Sunday, January 9, 2011

Brunswick Jacket

The first inside and out of the year, my Brunswick jacket.  This was started, not surprisingly, in another Burnley and Trowbridge workshop.  I'll try to do the next post on the history and variants of this garment (there are a lot!).  What defines a Brunswick is a sacque back jacket with a waistcoat-like front, hood, and removable long sleeves.  Now, the waistcoat varies in appearance, as do the trimmings, cuffs, etc.  But, we'll get into all that in the next post.
I chose to make my ensemble out of a gorgeous yellow corded silk.  It has a rather stiff weight to it, so it works wonderfully as a winter garment.  I wore it outside for two hours earlier in December without feeling chilled (then my feet got cold).  It's lined with silk taffeta in the hood and lower sleeves.  Everything else is lined in plain white linen.

I made the waistcoat a separate garment (options!).  I wanted a little bit of extra warmth AND the option to use a stomacher front and quickly create a pet-en-l'air.  The trimming all over the garment is just pleated self-fabric.  I ended up doing death head buttons, despite promising myself I wouldn't (it's almost like an addiction).  However, the fabric just wasn't working well to cover buttons and metal seemed out of place.

As you can see here, the back is only one layer of fabric rather than two.  Lacing up the back allows for more adjustment in size.  Useful since the jacket is always adjustable.

You can also see the extra piece of fashion fabric at the back top.  The jacket neckline is lower so it wouldn't do to have white linen peaking out!

The jacket construction is just like a regular sacque back gown or jacket.  The laces across the lining in back keep the garment "fitted" to the body, although not so much as English gowns would be.  One of my ties apparently popped loose and needs to be re-tacked (oops).  The lining attaches to the fashion fabric just before it ends to keep from having too much of a sail on windy days.  I trimmed the separate sleeve cuffs with more pleats and silk ribbon bows.  The lower sleeves are separate and basted in.

The side pleats are a bit easier to see here.  Everything is double pleated and the side pleats do have pocket slits.  The back neck is finished with an extra piece that folds to the inside.  I chose to leave the skirts unlined since my fabric was weighty enough for all the pleating.  Much more would have been bulky, especially in back.

The trimming continues all the way around the hem.  The double back pleats (deep enough to just barely overlap inside) are tacked down on top for a few inches.  The lower sleeves have a few inches left open on the seam to get your hand through (they're rather tight) and possibly show off the lovely ruffles on your shirt.  The hem has a slight dip in length in back as well.

Pin the jacket to the waistcoat over a habit shirt with a cravat and pair with a matching petticoat and we're ready to travel! 

15 comments:

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for showing the back and inside of your creation. I only recently learned that men's vests from this time period had lacings in the back for better fit, and I was unaware that women used the same concept. These pictures really help those of us involved in historical clothing construction.

Isis said...

A beautiful garment that fits you wonderfully! Very interesting photos as well!

American Duchess said...

oh my goodness it's absolutely stunning! You are truly an inspiration!

ColeV said...

Thank you! If you think about how much we change sizes now, they had to have options before stretchy fabric. I think the only garment I have with a single set size is my riding habit (not surprisingly always made by male tailors). Now, if only museums would start photographing the inside of garments!

fuchsias18thcdress said...

Oh gosh! It is lovely!!! =O Amazing work! Very smart with the waistcoat! I've never liked yellow all that much - but it seems so right in this garment! ^^
Absolutely beautiful!

Carly said...

It's gorgeous! And how fabulous that it's so versatile! I love that you can turn it into a pet-en-l'air with elbow length sleeves, so it can work for more than just winter!

What are death head buttons? I've been wanting to put buttons on my zone front gown but I'm not sure what to use. Also I'm lousy at sewing button holes... :P

ColeV said...

Death Head buttons are a thread wrapped wood button mold. There's all sorts of ways to do it, but the four point single color is the "basic". I did a six point on this and you can see a two color on my cut-away gown. There's a wonderful book on how to make them and I think I have some very basic instructions on my deviant art page. And just keep practicing those button holes, almost everyone starts out with terrible ones. Just make sure to use good thread for them, you can get silk buttonhole twist from B&T or Wm Booth. The ones using commercial button thread never look very nice!

Anonymous said...

Hello,

so very beautifull :)
Where could you find a silk like this, it is not possible in Germany to find it ...

ColeV said...

I purchased it from Burnley and Trowbridge. They don't have any more of it, unfortunately (sold out a few days after pictures of the workshop went up). They get silks and fabrics like this in occasionally and they don't usually make it onto their website.

Anonymous said...

oh, thank you, then I will ask them, to give me information, when they have something like this again :)

ZipZip said...

Thank you so for publishing so much about this type of garment. Such marvelous flexibility in how to wear it. Might you know the latest date when the Brunswick might be fashionably worn? Would it have lasted into the 1790s or would other jacket types superceded them? I noted that no examples in the portraits posting showed anything particularly late.

ColeV said...

It seems to go out of style by the end of the 1780s. My initial guess would be that it is replaced easily by the long-sleeved jackets and redingtotes that are fashionable in the '90s. I really don't see many sacque back gowns or jackets after that point either (except formal court dress).

Little Mothball said...

I just found this post! I love this ensemble. How many yards of the yellow fabric did you need for it? I am trying to make something similar.

ColeV said...

Let's see. Assuming the fabric is 54" or wider, 2.5 yards for the petticoat, 2 yards for the jacket, and 1 yard for the waistcoat. Likely around 6 yards total, since there is trim involved. It could be worked out of 5, possibly, but 7 would be a very safe number (and is a normal number for me to buy for that reason). If it's narrower goods assume another 2 yards.

Little Mothball said...

I have exactly 6 yards of 54" silk! So, it sounds like I could do it. I am unfamiliar with the average yardages that certain 18th c. garments call for, so thank you for helping me out. Hopefully my first pet en l'air will go smoothly.