Saturday 19 April 2014

An Easter gift for you: Free pattern for a 1848 jacket aka kacabajka, and sewalong

So, the 1848 kacabajka. The one I have a pattern for.

Want that pattern? You can have it. You can have it for free, as a multisize printable PDF.

There are, of course, catches, because I'm by no means a pattern-making expert. But it's free! Well, free provided you don't count additional work as cost. Practically free! You can make yourself a mid-19th century jacket, or one in the style, and you don't have to pay for the pattern, or painstakingly resize it from a tiny draft. That's good, right?

  • The most important catch is that it's derived from a small pattern draft, retaining the original proportions, never tested if it actually goes together (and with no helpful notches), and resized in a possibly very crude percentual manner. One thing I'm about 99,9999% sure is wrong is the sleeve lengths, especially in the larger sizes.
  • And no seam allowances.
  • Another catch is that I turned it into a nice A4-tiled PDF using Adobe Reader's poster printing option and PDF Converter (which "prints" files into PDF). As a result of that, there are no helpful frames around the whole pages, just corner markings. So you'll have to draw the frames yourself if you need them.
  • Oh, and for you folks who don't use A4, it's in A4. Let me know if it's a problem and I'll try to do it in another size as well. If my computer can handle it.
  • And I did not mark the jacket's borders in the multisized patterns, because it would get messy quickly. Kindly mark them yourselves on your own sizes. It's 4 cm wide in the original (which lies between sizes 38 and 40). So you can go with that, eyeball it in particularly different sizes, or you can go with your own design. (Obviously.)
  • Oh, and of course, no pattern for the swirly braiding. I'm still working on that.
  • Also, I've realised that the whole time, I've been working with shorter tails than in the original version (but a tiny bit longer than in mine). So that's what you get.
  • ETA 2022: It's been pointed out - and I did realise this myself at some point and forgot all about it again - that also the "shoulder strap" is too short. That's because Ludmila Tomková was clearly significantly shorter in the torso than (the modern?) average, and I forgot to account for that in the shoulder area at the time I drafted this. Basically - this pattern is far from perfect. I would be able to do it much better now, and am still holding out hope that one day I will.

EDIT: I've found another problem with the pattern-as-is, listed here:

I did mark the grainlines, and the sizes are written there, and the pattern pieces are labeled, so you don't have to wonder so much what goes where. :P :D

Other than all those catches (there really is a lot of them :P), it's pretty much like Print at Home PDF patterns from Burda, including the sizes. I followed their size chart to figure out the differences between sizes, in part because I'm used to it and the metric system, in part because they have the most easily accessible and detailed size charts online.

The sizing of this particular pattern is based on bust measurement and back length; the rest of it is different because, as I've already mentioned, it's in the original proportions. That means narrower waist and wider hips. Basically, measure and figure out what should work for you. Bear in mind that there is supposed to be a gap between the front edges.

Print at 100% or with no resizing. There's a 10 x 10 cm control square on the first page of each PDF, so you can first print only that page to see if it works.

And here they are:

32-34-36-38-40 (14 pages) (EDIT: corrected link - sorry!)

42-44-46-48-50 (20 pages)

Sorry that there are no higher sizes. I saw the increasingly pronounced sleeve lengths and got worried. I'm probably doing something wrong there, but I don't know enough to figure out what.

As you can see, it's really stripped to the basics. It's a basic 1840s to early 1850s jacket, open in front. You certainly don't have to use the pattern to make an exact copy of the 1848 kacabajka above. You even don't have to make a kacabajka of any kind at all. You could actually, I think, adapt it into a modern jacket if you wanted. You can use it as a basis for whatever strikes your fancy (like this awesome jacket!), because it turns out there's a criminal shortage of mid-19th century-style jackets out in the world, and it's high time that became rectified.

And because there are so many wonderful people out there sharing their patterns and tutorials and it's high time I gave something back.

ETA: I've even found this amazing 1860s jacket from the Philadelphia Museum of Art that looks like a dead ringer for this pattern! Possibly with more fullness in the back, unfortunatelly not pictured.

