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Making an extremely exuberant Amalia Jacket

Remember the chintz robe I made for Lynne last year?  Well, I saved a length of that fabric for myself, to make the most fabulously, floral-y, extremely exuberant Amalia Jacket.

A calico cat with green eyes lying on floral fabric

I’ve been plugging away on it all year.  It’s been my happy sewing.  I love the fabric.  The cotton and linen are so easy and fun to work with.  It’s really nice to make something without a deadline, and to just work on it when the mood strikes you.  It’s not a fast process, but it’s so satisfying. And I’m still so delighted with the Amalia Jacket pattern!

Here’s a look at the making process.

I started with the lining, and then added the back panels, building out from the center back, and lapping each piece over the other:

A partly made 1780s jacket in bright floral fabric

Felicity, in her own special way, made sure that I didn’t go over my daily sewing allotment.

A calico cat lying on floral fabric

Bodice assembled!

The lining of a partly finished Amalia jacket

Now, on to the sleeves:

Sleeve pattern pieces lying on ivory linen

Here’s a little sewing tip.  If you need to cut a pattern piece with the pattern wrong side up, fold the pattern piece along the grainline:

A sleeve pattern piece folded along the grainline

Now it’s easy to see the grainline, and make sure it’s placed properly on the fabric!

A sleeve pattern piece positioned on floral fabric

I loooooove sewing 18th c sleeves.  The assembly technique is so clever.

A pinned seam on the linen lining of an 18th century sleeve

And involves whipstitching!  I could whipstitch all day long…

A whipstitched seam on a white linen lining

Then it was on to the bodice front.

An extremely exuberant Amalia Jacket thedreamstress.com

I opted for the cutaway front, even though it’s very subtle in such a bold print, because most of the extant jackets with cutaway fronts are also in chintz.

An extremely exuberant Amalia Jacket thedreamstress.com

Lots and lots of finishing stitching…

An extremely exuberant Amalia Jacket thedreamstress.com

An extremely exuberant Amalia Jacket thedreamstress.com

And then a final try-on, and the excitement of sleeve fitting!

An extremely exuberant Amalia Jacket thedreamstress.com

Yesssss…

An extremely exuberant Amalia Jacket thedreamstress.com

Am I excited about this outfit?  Yes I am!

An extremely exuberant Amalia Jacket thedreamstress.com

(yes, there’s a matching petticoat!)

An extremely exuberant Amalia Jacket thedreamstress.com

Not exactly a proper pinning job!

An extremely exuberant Amalia Jacket thedreamstress.com

The final outside touch was the chintz straps…

An extremely exuberant Amalia Jacket thedreamstress.com

An extremely exuberant Amalia Jacket thedreamstress.com

An extremely exuberant Amalia Jacket thedreamstress.com

But there was some inside finishing to do.  I felt this jacket deserved that!

An extremely exuberant Amalia Jacket thedreamstress.com

And my Amalia Jacket is finished inside and out!

An extremely exuberant Amalia Jacket thedreamstress.com

An extremely exuberant Amalia Jacket thedreamstress.com

An extremely exuberant Amalia Jacket thedreamstress.com

I wore it to the Georgian Dinner, but it’s definitely going to get a lot more outings, and, eventually, so many ruffles!  (seriously, so many!)

A midwinter Georgian dinner thedreamstress.com

Morning dress, ca. 1806, American, cotton, wool, Gift of George V. Masselos, in memory of Grace Ziebarth, 1976, Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1976.142.2

Rate the Dress: an early 19th century embroidered morning dress

After a smashingly successful evening event (and you definitely thought last week’s evening dress was a smashing success), a well dressed lady wants something simple but elegant to slip in to for a relaxed morning.  So this week we’re going back in time a century with a simple morning dress with wrapped bodice.  It’s a very different garment than last week’s dress.  Will you like it as much?

Last Week: a 1910s evening dress in copper and bronze

If there was one downside to last week’s Rate the Dress it was that it was tricky to keep track of all the 10/10 ratings!  You looooooooved the dress.  The worst rating it got was a single, lonely 8.

The Total: 9.9 out of 10

A Rate the Dress milestone!  Once, in the first year of Rate the Dress, there was a 10/10 rating.  Since then the highest rating ever achieved was 9.7.

This week: An early 19th century embrodered morning dress

This week’s morning dress carries on last week’s copper and rust colour scheme, only worked in wool embroidery on cotton, rather than in silk and metal on silk georgette.

This style of dress would have been worn by a wealthy woman in the morning, before getting dressed in more elaborate clothes for afternoon and evening events, or as a simple at-home frock if she wasn’t planning to go out or to host a formal event.

