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The Swedish Spencer

The Swedish Spencer

Because I lack good sense, I have fixated upon this Spencer from a museum in Lund. I have inflicted it upon people who have no particular interest in women’s wear, and extracted opinions on the fabric. Shameless, really. But I love the simplicity of this garment, and have therefore closed my eyes, written a check for some Kochan & Phillips bottle green broadcloth so that I can pet the wool to cheer myself up while patterning this beast.

To be fair, I have a Spencer half-patterned, and need “only” to work on the sleeves and collar. I have a sense, from examining a friend’s frock coat, of how to construct this stand-and-fall collar. Pad stitching, here I come. I enjoy the challenge of sleeves and hope this will not break me of that. So far, I have not been able to find a photo of the back of this lovely garment, so I’ll have to extrapolate from other examples.

I’d thought about making this for the Historical Sew Fortnightly # 21: Colour Challenge Green, but it took me too long to commit to the K&P wool, and at that price, you can bet I’ll make a careful muslin. While I’m not certain when or where I will wear this, I already know that I will wear it with my black petticoat and green boots, and will have to make a shirt to go under the petticoat, which will be its own challenge.  

Puffy sleeves aren’t my thing, and they won’t fit under these trim Spencer sleeves, but there is at least one extant example of a long-sleeved shirt-like garment. I expect I will feel about chemisettes much the way I feel about caps…but in the end, it will be worth all the tiny hems and the muslins. After all, the Spencer has a huge bonus: it closes with clasps so there are no buttonholes!