Wool Jacket

Flemish jackets

I decided that I would go ahead and go for the lower class jacket.  I hemmed and hawed about whether I wanted to make one in my last post, but made up my mind.  I had life size print outs made of the two jackets in Janet Arnold’s Patterns of Fashion 4.


Since I had two printed, I marked one with hearts and the other with stars, to avoid mixing pieces together.

I wanted to try a method of construction that I heard about: sewing each piece of your pattern individually, and whip stitching the finished pieces together.


Once turned, the various pieces were all fluffy and wrong, so I ironed them into flat submission.

Ta-da!  All flat.  The cream colored fabric is a thin wool fabric (likely with a hint of some other fabric mixed in), lined with a red linen.
Here are all the happy pieces!  The only one I didn’t do was the little cuff piece, since the lower class versions do not appear to have them.

I whip stitched all the pieces together, going through both layers of fashion and lining fabric as I went.

The big plus to this method: forever flat seams.


Now really, I should have figured out right here that I was in for a big disappointment when I was done.  The sleeve went on to my arm, but it was not going all the way up to the shoulder, and was quite tight already.  But still, I trucked on.

I was a little worried that the hip gores were not going to fit properly into the main jacket pieces, but they did with minimal fuss.

Another plus to this method: super sexy gore points.  They can be tricky sometimes, especially when sewn by machine, but these came out beautifully.

Shoulder wings!  Sort of silly looking though, aren’t they?


Ah, much better!

Eyes for my Wool Jacket

So I had pretty solidly figured out by this point that this jacket was way too small for me.  This is the project that taught me that mockups are always a good idea.  Well, I still wanted to enter it into my barony’s Arts and Sciences competition, so I put on the eyelets and hooks.

Jacket in A&S Competition

I made a simple torso display form for the competition, using wire and paper.  Afterwards, the too-small-jacket was given to a friend who fit it a little better (although it was still a bit tight!).

I try to post my projects in an easy to read, dress diary type format. When I first started learning to sew historical outfits, I found dress diaries to be the most helpful learning tools. I want to contribute my projects in the hopes that they will prove just as useful for others.

6 comments on “Wool Jacket
  1. Simon says:

    Excellent work! I was wondering about the method of whip stitching the finished parts together. Are there any period sources that show us that this was how they did?

    • Morgan Donner says:

      I believe that this doublet/jerkin is one of the most clear examples of a garment where the various pieces were individually lined, although it is hard to say if the outer green pieces were also individually hemmed then assembled with a whip-like stitch. I can defineatly say that my method of sewing each piece with a sewing machine, flipping them right side out, then whipping them together is incorrect. Ignoring the sewing machine part of that, I have not seen much evidence for sewing something ‘inside out’ then flipping so the correct fabric is outside.

      • Simon says:

        Would you say that whipstitching is more correct for sewing rather the backstitch or is it something that we don’t know completely?

  2. Simon says:

    Well, the reason I am asking is that, of course I am always trying to improve my own period handiwork, I have noticed Kass McGowan from ReconstructingHistory and the book ‘The Tudor Tailor’ mention that parts can be whipstitched together rather sewn inside out with a backstitch. I have only used the whipstitch as a form of overlock on the edges but it makes a lot of sense to tuck in the seam allowances so they are out of the way and then whipstitch the parts together. As you noted above, gores can look really good this way.

    However, neither Kass nor The Tudor Tailor write how they know this, only that it is period, so if you know how widely this technique was used (and when) I would really appreciate it.

  3. Sue says:

    Hi, couple of things to note – whipstitching the pieces together makes alterations for sizing much much easier. Given that clothing back then would have to last some time and many women were pregnant/not pregnant/pregnant etc allowance for adjustment is a big plus.
    Also when you use hook and eye closure like that, alternate between hook/eye/hook – the garment will stay closed.

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