Tuesday, January 19, 2021

Black work Jacket and Skirt

 A life time ago and in a galaxy far away one of my ambitions was to do graduate work in costuming and work in that profession. While I still love historical costuming, I decided that it was not for me - the long hours and the fierce competition would  not work well with family responsibilities. So I dabble in dressing a historical doll or two.

I have always loved 17th century embroidered jackets; most of them are polychrome but a few are black work. There are a number of portraits that feature the jackets. Perhaps the most famous of the jackets is one that was owned by Margaret Layton. The jacket and her portrait are exhibited together so you can actually see how accurately the clothing was depicted.

Several years ago I found a black work rectangle on Pintrest that I liked. I was able to trace the pin back to the original source. It was a 17th century jacket featured in Gift of Stitches Magazine. I found the site to purchase the magazine with both the design and the finishing. Any  miniature clothing needs to have fabric that is not too stiff or out of scale so now the hunt was on for just the right fabric for the jacket and all the other parts of the set.

 I started with 55 count linen for the stitching. A bit small but I wanted the jacket to be as small as I could make it. I used size 100 black silk thread for the stitching. The directions called for putting lace around the edges but leaving the jacket raw on the inside. I knew that once the jacket was finished, the inside would never be seen but just could not leave it unlined. 

A while ago, I was in China and bought some very fine pale pink silk and decided to line the jacket with that. I had forgotten just how hard it is to work on that scale but love how it turned out.

Of course a jacket needs to be displayed with a skirt - a 17th century embroidered skirt. Now the hunt was on for the perfect fabric. It had to be just the right color and have the correct drape. The design is adapted from historical sources and stitched with gold silk  thread with metal thread accents.

 Then it needed a dress form to put it on and the  proper underthings so that it would look right. You know how that goes - right down the rabbit hole.

The dress form...

The linen petticoat - front and back...

The bum roll - this is rather strange piece of clothing but it was used in that period and made the skirt hang correctly...

The salmon colored skirt...

The finally the jacket......

The front assembled with the gussets. 
The lined jacket.


  1. This is stunning, you are a woman of many talents.

  2. Thank you. It is so much fun to see something in my head and have it turn close to what I imagined.