The simple wrap construction of the bodice would have made the dress easy to put on, and the restrained colour scheme is in keeping with the overall air of informality.    The details of the dress, from the scalloped hem, to the pointed collar, the intentionally over-long sleeves, and caught-up over-sleeves, suggest a wearer with an interest in fashion, a desire to stay a la mode, and the money to do so.

What do you think?  The perfect relaxed frock for the day after being belle of the ball?

Rate the Dress on a Scale of 1 to 10

A reminder about rating – feel free to be critical if you don’t like a thing, but make sure that your comments aren’t actually insulting to those who do like a garment.  Phrase criticism as your opinion, rather than a flat fact. Our different tastes are what make Rate the Dress so interesting.  It’s no fun when a comment implies that anyone who doesn’t agree with it, or who would wear a garment, is totally lacking in taste.

As usual, nothing more complicated than a .5.  I also hugely appreciate it if you only do one rating, and set it on a line at the very end of your comment.

A midwinter Georgian dinner thedreamstress.com

A midwinter Georgian dinner

It’s winter here in New Zealand, and cold and dark and windy and rainy.

My local historical costuming friends and I decided to brighten up the shortest (ish) day of the year, and have an 18th century dinner.

We researched, we made food, we dressed up, and we had a lovely time.

A midwinter Georgian dinner thedreamstress.com

A midwinter Georgian dinner thedreamstress.com

A midwinter Georgian dinner thedreamstress.com

A midwinter Georgian dinner thedreamstress.com

A midwinter Georgian dinner thedreamstress.com

A midwinter Georgian dinner thedreamstress.com

I finished my newest Amalia Jacket just in time. Nina finished her warp printed silk Amalia as well (so exciting!).  And we made Miss Four a Norland Frock.

A midwinter Georgian dinner thedreamstress.com

I’m in love with this Amalia!  I can’t wait to tell you all about it!

A midwinter Georgian dinner thedreamstress.com

A midwinter Georgian dinner thedreamstress.com

And a lovely time was had by all!

The Menu:

Vegetarian Oille:

A midwinter Georgian dinner thedreamstress.com

I used this recipe, which is the most ridiculous recipe possible (yes, it’s even topped with gold leaf) and should not be attempted unless you have 8 hours, 3 sous chefs, the patience of a saint, and can read minds.

I realised partway through that it wasn’t remotely accurate as an 18th c oille. By that point I had already devoted three days of my life to testing the recipe, and had the only chervil plant to be found for love or money in Wellington ensconced on my warmest windowsill, being alternately bribed, coddled, and threatened a la Crowley to THRIVE.  I was not giving up.  So it’s a sort of conceptual oille: a wild assortment of extremely expensive vegetables, instead of extremely expensive meat.

Also, it’s not worth the effort.

Salmon mousse and crackers

A midwinter Georgian dinner thedreamstress.com

Mandrang Salad (1773)

This fabulous cucumber salad, which probably originated in the West Indies, shows up in a 1773 cookbook, and is reproduced in one of Mary-Anne Boerman’s excellent cookbooks.

A midwinter Georgian dinner thedreamstress.com

The original recipe called for chillies, but we substituted horseradish to accomodate an allergy, a twist that I can well imagine an 18th c cook resorting to if chillies weren’t available.  I also made my version non-alcoholic, and used a dash of mandarin juice along with lemon juice, an alteration that seemed very fitting, as everyone I mentioned the salad to originally assumed it was a mandarin salad.

Mrs Frazer’s dish of Macaroni (1791), Cauliflowers fried, Brockely Sallad, Potato Pudding, Dressed Mushrooms (1700)

A midwinter Georgian dinner thedreamstress.com

I’ve been advocating hard for a mac n cheese 18th c dinner, because it amuses me that it’s so plebeian today, but was an exotic luxury food in the late 18th c.

A midwinter Georgian dinner thedreamstress.com

 

The cauliflower, broccoli and potato recipes are all out of Hannah Glasse’s Art of Cookery.

The cauliflower was fine, but looked like the perfect dish for a gross Halloween dinner.  The broccoli is fabulous, and I’m definitely adding broccoli with vinegar dressing to my cooking repertoire.  We were also delighted to discover that the 18th c preference was apparently for very crunchy veges.

Potato pudding is definitely a pudding, and I love it.  I loved it so much I had two helpings, which was a bad choice considering we still had three courses to go…

The broccoli did lead to a fascinating discussion of why and how broccoli was clearly widely known in 18th century England, and yet almost completely unknown in early 20th c New Zealand.  At what point did it drop into obscurity?

Persimmon ices

A midwinter Georgian dinner thedreamstress.com

Croquembouche and syllabub

A midwinter Georgian dinner thedreamstress.com

Our syllabub was non-alcoholic, so not accurate, but soooo delicious…

A midwinter Georgian dinner thedreamstress.com

Fabulous!

A midwinter Georgian dinner thedreamstress.com