I decided to make this jacket, which is in the Colonial Williamsburg collection, and for which there is a pattern on pgs. 39-42 of Costume Close-Up.
Lucky for me, Rebecca from Fashionable Frolick has made several versions of this jacket and very generously posted a tutorial on her blog, where she chronicles, with lots of photos, how she put this jacket together using 18th century methods.
The original jacket is made from linen, but I am making mine from some cotton I had in my fabric stash. I don't know if the fabric pattern is appropriate for the 18th century, but it looks like it could be to me.
I already enlarged the pattern from Costume Close-Up by scanning it into my computer, and then using the measurement grid on the pattern to enlarge it up to it's full size. I then cut this out of some scrap fabric in order to make a "toile", or mock-up to alter to fit me before cutting into my good fabric.
This is where I usually choke when sewing something - the fitting part. Since I don't have any friends with the same love of historical clothing as I do, I have to fit things on myself, by myself.
Using my mannequin, which I had tried to pad with batting to better mimic my own measurements, I fitted my mock-up over stays. Perhaps in response to my latest episode of fitting angst, a pin appeared on my Pinterest feed by Cathy Hay of Your Wardrobe Unlock'd featuring the Fabulous Fit system.
This consists of a series of foam rubber pads and a stetchy cover, which is used to pad out an existing dressmaker's mannequin to more accurately represent an individual's measurements. Fabulous! I had tried doing this with batting with only so-so results, so this should be a vast improvement over what I was using. I immediately ordered it from Amazon.
It arrived today, and I set to work padding out my mannequin. After struggling with shoving pads under the stretchy cover for 15 minutes, I finally got it to resemble my measurements...ugh...talk about depressing! But, that's a whole 'nother story!
Next up, cutting the pieces from good fabric and cutting out the lining pieces.