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Regency-Inspired Jacket

Preface this by saying that this jacket was never going to be Regency-inspired. It started out as my “1840’s jacket mock-up” which also had a bit of eighteenth century mixed in. Crazy, I know.

Inspired by Angela Clayton’s instagram feed (an 1840’s riding habit she’d made), I fell in love with 1840’s sleeves. However, for my jacket, I also wanted to incorporate the long-over-the-hips shape of eighteenth century jackets. How did all that go? Keep reading. Hint: there’s a reason this project morphed into a third and totally different era.

Drafting the Pattern and Creating the Mock-Up

This jacket pattern started out as my tailored jacket block, traced off and made a little more fitted. I split the pattern into princess seams, and added Regency seam lines in the back.

Next, I struggled through my pattern-drafting book’s instructions on how to draft a collar and lapels. I then proceeded to add more historical “quirks”. Namely, the 1840’s puffed sleeves, and the eighteenth century length. In my mock-up I realized that the 1840’s sleeves did not go well with a hip length jacket, not to mention that they are really hard to execute properly when working from a self-drafted pattern. I decided to make the jacket waist length and have “normal” puff sleeves.

Losing Said Pattern, Re-Drafting, and then Cutting Out

About a month later, when I’d sufficiently overcome my dread of this project, I prepared to cut out my fabric. There was only one problem. My pattern, no doubt fallen into the hands of one of my boys, had disappeared.

After giving up all hope of finding the original, I recreated the pattern by tracing off my jacket block, redoing the princess seams, and tracing the collar and lapel shapes from my mock-up. Whew! I also cut out my hair canvas interfacing, and an interlining of silk organza.

Flat-Felled Seams, Interlining, and Pad Stitching

This jacket came together surprisingly quickly. I used mostly flat-felled seams, which were able to be hand stitched to the inner layer of silk organza and thus invisible from the outside. This was my first time working with an interlining and next time I would use wider seams

allowances just for that inner layer, because in some of the seams there wasn’t enough silk organza to be neatly flat-felled.

The pad stitching was agonizingly difficult at first. Learning to pad-stitch is like learning how to drive: there are several different things your mind and fingers must simultaneously accomplish. Oftentimes I would stitch a couple rows, bending my fabric into shape as I went, only to discover I’d been bending it in the opposite direction to what I should have been! What can I say? Collars really confusing.

Final Thoughts

So, why did this end up being called a Regency inspired jacket? In the end it really ended up looking more like a Regency jacket than any other era, and the back princess seams were directly inspired by Regency seam lines.

What could be improved on a next, similar project?

Due to my inexperience working with interlining, as well as simple laziness, there are some awkward creases and bubbling of fabric at the back princess seams. I explain more about that in my video.

In terms of drafting, next time i would have the sleeves be more fitted past the elbow. Also along those lines, now that I have some lapel and collar drafting experience under my belt, next time I would try to create more of a historical shape for those areas.

What About You?

Have you ever started a sewing project thinking it would look one way, and it ended up being completely different?

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