18th Century Blue Linen Jacket

18th century blue linen jacket

That’s my mid 18th century blue linen jacket.

18th century blue linen jacket, black wool skirt

I repurposed the fabric from an 1980s dress – I was thrilled when I tested the fabric and it was linen! 🙂  But it meant I just had a limited amount of this fabric. The colour was also perfect, as linen could have been dyed blue with indigo or woad in the 18th century.

18th c linen jacket back view

I planned to make a lower or middle class working woman’s outfit. At first, I wanted to make a bedgown (manteau de lit) or caraco, but I hadn’t enough fabric. 🙂 So, I made a jacket. Jackets with separate skirts were worn by working class women as they required less fabric (source).

The main inspirations for my 18th linen jacket were the 1740s painting ‘The Chocolate Girl‘ (also with fichu and apron), 1730s working class fashion plate, 1740-50s jacket, 1750 jacket, 1740s brown silk jacket, 1725-30 silk and linen jacket, and 1750 quilted silk jacket.

18th century jacket close-up

The linen jacket is completely handsewn with half bleached linen thread (linen and wool was sewn with linen thread, not silk thread (source)). It’s spiral laced with linen ribbon. Here you’ll see a 1750s spiral front lacing. And in this 1776 painting, the maid’s jacket is also closed in front with spiral lacing. I’ve done some piecing which is suitable for lower or middle class clothing, as fabric was expensive in the 18th century. The jacket is lined with scrap pieces of brown and white cotton fabric (here you’ll see a 1775-85 cotton jacket lined with brown and white linen).

18th century jacket, petticoat, fichu

I’ve used 18th century sewing stitches for the jacket: these 1769 sewing stitches after Garsault, 18th century stitches on extant garments, and this reproduction jacket.

18th century blue linen jacket

Here I’m wearing the jacket with my 18th century lappet cap, sheer cotton fichu, chemise, and four cotton petticoats.

To fill the front, the jacket is either worn with a separate stomacher, which is pinned to the stays, or a fichu (kerchief), which I’m wearing in these pictures. Here are women wearing fichus: in this 1720s, and this painting.

18th century jacket, petticoat, pinner apron

Now I’m properly dressed 😉 with my black wool skirt and cotton pinner apron, both handsewn. Here are some paintings of pinner aprons: 1739 blue apron, 1740 white apron, 1744 blue apron, and 1740s white apron.

18th woman's clothing

2 thoughts on “18th Century Blue Linen Jacket

  1. This ist of course an old post, but maybe you can still tell me how much fabric you had to work with? I’ve been given a nice tablecloth recently that I’m not sure what to to with. It’s a hexagon measuring 140*160 cm and I’m wondering whether that might be just enough for a late 18th century jacket. Hard to tell without a pattern on hand. ^_^°

    1. I used a short, sleeveless shift dress. I think your fabric should be enough for a jacket, especially with some fabric piecing. 🙂

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