that garments were custom designs made just for them, this wasn’t always the case as with this second opera cape that was also made by Doucet about the same time:

Doucet, Opera Case, c. 1900s; Whitaker Auctions

Unfortunately, no other photos are available but it’s safe to say that it appears to have been constructed of a copper and black silk brocade with a floral paisley-like pattern motif. The collar and shoulders are also trimmed in fur and the top capelet is in a gray/lavender silk satin- it’s probably the same as the lining if the first example is any guide. The above two capes are an interesting style and definitely worthy of reconstruction. 🙂