February - August 2012

1906 Bolero Suit

A bolero jacket to match my wool crepe walking skirt. This jacket was originally meant to be a trial version. I've made several attempts at Edwardian jackets over the past few years, so wasn't holding my breath. In fact, this was the second bolero cut from this wool. But the construction went smoothly the second time around and I ended up finishing it inside and out. Good thing I bought two extra yards.

In these photos the jacket is worn with both a guimpe and an eyelet blouse. As the blouse has 3/4 length sleeves I whipped up a pair of separate half sleeves which extends them. Also pictured is a dip-waist belt, and some short leather gloves.

The jacket is underlined in silk organza, taped, and bag-lined in china silk. It's topstitched all around to match the skirt. The sleeve linings were put in by hand, as described in the Roberto Cabrera tailoring book. The collar was added as an afterthought in January 2015 so it's simply basted on. However it doesn't want to sit right on the neckline so it's offset in this way. But I like it all the same. The jacket itself tends to slip backwards, so after taking the first set of photos I added blue petersham ties to the neckline. This really helps anchor it.

The pattern is Truly Victorian's #498, 1898 Eton Jacket. Sleeves and cuffs are from the 1906-07 bolero in The Cut of Women's Clothes (diagram LXIV). And these cuffs still have me completely stumped. I puzzled for weeks over different methods of attaching them. It's hard to tell from the line drawing if the full width of the cuff shows, or if its a turn-back cuff. The proportions seem to show the full width facing, but the trim placement indicates it's turned. The heavily gathered sleeve creates too much bulk to press it along the seam. And I wanted a wide cuff. So in my mock-up, I had the cuff rolling tightly over the gathered sleeve end, like a bias binding. It seemed to be a good solution, and I was going to topstitch it in place. But in the final version, the topstitching over all that bulk looked terrible. So I simply made turned-back cuffs. They're pressed 3/4" from the wrist seam.

It also occurred to me that the sleeves could be sewn to a simple band, which would then attach to the cuff. There's a description of this here, page 419, for a "Ladies Blouse Jacket." The pattern in The Cut of Women's Clothes doesn't show a band piece, but it might be worth trying.

You can get an idea of just how full the sleeves are from this inside out view, as I used the same pattern for the sleeve linings.