1884 Gown: Gypsy Jacket Mock-up

If you are new to my 1884 project, you can catch up by reading the previous posts here: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9.

In The Wonderful World of Ladies' Fashion: 1850-1920, my inspiration jacket can only be viewed from the front.  But the description is fairly clear.  Here it is again, in case you have forgotten: 

"Costume of golden brown, dahlia or plum colored repped wool.  False skirt covered with a pleated skirt.  Tablier draped in a shawl point, and raised very high near the hips.  At the back is a small pouf coquettishly draped.  Gypsy jacket.  The fronts open widely, and are fastened only at the neck.  They are trimmed by a small round cord forming brandebourgs.  Buttons terminate each one of these.  The side forms of the back are slightly extended, and fasten over the box-pleated back in the same manner.  Red velvet collar, cuffs and Swiss belt."

I LOVE that it's called a "Gypsy Jacket."  I'm am more than a little bit in love with any kind of Bohemian style.  Again, I am not following the color scheme, but the front of the jacket is exactly what I want.  The back, however, is a little mysterious to me.  What do they mean, "The side forms of the back are slightly extended, and fasten over the box-pleated back in the same manner?"  What exactly are side forms?  Anyway, I'm only interested in making box pleats, so I guess it doesn't matter in the end...but I'm still curious.  

I used the Truly Victorian French Vest Pattern as a guide, but then altered the front.  I don't want the sort of wide at the top, narrow at the bottom look that the front of the French vest gives...I want the opposite. I want the look of the 1884 fashion plate that was my inspiration.  Another similar jacket, of a later date, can be found on the Met site, HERE.  My only hang up on this style is how open and loose it seems on the Met dress, but how tight and fitted it is in my original inspiration plate...yet both jackets obviously only close at the neck.  Is the original fashion plate an ideal look?  Is it impossible to keep the jacket from hanging open and loose?  Or is there a period correct way to keep this jacket fitted to the body?  Thoughts, anyone?  I know I saw one jacket, HERE that was buttoned to the plastron...that obviously would work, but I really don't want to do that.  HERE's another one that fastens at the neck and hangs open.  Is it just me, or does this jacket look like it might be fastened with hooks-and-eyes to the waist/belt/sash?  Anyone know anything about this?  I would prefer my jacket to stay snug.

My mock-up is a bit loose and wrinkly on the dress form, but on me, it's not so bad.  I also think that has something to do with the cheap cotton used in the mock-up.  The wool, and crisp lining will be a bit more stiff and drape better.

All of my wool and lining are now cut out. I haven't decided yet on the method of construction that I will use.  I need to research that a little bit more.  Did they do a sack lining?  But, then what about the box pleats on the back? I don't think that would work, would it?  I'm tempted to use late 18th/early 19th century seam construction techniques, because that's what I know.  But, the proper thing to do would be to put it together in 1880's fashion, right?  I seem to have so many questions running through my head today...more questions than answers.  I hope you have some answers for me.  I have yet to even begin on the sleeves (oh, dread!), and of course there are embellishments to come later.  I better quicken my pace...only 3 weeks until the Steampunk/Halloween party.  I'm sooooo excited about punking out this outfit!


ZipZip said…
Dear Jenni,

This one is going to be NEAT! To answer your questions with some ideas:

- add an interior belt at about true waist level, that is sewed to the interior back of the bodice and tacked also to each side. It would shut with hooks and eyes or a tiny belt buckle, in front, under the plastron. It will help keep the jacket snug. This is a normal feature of this era. I have an extant bodice with a belt like this.

- hooks and eyes attached to the belt may be a good idea for further control.

- You wonder about the inspiration jacket's description: "The fronts open widely, and are fastened only at the neck. They are trimmed by a small round cord forming brandebourgs. Buttons terminate each one of these. The side forms of the back are slightly extended, and fasten over the box-pleated back in the same manner." It's a military-style jacket. I *think* they mean that the button-buttonhole effect is used on the back. The side pieces are probably elongated, and will fold back over the pleated peplum at center back. The reverse side of the fabric would show, and there'd be button cording on it. A button would be placed somewhere on the pleated peplum, and the cording looped over it to hold the folds in place. Revolutionary and War of 1812 uniforms had this effect, in varying amounts. See for example http://www.gypsywearvintage.com/fancypants2.htm.



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