1790s Jacket: A Bit O’ Progress

The bulk of the project mostly pinned together, to get an idea how it will all look when completed.

I started putting together this jacket last night, using a flatlining technique new to me. I thought it would be grand to interface (yes, I said interface) the thin cotton, to give it some thickness, but that turned out to be a mightily bad idea, and I ended up peeling it off the side back pieces (to make a looooong story very short).

Tonight I continued stitching together each piece, first machine stitching the outer fabric, then hand-stitching the lining down flat. It has created such a lovely, perfectly fitting lining, I could not be happier! I am also amazed at how close to done I am, using the flatlining-as-you-go method. Instead of making up the whole outer shell, then the lining, then sewing them together, it all goes together at once and then all of the sudden you’re at the bias taping step (for me, anyhow, who adores bias tape like it is my own child), and then done!

A fitting, pinned onto the stays, with the placket pinned over the top – no boning at this point.

Of course, it’s a totally different order of operations that I’m not used to, and I’ve had to really think through every step before jumping in. There is no cruise control on this project, though I expect this method will become second nature down the line, when I’ve worked with it more.

A view of the back, mocked up, for an idea how the collar will lay.

So, I stopped tonight with the body of the bodice together, awaiting some bones and eyelets to lace together to front. I stitched together one sleeve, which you see in the photo, not turned right-side-out, as it requires some seam finishing still.

I’ve chosen to use the “wrong” side of the cotton fashion fabric. The “right” side, as beautiful as it is, seemed too bright and saturate to emulate 18th c. vegetable dyes. The reverse side of the fabric shows the grain and is a lot less saturate, though it does give a greater casual appearance, more like seersucker. From a short distance, it is not noticeable at all.

This jacket should be done rather quickly, barring any major setbacks. It’s nice to have a short-term, “simple” project to occupy me and give me a break from the larger, scarier projects.


  • Angie

    July 29, 2009 at 7:35 AM

    I love flat lining. That's how we make stage costumes because it's easier to alter later! It really does take a little getting used to, but once you have it…it's second nature.

  • The Dreamstress

    July 29, 2009 at 9:37 AM

    Fantastic! I love it! I was going to suggest using the 'wrong' side of the fabric, but it looks like you are way ahead of me there!

  • Lauren R

    July 31, 2009 at 5:46 PM

    Angie, I'm really loving flat-lining too, though I think next time I will work with a stiffer lining material like linen, instead of really soft cotton.

    Leimomi – we're thinkin' the same 🙂


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