Woman's Jacket, Artist/maker unknown. Possibly made in United States, North and Central America. Date: 1865-1868. Medium: Silk velvet with silk embroidery and machine-made lace. Accession Number: 1988-69-1

If you need to satisfy your curiosity or really, really like the original, or want to know the original length of the tails (ahem), here's the original pattern in full size, including that pointy decorative thingummy on the sleeve border:

Ludmila Tomková's pattern (14 pages)

 * * *

I have this habit of giving names to my patterns. I lifted it from BurdaStyle, when it was still open source and fun; other pattermakers do the same. I did not do it with the PDF files, for the sake of clarity, but I'm going that route in the tags. This style goes down in my records as Ludmila. Because what else?

 * * *

And now that I've demonstrated my painful lack of expertise in pattern making to the whole wide world, anyone up for a sewalong?

I'd like to see if that pattern works for other people. I'd like to see more mid-19th century jackets in the world. I'd like to see what you can do, because there's a good chance you can do something I cannot, and I like learning. Plus there's the slight possibility that I can do something you cannot, and maybe you like learning, too...

I'd like to start something new on my blog, too. Something a bit more community-minded. Which sounds... clichéd. I just would like to try and be more reader-oriented here instead of just playing in my little sandbox, I think.

Let me know if you're up for it. It won't have a strict schedule, because I'm the last person able to stick to it. But I'm thinking there should be some order to it, starting with:
  • the swirly pattern for the border so you can practice your braiding if you want to go that route
  • a general overview (and/or discussion) of what the construction is most likely to be
  • and my / your muslin, including notes on where it does not fit straight from the pattern and why, or how it does not work, or whatever
And because I should go about this properly, here are blog buttons for you:

The jacket there is properly unfinished. Because it's a sewalong and it progresses in steps. And because I could not be bothered to do more of that complicated braiding. I'll have enough of that in the actual sewing.

I haven't figured out how to do that code box that usually accompanies these. I know I've tried it once, following a tutorial, and it did not work. So you'll have to somehow do it yourself. Save the image and then put it on your blog and link from it yourself. Kindly link to the 1848 Jacket Sewalong label, like this:

The HSF Politics challenge I want to make this for is due June 15, so I'd better start soon.

 * * *

All that "free unless you count additional work as cost; practically free" is... surprisingly similar to the message of Easter, when I think about it. Yes, I know it sounds far-fetched, especially with all those catches that are there with my pattern, but bear with me, it's pretty much the way I see it. I'm given life and salvation, for free. Someone did most of the work for me. Now I have to do something with it, too.

Feel free to disregard that, though. It's just that it is Easter, so my mind naturally strays that way.

New beginning is great. Easter is great. I stepped out earlier today to the intense hum of bees in our cherry tree. So it seems this year we'll have many cherries - I certainly would not mind.

The first video I ever uploaded to YouTube. According quality. I don't know why it's all so blue - probably because it's against the sky. Good news is that my camera can do up to 720p, so if I ever decide to do a video tutorial or something, I seem to have the equipment.

Anyway, I wanted to share that buzz of new life along with the pattern.


  1. I guess all those bees are an excellent sign for the amount of fruit! :) Of course here, we are coming into Autumn, although today is beautiful.
    I love the jacket idea - I can't join in right now but I love the challenge of that braiding! HAve you linked this onto the HSF page?

    1. So far, on Facebook. I'll figure out where else to post it tomorrow. :-) Because, um, it already is tomorrow...

  2. Krásná móda a krásné slovo - kacabajka... Myslím, její střih je velmi lichotivý postavě a že by se i teď hodila k vhodnému oblečení. Líbí se mi ta oblá ramena a zdůraznění siluety. Hezkou Velikonoční neděli.

    1. Však si přesně dělám zálusk, že to bude i takový můj letní kabátek. :-) Díky, a vám i s kočičákem taky přeju krásné Velikonoce!

  3. Okay...this is so out of my sewing league....what the heck, might as well give it a try.

    1. So, welcome to the madness! :-) One has to start somewhere. I'm honestly not sure if the braiding is not out of my scope either, but you don't have to do that if you don't feel like it!

  4. Has the sew along started yet? I would love to join. My era is Regency but this is so lovely and unique that I want to give it a try. I even think it would be suitable for modern wear perhaps to church?

  5. I've been too busy with other things (my sister's kathak skirt from my latest post, etc.), but now I have a long weekend, so I think tomorrow or on Saturday, the next post will be up. :-)
    I'm also thinking suitable for modern wear as well. Just be warned that my preliminary quick paper pattern testing makes me think it requires a corset / stays underneath, as it is, with the bust being higher than modern bras usually are.
    So, welcome to the sewalong. :-)

  6. Thank you for this! Really appreciated.