Last week I wore my new 1785 Pierrot jacket in our most recent photo shoot for Dunmore 18th century shoes.
I’m proud of this outfit for several reasons, not least of all because it is the first entirely hand sewn ensemble I’ve ever made! I’m not a big stickler for hand-sewing, but I genuinely found it easier to construct the jacket and petticoat by hand, with the ability to control thread tension on the silk petticoat, and finagle the delicate fiddly bits on the jacket much more easily than if it had been done on the machine. I learned a variety of historic stitches and fine-tuned a few techniques that are actually quicker to do by hand than the modern method!
|This is the first bodice I’ve made that closes with pins. I’m still getting the hang of it!|
The pierrot jacket is made from two yards of Colonial Williamsburg printed cotton. I cut a basic Anglaise pattern into a zone front, which swept back into the “tail” created by the pleated back. The back was free-form pleated to the lining (a basic bodice back) and top stitched using prick stitch. The tail flounce is one long strip of cotton, narrowly hemmed, and then whip-gathered on the top edge. It’s my favorite part of the jacket.
I had the most trouble with the sleeves, of course, which had to be pieced at the top to make a deeper sleeve cap. It was fiddly business, and they’re not perfect, but they’re on there and I can move my arms, so yay!
The petticoat is changeable silk taffeta with a van dyke hem. This petti is meant to replace an earlier one of a similar color that was too short and not quite right in construction. I’m wishing now that I had made it even longer – more ankle length – but it’s way better than what I had before, so I’m happy.
|One of the motifs from the destroyed apron appliqued onto the new one. This was tedious, but covered the gaping hole.|
One of the biggest challenges to completing the whole costume was the apron. I had a wonderful antique tamboured net apron, but my dog literally ate it. Of all the things in my sewing room, she decided to eat that! I’ve since learned to keep things off the floor, and the door closed! Luckily I found another broad panel on Etsy, but it had a huge hole in the middle, so I found myself tediously cutting out and appliqueing a few motifs from the demolished apron onto the new one. I’m glad I kept that scrap Lexi chewed up! I still have a few more motifs to go to make it look more purposeful.
|Thrifted straw hat trimmed in taffeta bows, buckle, and feathers. Very easy!|
Last but not least, the hat. a basic two-tone straw I found in a thrift shop. I re-trimmed it with a black taffeta band and bows, a rhinestone buckle, and feathers. It’s flexible enough to turn up the brim on one side, for a variety of looks, and while it could certainly be bigger, it’s a great all-purpose 1780s – 90s chapeau.
It feels so good to complete this whole look. The jacket was in the UFO pile for nearly a year, but now it’s done and I can wear it to Williamsburg in June, squee!