Wednesday, November 6, 2013

1860s Cashmere Spanish Jacket edited with new photos

While completing my mourning dress I found a cut out cashmere Spanish jacket that I was making before my wedding. It ended up getting put away due to the wedding sewing requirements and then the purchase/moving into our own home. I finally finished constructing it last month. The original inspiration for the jacket was the painting Young Lady in a Red Jacket by John Tissot. Nic loves this painting and originally suggested reproducing it.

Amazingly, my mourning dress fits perfectly to recreate this image. I also have a stark white silk collar that I have never used in a cupboard.

I originally toiled and cut out the red cashmere for this jacket before my wedding 3 years ago. This makes it officially my oldest UFO. I used the Truly Victorian Spanish Jacket Pattern as my base with the sleeve caps as seen in the portrait. I did make a number of alterations, including ignoring the instructions (I'm not sure if they are correct or not, about 6 months ago I just stopped reading any commercial pattern), I extended the sleeves to fit my long arms and removed the fullness from the sleeve caps. The basic pattern caps are far too big and looked silly puffing out of the top with gathers.

The jacket was constructed using red cashmere, silk piping, red pom pom braid and over 30 meters of tracing braid (soutache braid)... so far. Also, I decided that due to the heat in Australia over summer, I wanted to make the long sleeve section optional. The long sleeves are constructed, but I have run out of braid to finish the design on the sleeves. As it is now the beginning of summer, I am not worried about finishing them any time soon.

The painting indicates braid work, but was impossible for me to make out. To solve this issue, I used this dress as inspiration for my braid.

Using the braid, I made a practice shape and then traced it and worked out my spacing. As the fabric is furry, I was unable to transfer the design. Instead, I measured and placed dots at the cross over points. The result was excellent, even if not all perfectly identical. Sometimes I do damn the perfectionist within me.
It was not until I had completed all of the braid and edging that I finished the jacket off with the lining. As the jacket is to be worn at times over a black dress (when fully complete), I decided to line it in black cotton.

Once the main body was finished I had to repeat the process by starting on the sleeve. Construct, pipe, attach pom poms then apply the braid before lining and then fitting the sleeves. As you can see in this photo, the sleeves were far to big. It was at this point that I chose to reshape them. 

The completed jacket front.
The completed jacket back. 
Side View.
The decoration at the back of the neck. I intentionally turned the direction of the patten to create more symmetry. 
 For a closure I designed a braid pattern and then following guides online I made a clasp. It is small but works remarked well. I was really happy with how this turned out. As a side not when beginning and ending the braiding I would push a hole into the fabric using awl and then push the braid through the hole, so that the ends were out of sight.
 Center back completed braid. 

I think that overall this small jacket used well over 30m or about 33 yards of braid. I do still plan to make long sleeves that can be whipped stitched on during winter, but or now, I am very happy with how it looks.

I am adding these two photos of me wearing the spanish jacket. I have decided to clean up my blogs, so photos of events will now be posted on their correct blog accessible through my tabs.


  1. Oh Woooow!!! Your jacket is fabulous Danielle!! I love love love all that glorious soutache you put on it!!!! Laaaaaa!! And the color is awesome!



    1. Thank you very much for your kind comments. Sometimes I think it is worth the little extra effort.

  2. I second Gina's compliments - AMAZING braiding!! Can't wait to see pictures of you wearing it at your croquet outing!
    Anneliese :)

  3. OK, 30 m of braid, I get it. :D
    I luckily stumbled upon your blog through my googling - now it goes to my bookmarks.
    It's beautiful - I third the braiding (I may need your experience on it yet), and the design in general, no wonder you wanted to recreate it.

    1. lol and thank you. I also do a lot of braiding on military uniforms for my husband. It is slow and painful, but worth it. I have a lot more braided items that I plan to make, but they do take time, mostly because I need a few weeks time out here and there. Good luck with your own and please send me a link when you are finished. I love seeing detailed costuming.