1893 Braided Jacket

1890s Winter Plate and Outfit

It is finished at last!!!!

I have loved this plate from ‘Harper’s Bazaar’ for years, and planned to make the jacket almost 2 years ago – now am happy to say that it is complete (well, almost…)

I got the fabrics, etc. last winter and made the matching skirt to go with this jacket, (as well as with my 1895 coat), but it was only in November 2015 that I was able to start work on it, stitching  away in the evenings after  I had finished with all of the commissioned work for the day. Below is my journey, step by step – enjoy! (warning – picture heavy post!)



Wool – 3m

Lining – wool twill for the body – 2m and linen for the sleeves – 2m

Soutache ( Russia braid) – 120m!!!!!

Picot braid – 25m

One vintage jacket…

Thread, boning, grosgrain ribbon, hooks-and-eyes and similar notions


Pattern – that was easy, I adapted one of my earlier bodice pattern and simply drafted the skirts longer and fuller and fitted the front with just a single dart.


I made a mock up to make sure it fitted OK 🙂

Then it was time to cut out the pieces in proper fabric –  and a dilemma!


Should I put the braid on each piece separately or assemble the jacket first and then decorate later? Both  routes are fine and would work, but it was simpler to decorate each piece first. Not only easier to move each piece around as the braid is applied, but also as the stitching would not show on the lining… and so I set to working on the pattern for each piece.

The bottom parts were relatively simple, the sleeve and the upper back needed some creative work and lots of drawing… The front part – well, it was not shown in the Bazaar, so I had to rely on a similar jacket from ‘Mode Illustree‘ and invent my own design that would fit in with the general look of the coat…


I then made a template for the decorations, traced it and set to stitching… I admit that I was hoping I could apply the soutache on a machine, but after running a sample I realised that the amount of braid manipulation was just too much for my machine – and it looked much tidier when hand-stitched; oh joy..!


Machine stitching at the top, hand-stitching at the bottom…. notice the sticking out thread – for the braid to lay flat on the curve you need to pull out one of the braid’s cords…

…and so I started. Side pieces first…


I managed to do the side pieces and sleeves over the month of December…

For the upper back I stitched the two back pieces together first and then applied the braid, together with the picot braid for the top part. In the original the loops seem to be in soutache as well, but I admit the thought of doing even more defeated me – so got some lovely picot braid instead, and it did finish off the look rather nicely. The back  was done in January/February


The fronts were a challenge – first, quite a lot of braiding was needed (my own fault as I designed the front bits myself – what can I say, am a sucker for punishment…), but also the pieces were bigger. Since I had to stitch the dart with the lining as well, it was a bit awkward to handle. I was still finishing the front pieces on our way to Finland for our annual holiday – and indeed was still stitching at Muotka Lodge itself when we got there! Before we left on holiday I assembled the rest of the jacket, leaving only the front parts and sleeves to be hand-stitched later on…


Pieces pinned  together with the lining, ready for assembly.

…and sewn together. Any irregularity at the seam would be covered with the picot braid.



…stitching on  a plane


adding the picot braid…

Once the body was completed, I boned the heads of thesleeves, box pleated them and inserted them into the armscythes.

Next step was to add the fur trimming – the plate states that the jacket was trimmed with Persian lamb – nowadays either next to impossible to purchase or way over my budget – but I was lucky enough to find a vintage jacket made from panels of alternating Persian lamb and knitted wool. Perfect! All I had to do was to cut alongside the knitted bits – and the wool made it so much easier to attach to the jacket as well!


The jacket


Pinning and hand-stitching  the trim

Almost there! The collar was next – It was decorated with the braid, pad stitched with buckram and added to the coat.

All that remained was to add the hooks to close the jacket and then to finish the seams.

The inside seams were laid flat, overcast with cotton thread and then a waiststay (velvet ribbon here), was added on top of the ribbon. Bones were fitted in grosgrain castings with silk thread flossing.

The armscythe was bound in more grosgrain ribbon


And then, ‘suddenly’, after  about 95 hours of work, it was done! (almost, as I mentioned earlier on – I ran out of the picot braid whilst in Finland so the bottom edge of the coat  doesn’t feature it in the photos – the rest was added when I came back home:-) )


The hat was again a very fortunate vintage find in matching Persian lamb – I added a velvet bow and ostrich feather as a decoration 🙂

The setting in Muotkan Maja was perfect (you can see the photos from our last shoot there a year ago here). Finnish Lapland does offer a rather amazing photographic conditions!

As it was a tad chilly (on the day of the shoot it was -15 degrees – not the coldest by any means, but not summer temperatures either), so I wore the outfit over a mixture of modern and historical attire, (alas, baggage allowance over the plane meant no fancy shoes, etc, either). I wore a thermal vest, petticoat and pantaloons, corset, and a black cotton petticoat, (in the same style as this one from our stock). See the results below!

1893 Winter Outfit -  March 03, 2016 - 33

1893 Winter Outfit -  March 03, 2016 - 5

1893 Winter Outfit -  March 03, 2016 - 35

1893 Winter Outfit -  March 03, 2016 - 43

And with the staff of Muotka lodge!

1893 Winter Outfit -  March 03, 2016 - 44


The secrets underneath….

1893 Winter Outfit -  March 03, 2016 - 8

I must say it was all very different to what I wore there on everyday basis – a few holiday snaps below…




Altogether – I love my new jacket!!!!   Also, I have already another braided one planned; braid is addictive…

I wore the jacket for the market last weekend, this time over all the correct undergarments, and with my lovely Tavistock boots from American Duchess!


Hope you enjoyed the post and the pictures!


dressmaking thang – Prior Attire

photogrpahy – Timelight Photographic

location – Muotkanmaja Wilderness lodge



…now, what to make for our next visit to the Arctic??? 🙂



17 thoughts on “1893 Braided Jacket

  1. You are so talented! This Jacket is stunning, what dedication but the results are so worth all the hard work you look absolutely fabulous! (LOL) I really enjoy your posts and the way you share your process – it is so generous.

  2. Wow! That puts the amount of braid trim on my jacket to shame! What a fantastic amount of work. The overlapping diamond section of the back where all the swoops come together is simply amazing with so many overlapping pieces of soutache. It’s lovely!


  3. Pingback: 1893 Braided Jacket – craftybitsblog

  4. Pretty awesome work with the braid! And the whole ensemble is fabulous. It makes it even more special that you wore it in my home country (allthough in another end of the country than were I love, but still ).
    Colour choice was perfect!

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