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Jacob Issacs by Ralph Earl, 1788. Dayton Art Institute

No, I still haven’t written to the museum in Sweden– I had fabric shopping to do. Well, not had to, but when someone offers to take you to a new den of iniquity crack house fabric store you haven’t seen before, you go.

Reader, I scored. Mr S will have a new fabulous and toasty waistcoat thanks to a 5/8 of a yard remnant of the coziest Italian double faced wool I have ever petted. It should be a kitten! Mr Isaacs here has a lovely black waistcoat and while I cannot achieve that fabulousness without a new pattern (sigh) and I think that waistcoat is silk, you get the general green-and-black idea. Mr S totally has that hat.

Coat, French, 1790s. MMA 1999.105.2

But in thinking about the Spencer issue (and yes, I scored some on-sale broadcloth so I can make another one on the way to cutting into that K&P wool), I asked Mr Cooke about clasps, since the Spencers I’m interested in are so very clearly grounded in menswear generally, and uniforms particularly. The answer was what I’d expected: buttons and buttonholes or braid loops on dragoons’ and hussars’ coats, hooks and eyes sandwiched between shell and lining on center-front closing uniform coats.

So I went back to look at menswear, because somewhere the phrase “miniature frock coat” rattled in my head, and I knew I wanted to re-draft the pattern for the front anyway, to get closer to the high stand and fall collar of the Swedish original.

The other collection that’s extremely useful is the LACMA collection, because they have patterns up on their website.

Man's Banyan Textile: China; robe: the Netherlands, Textile: 1700–50; robe: 1750–60 (M.2007.211.797)

Man’s Banyan
Textile: 1700–50; robe: 1750–60 (M.2007.211.797)

I’ve already started to crib a new two-part sleeve pattern from a frock coat pattern, so now I think the next step to getting the look I want is to crib from the LACMA banyan pattern. It’s earlier than the Spencer by some 30 years or more, but the neckline looks like a better place to start.

And, bonus, along the way I’ll learn more about menswear to the ultimate benefit of those guys I sew for.