Something New In The Works

Lately I’ve been tuning up my tailoring skills and learning some new ones while making this circa 1899 jacket. Because we’re located in Southern California, I decided to make this as more of a light jacket-bodice than a full-on jacket. The work on this has been painstaking and I’ve been at it since mid-November. This will eventually be part of an 1890s walking suit. Here’s a few progress pictures: 🙂

Close-up of the lapels.

Rear view- the seam lines are extremely curves per the style of the time.

Here’s some construction detail pictures. The marking and preparation work took as long, if not longer, than the construction. 🙂

Interior of the back bodice. The pieces were individually flat-lined and yes, some didn’t come out as even as I would have liked due to shrinkage and miscalculation on my part. However, the edges will be covered.

Interior of front and side front pieces. The front pieces have been lined with a “canvas” of muslin with hair canvas on the lapels.

Finished front piece with pad stitched lapel.

Pad stitching the hymo lapel pieces.

Laying in the canvas and hymo.


Trending for December 1890- Outerwear

Even in Southern California (and Southern Arizona, for that matter), December can get cold and when it does, our thoughts rapidly turn to outerwear.  🙂 Today we turn to the December 1890 issue of Demorest’s Family Magazine:

Decidedly the most popular outdoor garment this season is the jacket, which is worn by ladies of all ages, whether of petite or portly figure. All styles agree in having the fitted back, differing only in the use or omission of plaits or lap at the side-form and back seams, and the majority have tight-fitting fronts, either single or double-breasted, the loose fronted “Reefer,” and the open, rolling fronts displaying a vest, being the exceptions.

Here’s some examples of styles pictured in Demorest’s:

One of the more interesting and eminently practical is the “Reefer” Jacket:

Here’s another view of the jacket style as part of a complete outfit from the December issue of Peterson’s Magazine:

Finally, just to round things off here are some pictures of extant originals:

Jacket, c. 1891; Auction in

Skirt Suit Jacket, c. 1895; Victoria & Albert Museum (T.173&A-1969)

Afternoon Jacket, Emile Pingat, c. 1885 – 1890; Metropolitan Museum of Art (2009.300.76)

Jackets were an integral part of any wardrobe of the period, ranging from the purely functional to the extremely fashionable, and there’s a wide range of possibilities for those recreating historical fashions.

And For The Winter Season From Maison Worth

Norbert Goeneutte, “The Boulevard de Clichy under Snow 1876”

Winter is here and with it, outerwear takes on a whole new importance. Here’s one spectacular design from Maison Worth from the late 1890s to help keep the winter cold at bay… 🙂

Worth, Evening Mantle, c. Late 1890s; Metropolitan Museum of Art (C.I.51.69.2)

This mantle/coat is a stunner with silk velvet (most likely) floral pattern fashion fabric combined with sleeves lined with black silk velvet and collar and upper capelet also of the same black silk velvet. As a counterpoint, the facings are a cream/ivory colored silk satin edged in lace filigree. Finally, trimming the neck are cream/ivory feathers. Below is a close-up of the upper front:

Close-Up of Front

Side Profile

The sides and back really show off the floral pattern fashion fabric nicely.

And below is a close-up of the fashion fabric:

Close-up of fashion fabric.

From the above photo, it appears that the fashion fabric’s floral pattern is either created from burned out velvet or the black floral elements are velvet appliques. It’s hard to tell without examining it in person. And finally, we have the characteristic Maison Worth label:


As with many of Maison Worth’s creations that we’ve viewed online, mere photos don’t tell the whole story and it’s too bad that we aren’t able to view this coat in person because we’re sure it would have a lot more to tell. But in spite of this, it’s still a marvelous example of the designs that Maison Worth produced during the 1880s and 90s. 🙂


And We’re Moving Towards Winter (Slowly)

It’s actually a little cold here in Southern California so we immediately thought of coats so here’s an evening coat from Maison Worth, circa 1902:

Maison Worth, Evening Coat; Metropolitan Museum of Art (2009.300.308)

This coat is constructed from a silk brocade with a large floral design and trimmed along the front opening edges and cuffs with an ivory lace. The collar is in the Medici style and also trimmed in ivory lace with two large ivory-colored tulle bows. Finally, the sleeves are wide Mandarin sleeves. It’s interesting to note that the floral pattern has been matched so it’s symmetrical on the front and matches perfectly in the back, as can been seen in the picture below:

And for a view of a live model wearing the coat:

One thing that we found striking is that on initial viewing, it appears to be more of a tea gown with it’s lace and tulle trimming than a coat. It’s an interesting style effect giving both the appearance of something worn only at home while at the same time something that could be worn to a formal public event. This is a garment that we would love to be able examine in person. 🙂 This is definitely something we would love to recreate and it could even be worn today.

And Something For Fall From Maison Worth

To us, one of our most favorite things about Fall is going out to plays, concerts, and the like. Unfortunately, recent events have eliminated this option but we can still dream and to celebrate Fall, we decided to feature this circa circa 1900 evening coat from Maison Worth:

Worth, Evening Coat, c. 1900; Metropolitan Museum of Art (2009.300.94)

Unfortunately, details as to specific fabrics was not readily available but we believe it’s safe to say that the sleeves and upper part of this coat are constructed from a silk velvet. As for the main body of the coat, it’s hard to say without viewing it in person. But nevertheless, the Tudor-inspired black floral pattern provides an interesting counterpoint to the black velvet. The flat floral design motif has a very contemporary feel and while it’s a clean design, it’s still complex at the same time. It definitely catches the eye. Here’s a close-up of the coat (unfortunately the resolution of the available pictures from the MET Museum website are not the best):

Below is a close-up of the floral design. It’s hard to tell whether it was printed or a brocade but knowing Maison Worth, we suspect the latter. 🙂

This is a fascinating coat and bears further examination, especially in how the floral decorated portions integrate with the black velvet portions. We’re sure that the answer is a simple one but unfortunately, the lack of high resolution pictures hampers this.1We really wish that the MET would revised their picture policies. But, nevertheless, we’re still left with a nice Fall feeling and that’s what counts! 🙂