1785 Williamsburg Chintz Pierrot – Progress at Last!

I’ve been so diligently digging into the UFO pile, finishing things left and right, so I decided to pick up this little chintz jacket I started ages ago.

Here’s the photo from last year – you can see the sleeve is pulling the shoulder and back in a funny way.

I had run into a problem with the sleeves (as usual). The sleeve heads were too shallow, so I removed the one sleeve I had set, and pattern-matched some extensions onto the tops of both sleeves.

I re-fit the sleeves over my dress form’s shoulders, using the 18th century method, which is usually a good indication that they’ll fit me. They’re a little fuller than I would like, but I value mobility, so I’ll just live with the slight easing gathers that remain over the top of the shoulder.

I don’t have too far left to go on this jacket. I need to finish up the right sleeve’s shoulder strap, then hem and trim the back skirt with *ruffles!* The ruffles will take a little time, but they’re the big “huzzah” of the jacket, so it’ll be worth it.

Looking back, I don’t know why I did this jacket zone-front. I can’t remember if I intended to add trim there or what, but the busy pattern in the fabric didn’t really work with this design. Same for the crazy pleated back – these details would have been much more striking on a solid color.

Learning experience. 🙂


  • Bianca Esposito

    March 23, 2015 at 5:22 PM

    I know you said you don't know why you bothered with the zone front and the back pleats, but let me just say both are gorgeous! The last photo of those back pleats looks like a close up of a museum piece, those style lines are swoon-worthy. Every time I see a costume made in this fabric I want to buy a few yards, this has been no exception!

    • Lauren Stowell

      March 23, 2015 at 5:50 PM

      Thank you so much! I really love the fabric and it was surprisingly affordable – $12/yard, and I got two yards, which was plenty to make this jacket, even with the crazy back pleats. I highly recommend the fabric, and CW also has quite a few news cottons prints too.

  • C

    March 23, 2015 at 8:49 PM

    I love that print! I do see what you mean about a solid showing off the details better, but the lines of the pleats are gorgeous anyway!

    And sleeves are so weird. :/ I just draped my first pattern and the sleeves took as long as the rest of the dress, at least!

  • Esther

    March 24, 2015 at 1:28 AM

    Too gorgeous!! You did an amazing job. I think the pleats are perfect in this fabric – they show just right!
    Thanks for the colonial-sewing inspiration! I have my long-awaited corset pattern, I've even got my gorgeous Georgianas – I just need to get going and sew colonial garments!
    Soon, I promise. 😉

  • AuntieNan

    March 24, 2015 at 1:08 PM

    Wow, Lauren, this is just gorgeous. Those back pleats!!! Back in the late 1980s-90s I had a Ralph Lauren pattern with the back of the jacket that was shaped very much like that. It was so flattering and made up so perfectly in nice wool gab–in my case a dark blue green. Don't worry about the sleeves, when you think of what an arm has to do, and how much different our shoulders and arms are, it's a wonder anything fits besides spandex! I'm actually getting out of the 1500s this summer, with one production in 1890, so I will be doing a bodice back like that, you can be sure!

  • Anonymous

    March 24, 2015 at 3:34 PM

    The back pleats (and the entire jacket) are beautiful. (I am not sure that a solid color would make them more striking, they might just disappear altogether.)

    Sleeves are the bane of everyone's existence. I do mine with an insane seam allowance (which has its own set of drawbacks) and it usually is still a close call.

  • Sanna K

    March 25, 2015 at 8:59 AM

    Funny how only a couple of days ago I was just thinking about this jacket and if you ever finished it and now you're blogging about it. 🙂 It looks great already and the ruffles will make it perfect! 😉

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