1750s Layering

Often when I talk to people who are not that familiar with historical costuming, I get askt about what I’m wearing underneath my dresses.

All you people who already do historic costuming know that it’s the undergarmnent that makes the outfit (and takes the longest time while dressing), and without the right support and stuffing you would get nowhere.

Most people know about corsets, but not that much more. So I tought it would be fun  to “strip the lady down” and reveal what hides beneath.

The undergarmnent changes with fashion and will be constructed and look differently depending on time period, wealth of the wearer, and personal taste. But the overal layering will remain somewhat the same through the 16th to early 20th century. Only changing in name, siluett and constuction.

This time I will do the 1750s noble woman.

IMG_1905We start fully dressed in: pet-en-l’aire (jacket), skirt, hairdo and accessoares. (She would also sometimes wear a neck-cloth and some lace-cuffs at the sleeves. And of course some kind of headwear.)

IMG_1909Then we remove the accessoares and the pinned on stomacher – reveling part of the corset underneath.

IMG_1912Then the jacket it-self is taken of.

IMG_1916And then the skirt, revealing the petticoat. You would wear as many petticoats as neccesary for warmt, and to hide the sometimes sharp shapes from the undergarmnents. Sometimes as many as 5 petticoats on top of each other.

IMG_1922Now we are down to the under garmnents:

The shift/chemise is being worn closest to the body, is made in an light, washable fabric and has the task of collecting the dirt and swet from the body.

Then there is the costet – made to shape the torso into the desired fashionable form, and to provide a solid form to drape the clothes on.

The pocket hoops or “pocher” are smal and cresent shaped and ties at the waist. They are what gives the skirt it distinct form. The hoops comes in many different shapes and sizes and often makes the hips 3 times the waist measurments.

The stockings are above knee lenght and secured with ribbon.

This is just one of the many ways to dress as a 18th century lady, but I hope it give you a better understanding of the amount of items needed in the costuming closet, exept for the pretty gown…

Robes and Robings

I bought this blue and white striped cotton for 15 Sek/m a while back, and since it was the last 2,5m on the bolt I decided it would make a perfect 18th or 19th century jacket.


So when the 17th HSF challenge was announced as – Robes and Robings, it was the perfect opportunity to use the fabric.

“And what are robings?  They were also called robins and round robins.  Basically they are the trimming round the neck and down the front of 18th and early 19th century gowns and pelisses.” quote from the Dreamstress in her annoncement of the challenge.

As usual I started with some inspirations pictures.



Kyoto red stripe(quite a pink-orama)

As pattern for the jacket I turned to Janet Arnold, and her beautiful 1750s pet-en-l’aire (jacket).

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So I put the corset and pocket-hoops on my dressform and started to drape a pattern.



Then I removed it, sewed and tried it on as a mock-up.



After a few alterations it was time to cut the fabric.

IMG_0826 left and right sides being cut separatly so to mach the stipes perfectly.

I used plain white cotton as lining, and started the handsewing by working the eyelets into the back of the linning.


I basted the lining to the striped fabric as a interlining.

Now it was time to arrange the backpleats. Something that took a bit of time and carefull forcing of the fabric.

Then everything went pretty fast, and I sewed the shoulders, the hip-pleats and the side seams. And I tried it on for further adjustments.

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I needed to make a few alterations and then I continued by folding and hemming the layers seperatly, and cut and turned under all the seam-allowences. I attached the sleeves and made the elbow flounce.

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I’m a bit worried by the wrinkles in the waist. I had hoped to be able to make the jacket without a waist seam. But I had to give in to the wrinkles and decided to sew them down as they lay, creating a false seam.

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I draped the stomacher straight to the body when wearing the jacket, to get the opening and sizing right. I cut the stomacher in two parts, who closes at center front by hooks and eyes.

The hole jacket are compleatly handsewn and I’m very proud of it. I used up every single piece of the fabric and manadge to only piece it in one place – the left sleeve flounce.

And thisweekend me and my sister had a photoshoot of the jacket paired with the separate skirt, that I will show you pictures of in my next post.

Some finished pictures on the dressform.









Just the facts:

Challenge 17. Robe and Robbings

What: A pet-en-l’air (Jacket)

Year: 1745-1755.

Pattern: Janet Arnolds “Pattern of Fahsion 1” A pet-en-l’air

Fabric: 2,5 m of striped cotton, and 2,5 m white cotton-sheet for lining.

Notions: Thread, hooks and eyes, lacing cord, plastic boning for the stomacher and lacing.

How historical accurate: My closest yet. Compleatly handsewn with period stiching, pattern and cutting methods. I’d say about 90%.

Time: 25 hours

Cost: 100 Sek (11USD)

First worn: On the photoshoot mid sep.