There is an ensemble it seems all lady costumers smitten with the 18th c truly covet. It is a work of art in textile, construction, and design, and also an enigma. It taunts us from the pages of both the Big and Lil’ Kyoto Costume Institute “FASHION” books, mocking us, saying “draft me if you dare, drape me if you can!” It has appeared in numerous period movies, each time reincarnated a little differently from the last, and yet this mysterious garment remains nebulous in description and form.
It is none other than the smokey aqua blue, delicately embroidered 1790 Jacket and Gilet, a fatally fabulous two-piece combination of late 18th century glory. Ladies, I have undertaken to pattern this beast, but not merely for my own amusement: I will be patterning and grading the jacket and gilet for small, medium, and large sizes, for both modern and costume wear, and with at least two options for the back of the jacket, as this seems to be a point of contention as to its actual make-up.
I have minor experience with grading, typically sizing up teeny-tiny vintage and historic patterns, but I welcome the practice in properly grading a pattern both up and down in size, and making each set a properly fitted garment, not just using the computer to scale the measurements. Understandably, this will take quite a long time, as the pattern sets must all be perfect, easily constructed, and understandable.
By the end of this project, I will have the 1790 Jacket and Gilet pattern completed, a costume sample as well as a modern wear one.
It all begins with a scrap of old muslin, however, and my dress forms. I will be recording my progress, trials, tribulations, pitfalls and epiphanies throughout this perilous quest, so be sure to check back in every now and then for highly dramatic tales of Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of THAT PATTERN!