Name that Jacket-Looking-Thingy

While I’m sitting here waiting for my ride to appear at the appointed hour so I can head off for the cataract surgery, I thought I’d appeal for some assistance.

I’m on a steep learning curve when it comes to Georgian fashion, clothing, and all the “how did they do it” issues. And here we are at the first “what”, followed closely by “how.”

Spencer, 1790's, Christie's

Spencer, 1790’s, Christie’s

I know I am going to make this ensemble. I love it and I want it and that’s that. Here are the fabrics: there is a small chance I might be able to get the red in a reasonably priced polished cotton, which would be great.

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And here are the questions:

Is that jacket really a spencer? To my untrained eye, it looks too early for a true spencer. And if it’s not a spencer, what is it? Some kind of caraco? But it doesn’t really look like one of those, either. I believe this is an introduction to the joys of transitional-styles – not really “A”, but also not really “B.” So, of course it would appeal to me. Sheesh.

Another ramble through Pinterest this morning with an eye specifically out for late-1790’s caracos found these:

So am I dealing with a caraco after all? It looks easy enough to make – in principle, that is. I just might be about to draft my first pattern from scratch. Where’s my Janet Arnold…? I can see the shapes for the front and how they go together. I assume the sleeves are in two pieces (weren’t they all?). The back, however,is another story. Does anyone know where I can find a photo of the back of this garment? In the meantime, I’ll keep looking.

Stepping into a completely new era is both exciting and fraught with mistakes born of ignorance. If anyone has any suggestions, comments, experience and/or tales of woe, I’m all ears.




4 thoughts on “Name that Jacket-Looking-Thingy

  1. As for the dress plans, there are several, largely depending on the fabric I will get, or not get, on the fabric market in three weeks. Rumor has it, I might find some Dutch blueprint paisley cotton for a day dress. But a certain red sateen walking dress and a sheer muslin full dress are also still among the options. Now that you reminded me, I shall try and blog about them all once I have my thesis issues straightened out. Wait for it. 🙂

    And it is very good to hear it all went well. What you mentioned about the brightness reminds me of something I heard when I was still studying special education: Back then, our ophthalmology lecturer invited us to join her in theater to witness some cataract surgeries. The day I got to visit her, there was a nice elderly patient who asked if the surgery will make his mouches volantes (those dancing white dots everyone gets) go away. She was like “No, but you will see them more brightly afterwards.” Then they both had a good laugh. 😉

  2. This really is a bemusing garment. It looks like something stuck between a spencer and a shortgown… so to me it says caraco, too. Albeit it seems to be a late, transitional one. They were definitely still fashionable in the Georgian period, too. And I love that floral fabric. 🙂
    PS Good luck with the surgery and all the best.

    • What really cracks me up about it is that it looks like all I need to do is start making boxy long stays and then, with a dramatic pause, say – Wait! This is supposed to be a caraco! Oops! – and just stick on some sleeves and play around with the back. 😉 It is so unusual I just have to make it…at least give it a good go.
      So, what are your Regency dress plans?

      • PS – Surgery went well. I can see and everything is about 5 times brighter than it was, plus colors are more vivid. Will take a couple of days for the blurriness to calm down, but glad #1 is done. #2 is in two weeks, so I get to do it all over again. Oh, whoopee. But when all is said and done I should only need reading glasses, so I consider it a sacrifice for the betterment of my historic costuming accuracy. 😉

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