Sunday, August 31, 2014

Pink Caraco! (HSF #16)

Confession: I cheated slightly on this challenge. The guidelines indicated that one should select a term from the Historical Fashion and Textile Glossary on the Dreamstress's website.  I chose a term that was absent, but that I have been interested in, confused by, and ultimately felt deserved some vindication from terminology misuse, abuse, and un-use!  So I first dug into the term, then began working on the project itself.
Pictured with a white cotton voile petticoat and kercheif

The Challenge: #16 – Terminology
Term: Caraco (Discussed here!)
Fabric: Pink silk taffeta, white voile lining and trim
Pattern: Drafted from a mishmosh of sources, based on extants and images
Year: 1780 
Notions:  Pink silk thread, white cotton thread
How historically accurate is it?  Rather good.  I am sure there are some bloopers with how I did the pattern itself, as I didn't have the *exact* thing I wanted to recreate in a gridded or even sketched out version.  I goofed the closure, as I already discussed.  The fabric is correct to the period, and particularly correct for this garment, which is often described in plates as taffeta.  
It looks much less lumpy over stays

The trim imitates the pinked white linen or cotton trim on fashion plates, as well; I procured an antique pinking tool, but it was dull and I haven't had a chance to get it sharpened, so I faux-pinked the edges using my origami plus pinking shears method (patent pending...)

Originals and plates typically have trim like this running the entire perimeter of the garment, so once I get the real pinking in progress, I plan to re-do and complete the trim.

The back pleats create the characteristic shape and will look less flat and blah when worn over stays and a bum pad.  As is they kind of look deflated.  My dress form doesn't have enough junk in the trunk.

Finally, the caraco was completely handsewn with a combination of backstitch, running stitch, and whipstitch.  You can't see in this picture very well, but I'm very proud of the eensy, barely visible topstitching in the shoulder piece.

Another confession: I tacked a kerchief to the neckline.  My toddler loves nothing more than undressing me in public, and this will, I hope, foil her.

Hours to complete: A lot.  Twenty would be a conservative estimate.
First worn: Not worn yet!  I plan to wear it for a Ladies' Garden Stroll at a large reenactment in a couple of weeks.
Total Cost: The silk was $20 a yard, but I only used about a yard and change (I bought two I can make another pretty!)  I'll call it $25 for the silk, $15 for the cotton (which I already had, but that's roughly what it all would run you, $10 for notions (had to buy thread, and insisted on silk), so $55 at the end of the day.

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