Monthly Archives: February 2014

A Caraco!

So it’s been a while … I feel like every blog I write starts off like that.

I recently went to the 18th Century Artisan’s Show in Lewisburg, PA. While it’s a sutler event that’s held in a hotel banquet hall, it’s one of my favorite events. The people are awesome, the things they make are absolutely superb, and the setting is really, really comfy. It’s just so luxurious to go to an event where they take orders and deliver food right to your table. Pretty sweet setup.

I made a quick linen caraco for the event. I eyeballed the pattern from Patterns of Fashion. I used some cheap pinkish linen for the outside, and the lining is made from INCREDIBLE thin, fine linen that’s so stiff you’d think it was starched – it’s not, I washed it multiple times. The stiffness of the lining made the caraco go together really nicely.

I put the caraco together by first sewing lining & outer pieces together, then by sewing each segment together. It saved a lot of thread and sewing time, but it was a little more difficult for me to do, without a dress form or anybody to help me fit the caraco. It was also a little difficult when I finally got the pieces together and found that it didn’t fit perfectly. When I’m sewing for myself with no dress form, I find it easier to make a linen lining, try that on, tweak it, and then complete the garment.

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The back came out oddly tight in places, but I love the sleeves. I made them a little puffier at the shoulder, like a 1770s/80s silk robe I saw in a book. I made the elbows straight and long, and then sewed a little linen band to loop them up with in the front – that was taken from a 1780s calico gown I saw somewhere online. Yay for good research …

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I did finally figure out how to keep the point at the center bottom of these bodices flat – the trick is boned stays. Before, when I’d wear a bodice cut like this, I’d sit down, my jumps would warp, and my bodice would fold up. With boned stays, it stays put, even if it’s loosely pinned, thin cloth, unboned … anything. Yay for figuring stuff out!