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Making a "Modern" 18th Century Jacket | Part 2

Updated: Nov 2, 2021

18th century jacket sewing project
Jacket basted and partly constructed

Fabric Choice

Orange has never been “my” colour. However, when inspiration struck to make an 18th century jacket, I was drawn to make it in a nice deep orange. When my fabric arrived in the mail, it was a much lighter orange than I’d anticipated, and I spent many a minute draping this fabric over myself in front of a mirror, wondering what on earth I’d been thinking. I came very close to making this jacket in another colour of linen I’d also ordered, a nice black and white. But now that the jacket is done, I’m so glad I took the leap of faith and used the orange. It is beautiful and perfect for Autumn.

18th century jacket pattern
Pattern Pieces all cut out

Cutting Out, Basting, and a “Whoops!”

I cut out my pattern pieces using my altered pattern from Part 1. My intention was to cut out two layers of the jacket, all out of the same orange linen, in order to create the lining. I messed this up a bit though. More on that later.

The interfacing was cut out according to the pattern directions. It called for the centre-front opening area of the jacket to be interfaced, as well as the sleeve cuffs and the entire peplum. I used a mixture of cotton muslin and hair canvas because that’s what I had on hand. Next, I hand basted the pieces of interfacing onto the lining pieces of the jacket. I used a running stitch around the edges, and a herribone stitch in areas where the stitches would show.

18th century jacket sewing
Basting in the interfacing

At this point I realized a pretty major mistake: I’d only cut out one layer of front bodice pieces, and I didn’t have enough fabric to cut more. Thankfully, I found a nice cotton floral fabric in a bin of fabric my Nana had given me. Its colours tied in nicely to the orange. Whew!

Sewing the Jacket

I began by sewing all the preliminary seams, like the shoulder, sleeve, and side seams. I sewed the outer jacket and the lining completely separately at this point. I made two mistakes at this stage:

  1. Sewing the peplum closed all the way around (It should have been open at centre-front).

  2. I attempted to sew both sides of the winged cuff closed and turn it through a small open gap. It is a circular tube, so this did not work and I had to pick out one seam and sew it closed by hand later.

18th century jacket sewing vintage
Sewing the preliminary seams

More on the winged cuffs: I’d had no idea how these were supposed to be sewn and attached to the sleeves. After perusing Google images, I opted to completely finish the cuffs and sleeves separately, and then simply hand sew the cuff over the finished sleeve at the end of the project.

The lining was sewed separately from the bodice, then attached to the main bodice around the neckline, and around the circumference of the peplum. After turning and pressing, I hand-stitched in the ditch of all the seams to hold the lining to the outer jacket. I lined the sleeves and peplum separately from the bodice, and added them later.

Finishing, and a Winged Cuff Dilemma

This jacket required a lot of hand finishing. There were the inner sleeve and peplum-waist seams to be sewn down, hiding the seam allowances. There were also the pocket flaps to be sewn on the peplum.

18th century jacket sewing project
The altered peplum

Despite the alteration made to the peplum in Part 1, the peplum still came to two peaks near the centre-back. The bottom edge had already been finished, but the uneven length looked atrocious. Sadly, the only way to correct this was to cut off the extra length, then fold in the edges and hand stitch closed. A lot of work, but necessary. It looked so much better afterwards. I tacked down some of the peplum pleats as the pattern directed, which reduced the excessive volume.

Finally, I hand stitched a row of hook and eyes down centre-front.

18th century jacket sewing
Hook and eyes and winged cuffs

I had a dilemma: to “winged cuff”, or not to “winged cuff”. I was afraid the cuffs looked excessively “historical” and I was planning on wearing this jacket in my daily life. I decided to add them in the end, and I am so glad I did! They really complete the overall silhouette of the jacket. Especially with having a pregnant belly, they help bring visual balance to my sides and back.

Let me know what you think! Leave your comments and questions below.

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