18th Century: Caraco Jacket (aka - Mrs. Claus)

I recently finished a Caraco Jacket.  Except for a set of stays, this is my first major attempt at producing something from the 1770's.  Because I'm fairly new to this, I wanted to stay away from expensive materials and use up what I have in my stash instead.  I started with a basic jacket done in red linen, and lined with off-white linen.  My research led me to many fashion plates showing red/pink garments decorated with green and white trim.  Having green and white linen in my stash, I thought, why not go for it.

Unfortunately, once it came together, all I could think of was Christmas and Mrs. Claus.  Seriously.  It's all I think of.  I'm having a hard time enjoying the shape, the effort that went into it, the detail, the decoration.  I notice nothing but the color scheme.  Blah!  Such a disappointment!

I draped and drafted the jacket using some illustrations from Janet Arnold's "Patterns of Fashion 1" as a guide.  Everything is hand sewn.  I used pinking sheers on the trim, but I don't think my sheers are the correct shape for the 1770's.  Do you think the proportions between the jacket size and trim size are correct?  I feel like the white trim is too big, but that might be my Regency sensibilities kicking in.

The shape of the sleeve is known as a sabot sleeve.  I'm not happy with the shape that I got.  This was definitely a learning experience for me.  My sleeves were influenced by the gown in This Illustration.  My Caraco was highly influence by this gorgeous one at The Met

There is a false front under the jacket.  I would love to know if there is a more period correct term for "false front."  Can anyone clue me in?  The trim on this part, and on the jacket is box pleated, but the trim on the sleeve is just a simple pleat.

All stitching is done with period techniques.

I'm not happy with the outcome, but it's a thousand times better than my first Regency gown.  I think I would love it better if the fabric was either blue or green.  In anycase, the brown petticoat just isn't working AT ALL with this jacket.  It is entirely too plain.  I suppose I will have to remedy that.  To see where I got my fashion plate color scheme inspiration, check out these pins:  Pin 1Pin 2Pin 3, Pin 4Pin 5, and Pin 6


Julie Rockhold said…
i think you can remedy this by either a) taking the green off the sleeve b)making the white trim the same width as the green trim on the front c) go strictly white or green in trim coloring. Any of these would help. I personally would take the green off the sleeves...the fabric looks too heavy for a trim. Or you may put in a couple more gathering rows in the green, to break up the line...good luck. Your sewing skills are excellent.
Cassidy said…
Your pinking shears are totally fine. The pinked scallops get a lot of press because we don't have the ability to do them easily today, but in my patterning I've come across a lot of plain pinking as well.

Not sure what you mean by false front. Stomacher?

I get you on the color scheme, but I think it's going to look wonderful on you, and I can't wait to see event photos of you in it.
ZipZip said…
Dear Jenni,

Wow, what a secret project...never had a clue you were working on this. Neat!

Am with Julie on fixes. Would remove the green, and go for a simpler sleeve treatment, and make all the trim match. You know, if you had red fabric left, you might make the trim of that...


Jennifer said…
Hmm... you've put such lovely work into the body of the garment, I'd hate to see you avoid wearing it simply because the color scheme was bothering you. I'd agree with the above comments that you should probably pick one of the trims to take off. Green OR white, but not both. I'm actually kinda partial to the simple green bits, though. The white is just big and bold and so very WHITE. I don't think it goes well with the red. Not nearly so well as the more subdued green. Perhaps you could pull the white, then add back a touch of ivory with lace. Same basic color scheme, but less clashing.

Popular Posts