The Beginnings of a Little Pierrot Jacket…Finally

This weekend I knuckled down, found some motivation, and did some honest-to-goodness historical sewing.

I’ve had this gorgeous Colonial Williamsburg print since 2012, but it’s taken me this long to make it into something. Always having had a pierrot jacket in mind, I intended to get it done for this year’s trip to Williamsburg, along with 923109210 other things, but it was not meant to be.
Well now’s a good time, right? On Saturday I washed and dried the fabric and lining, while working up a basic 2-piece bodice from the historical bodice sloper I toiled over several months ago.
On Sunday, I cut the pattern out in the cotton lining. Pinned together, it fit perfectly, so I stitched it together at the side and back seams, and began mounting the back of the pierrot in  pleats fanning from the waist. In hindsight, this wasn’t the most efficient use of the limited fabric I had, but it appears to be working out fine for yardage, and I’ll have enough to do the long sleeves I want, and create the self-trim ruffle on the bodice tail.
The pleated back – left is sewn down, right is draped and pinned.
There is quite a variation in pierrots, in the ways they transition into their tails particularly. Some have waist seams, and the skirting is attached separately. Some pleat into the tail, like I’ve done here. Some feature the back and cutaway front (“zone front”) all of a piece. I wanted to recreate the look of this back panel…
…but I didn’t quite realize the pleated back extended around to the front before I hacked off my excess fabric from the back, so I ended up with a side seam. I’m not bothered, but it’s something to remember for next time.
The bodice front, with the 2-part “zone” completed (but un-trimmed) on the right.
I made good progress, and everything is fitting nicely, so I hope to have this jacket done soon. Where to wear? No idea! Maybe the Bastille Day Picnic in July…


  • Unknown

    May 19, 2014 at 9:39 PM

    That's really beautiful. Do you have any blog posts showing how you drape the back when you're making 18th century clothing?

    Also, I was thinking of getting a mannequin like yours, after reading your post on how to customize it. Can you actually stick pins into it?

    • Lauren Stowell

      May 19, 2014 at 10:55 PM

      Hi Jennifer – The only other post I have showing draping a back like this is this one:

      Basically you have you lining pieces just as regular pattern pieces, and then on the dress form you start with the center back, then pleat and pin out to the sides, in any design you want. There are some gowns with a gazillion pleats in the back, and others with just a few. This is also the way to do en fourreau pleats, too.

      Yes, I can stick pins into my dress form. She's made out of foam, like that hard expanding foam stuff, so I can stick pins fully straight into it.

  • Siusaidh

    May 20, 2014 at 3:25 AM

    this looks amazing and would love to see the final piece. I am the Merchandise Buyer for CW that has the fabric reproduced so I am smiling as I see this.

  • Gina

    May 20, 2014 at 4:44 AM

    Argh!!! Why oh why was I not gifted with the talent of draping??? You do such a fabulous job of it and here again is another example!! Sigh…maybe some of that particular talent can rub off in me??!! It is simply divine!!

    • Lauren Stowell

      May 20, 2014 at 8:03 AM

      Gina, you can actually do this technique flat, no draping required. Essentially you're mounting the top fabric to the lining, so you just lay it over the lining piece, arrange the pleats as you like, and top-stitch them down. It only *looks* complicated 🙂

  • unicornemporium

    May 20, 2014 at 1:38 PM

    Looks fabulous! Love the fabric…did I, or did I not see that same fabric in "The Duchess" when she was handing the baby off to the Gray family? I am inspired to try draping, but have not attempted it yet. I'll have to add it to the ever expanding pile of projects 🙂 If I can just get a handle on my ADD, maybe I can finish something, LOL!

  • Sanna K

    May 21, 2014 at 7:06 AM

    I agree with Loren, it's going to be sooo cute! I should do more simple projects like jackets like this… Anyway, I'm glad you're back at making 18th century things again! It's ok to take a break whenever one doesn't feel like sewing, though… After all, sewing should be enjoyable 🙂

    • Lauren Stowell

      May 21, 2014 at 9:17 PM

      Thanks! Yeah, I think I'm getting back in the swing of things. I'm enjoying putting this jacket together – I'm doing it by hand, and it's really oddly relaxing.


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