Quite a while ago I made a Victorian Fan Skirt, which I generally wear dancing with just a T-shirt. However, I began to feel that it would be nice to make a matching jacket using the left over material. It could then be used as more of a complete costume, instead of just a dancing skirt.
I did not have very much material left, so I thought a bolero jacket would be the easiest option, as it used the least fabric.
Bolero jackets had been quite popular since the 1850’s and 60’s, and continued to be so through to early Edwardian times. They differ from the warm winter jacket and coats, that clearly were designed for warmth. Instead they seem to be more of a decorative fashion.
I used a pattern from Authentic Victorian Fashion Patterns, edited by Kristina Harris. This pattern book is a reproduction of patterns that were published in the popular dressmaker’s journal, The Voice of Fashion. The patterns are all authentic 1890’s patterns and cover a wide range of women’s clothing.
I graded the original pattern up and then made the necessary adjustments according to my measurements.
This jacket was made from the same materials as my Victorian Fan Skirt, with blue cotton outer and white cotton broadcloth lining.
The construction of this bolero jacket was very simple, as there was no sleeves, no collar and no fastenings. It was also fairly simple to fit without doing a mock-up.
Step One: I began by sewing the side seams together in the outer fabric. Then I sewed the side seams of the lining together.
Step Two: Then the outer and the lining were placed right sides together and sewn around the outer edges. In the picture below you can see that the only part left unsewn is the shoulder seams.
The curves are clipped and then the jacket is turned the right way and pressed well.
Step Three: The shoulder seams can now be sewn. The outer layer is sewn first with the sewing machine, and then the raw edges of the lining are folded in and handsewn down.
Step Four: Embroidery is one embellishment that I love to do on my clothes, and this jacket was no exception. I drew a design on the edges and embroidered it with one strand of white DMC cotton in chain stitch.
And here is the finished garment!
Stay tuned for the next post on making a shirtwaist blouse to complete this ensemble!
Sources and Relevant Links
Authentic Victorian Fashion Patterns: A Complete Lady’s Wardrobe, edited by Kristina Harris – buy on Amazon
Pattern for a Bodice with Bolero Front (c. 1896) – at Ladies Treasury
How to make a simple bolero jacket – Youtube tutorial