By Mary Johns
We recently did a fundraiser for Courage, New Hampshire, at which 6 of our cast members were there in costume. Sarah Pine Wheedle Courage was one of them, played by Alexandra Oliver. She has not yet had a jacket or gown to fit her properly, and the last one I made her I really messed up. I overestimated how shortwaisted to make it, and it is 2 inches too short in the waist and sleeve. Oops! So I decided it was time to get her into something that fits! We have successfully made her stays that fit, we did the cardboard mock up and she actually wore them for one whole day of filming, then we used those to make the real stays. So we had the underpinnings right and just needed to get the top layer right! I was hoping to make a longer skirted jacket, but I barely eeked out a short skirted one. Luckily we already had a stomacher made of the same fabric. I have to say, I really love how the print matched up in the back! I was really happy with how it turned out, and Alex loved it too, which was definitely a bonus!
I used some of the techniques I learned making Jim’s frockcoat, and they make things turn out so much nicer. Go figure, they knew what they were doing! Please excuse the gaudy lining, I knew it wouldn’t show, and I have lots of calico that needs to be used up for something. The outside and the lining were both sewn (on the machine, gasp! I know!), then I did a hidden hem stitch on all the outside edges of the jacket and hemmed the lining on all edges. I hemmed the lining a little bit bigger then the outside. I then set the lining into the jacket and hand stitched it in. This way the lining can never roll to the outside of the jacket (that has been a problem before, since we laundry much more frequently then our forebears did, and apparently we were constructing our garments wrong!). The eyelets are all done by hand, and there is horsehair lining both front edges of the jacket where the eyelets are.
The brown block print is from http://www.burnleyandtrowbridge.com, they don’t have this print anymore, but they do have some others that are darling! I got it to use for the stomacher used in the scene below. It is from Courage, New Hampshire, Episode 2.
I reused the stomacher for this jacket and we’ll see if anyone catches it!