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18th Century Jacket Workshop

June 15 @ 9:00 am - June 16 @ 5:00 pm

$20 – $150

Join us for a 2-day workshop in 18th-century women’s jacket construction!

Put your own modern twist on the garment or create a bespoke piece using historically accurate construction methods. Jackets were “undress” wear in the 18th century and the silhouette of the jacket used in the workshop will be the creative starting point for your own designer garment. Included in the workshop are: the jacket pattern, instructions, muslin for fitting, lunch, and pattern grading instructions. On Saturday evening, opt-in for the dinner and share a special meal cooked 18th-century style for the group.


Learn how to make your own historic 18th-century ladies’ jacket – or an haute couture fashion design of your own – at the 2019 Woman’s Jacket Workshop, presented by the Monmouth County Historical Association (MCHA).  This two-day event is the latest in a series of MCHA workshops on making authentic colonial period clothing.  Participants will learn how to re-create a woman’s jacket, circa 1710, that is part of a museum collection in England, but will be able to render any kind of finished coat they may want to make.

“People come to our sewing workshops for many different reasons,” said Meg Sharp Walton, executive director, MCHA.  “Many are people who love vintage clothes and designs, and the sense of fulfillment that comes from making your own garments.  People who want authentic outfits for historical re-enactments are regular attendees.  Others are younger people into cosplay or taking their Halloween costumes to another level.  Some are creative types looking to enhance their skills with fabrics and designs, and every workshop brings out people who are simply curious about how clothes were made by hand hundreds of years ago.”

The 2019 MCHA Woman’s Jacket Workshop is scheduled for Saturday and Sunday, June 15 and 16, from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., at Taylor-Butler House, 127 King’s Highway, in Middletown, N.J.  Free parking is available.  Participants receive a booklet with full-size 1710 jacket pattern, instructions, muslin fabric for sizing and fitting, the history of the jacket, and examples of old sewing stitches.   Attendees bring sewing implements, whether hand implements or machines, fashion and lining fabrics, threads, and basic sewing tools such as scissors*. Continental breakfast and lunch are provided.  An optional outdoor fireside dinner is planned for Saturday night if enough participants are interested.  Tickets are $125 for members and $150 for non-members.


“This is another example of how MCHA helps to sustain important cultural traditions while providing immersive educational experiences for people of all ages,” said Ms. Walton.


The workshop will be led by Pati Githens, outreach manager for MCHA.  Ms. Githens has more than 30 years’ experience sewing and teaching about clothing, home accessories, and quilts. She conducts a monthly MCHA sewing group, where she encourages participants to challenge themselves with new techniques or ideas. Incorporating her research, technical writing, and illustration skills, her MCHA workshops have focused on 18th-century fashions, materials, and construction methods, with brief forays into other time periods, such as the 1850s and the 1920s.


“Today’s woman’s jackets come in all shapes and styles, from bombers and bikers to boleros and denim, but they all date back to the very first waistcoats that women began to wear in the bustle and hoop dress era, the 17th and 18th centuries,” said Ms. Githens.  “The earliest woman’s jackets were derived from men’s riding dress, cut to go over full skirts instead of breeches.  Over time, a variety of outerwear jackets and fitted waistcoats had become commonplace for women in Europe and the American Colonies.”


The Woman’s Jacket Workshop will be like an old-time sewing circle and takes place at one of the MCHA historical houses, Taylor-Butler House (1853) for the perfect atmosphere.  Participants will start with a pattern derived from diagrams of an early 18th-century silk jacket that is part of the garments collection at Snowhill Manor, an accredited museum in Gloucestershire, England.  The group will learn authentic techniques for sizing and creating this jacket as practiced in the 18th century, but participants may use sewing machines or modern tools as they desire.


“Everyone will learn how to make the jacket that is in the museum, but from there, people will be able to render their jacket however they please, using modern elements such as snaps or zippers, different fabrics, and contemporary style cuts,” said Ms. Githens. “It’s a chance to learn about the history of fashion, create a fine garment literally from whole cloth, and walk away with a new jacket that will not only be a perfect fit, but also the unique vision of each person who makes one.”


Space at the Woman’s Jacket Workshop is limited, so call (732) 462-1466 today to reserve your place.


Specific details of the jacket that participants will study are as follows, from the Snowhill Manor web site (http://www.nationaltrustcollections.org.uk/object/1348745):


Large multi-colored design of flowers and leaves with a stylised framework. Damasked ground in bunting yellow. 1711, French or English. Bodice and upper sleeves lined cream silk, lower sleeves lined bleached linen. Fitted bodice, hip-length pleated skirt. Wide front opening (over waistcoat). Pointed waistline center back. Skirt pleated center back, gored and pleated at sides. 2 small pocket slits. Sleeves set in, long curbed at the elbow, opening at the wrist. Lining silk mounted onto lining before construction. All edges trimmed with a wide pleated band of white patterned net edged with colored silk ribbon.

* Attendees also should plan to bring their own wax, marking pen/pencil, pins, measuring tape, thimbles, and any other favorite sewing notions, and extra machine needles and an extension cord if using a machine.


June 15 @ 9:00 am
June 16 @ 5:00 pm
$20 – $150
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Taylor-Butler House
127 Kings Highway
Middletown, NJ 07748 United States
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(732) 462-1466 x11

Monmouth County Historical Association

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