18th Century Blue Linen Jacket

18th Century Blue Linen Jacket

For my mid-18th century blue linen jacket 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 color was also perfect as linen could’ve been dyed blue with indigo or woad in the 18th century.

Related: 18th Century Outfit – Linen Jacket & Skirt

I planned to make a lower or middle class working woman’s outfit. At first, I wanted to make an 18th century caraco or a bedgown, aka manteau de lit. But I didn’t have enough fabric for that. So, I made a short 18th century jacket instead. Jackets with separate skirts were worn by working class women as they required less fabric.

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

18th century linen skirt

My 18th century blue linen jacket is completely hand-sewn with half bleached linen thread: In the 18th century, linen and wool fabric was sewn with linen thread, not silk thread according to this source.

Related: 18th Century Linen Stays

18th century spiral lacing

The jacket is closed with spiral lacing with unbleached linen ribbon at the center front. For the hand-sewn eyelets I also used linen sewing thread. Here’s a 1750s robe à la française with spiral front lacing. And in Laquy’s 1776 painting “A Scullery Maid Preparing A Chicken”, the maid’s jacket is also closed with spiral lacing at the center front.

Related: 18th Century Spiral Lacing

18th century linen jacket piecing

For my jacket I had to piece the fabric together. But this adds authenticity to the jacket: Fabric piecing is historically accurate for 18th century lower and middle class clothing because fabric was expensive in the 18th century. I also added underarm gussets.

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

linen jacket lining

As lining for my 18th century linen jacket I used scrap pieces of brown and white cotton fabric from my stash. Here at the MET museum is an 18th century jacket with a pieced cotton lining.

My jacket has mid 18th century ‘wing’ cuffs like the cuffs on this 1740s bodice at the V&A museum. The cuffs are made from a rectangular piece of fabric, with the pleats stitched down.

18th century linen jacket cuffs

To fill the front, the jacket is worn either with a separate stomacher, which is pinned to the stays, or a fichu (kerchief). Here’s a 1720s painting of girls wearing fichus. In these photos I wear a separate stomacher and a sheer cotton fichu. I also wear a shift, stays, petticoats and my hand-sewn 18th century lappet cap.

Related: Modern 18th Century Recycled Denim Stays – History Bounding

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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