October 29, 2016

A Little Sacque for a Little Gent

"What good is the warmth of summer, 
without the cold of winter to give it sweetness." 
- John Steinbeck 

After a record-breaking heatwave of a summer, it feels more like winter than fall out there!  And with the colder weather, my thoughts turned to our youngest interpreter of the village...at 15 months and head-to-toe cuteness, I couldn't bear the thought of our favorite little gent being cold.  So, after talking with his lovely mommy, I set out to draft a mid-century sacque coat from his measurements.  

Sacque (noun) - an infant’s short jacket that fastens at the neck.

The little gent's favorite color is orange, so I did my best to include that in the design.  Made from a really nice, dark brown wool and the softest cotton flannel that I've ever felt, the sacque coat ties with a light orange, vintage ribbon remnant.  

Materials: dark brown wool, soft cotton flannel,
and a light orange, vintage ribbon remnant. 

Here are a few of the historical images that were used for inspiration: 

CDV of two Civil War children.
Photograph by Whipple.  Boston, MA.
(Image via: Ebay seller - Somewhere In Time)

CDV of a young boy, c.1860.  France.
(Image via: Past to Present)

Boy's jacket from Godey's Lady Book, c.1858
(Image via: World Turn'd Upside Down)

And our version: 


Inside.  (Yes, those plaids match perfectly!)


Detail shots:

For a while, I've been obsessed with children's clothing!  So thank you, Liz, for letting me experiment!  They're just so tiny, so cute...going into the project, at such a small scale, I thought children's clothing would be a breeze.  Well, I've discovered that they take just as much work as adult clothing, and can be just as fiddly to pattern.  Note to self, the mock up should not be skipped next time.  In cutting, I apparently was a little too eager with the scissors and made the armholes too small.  Hmm.  Next year, we'll have to try again!

The sacque was constructed in two pieces - an inner and outer shell -
so that any seams would be enclosed.  

Because of the scale, the coat is mostly hand stitched and entirely hand finished for historical use.  I did use a machine for the four interior seams and to baste the inner and outer shells along the outer edges, none of which are visible after completion.

I made 1/2" bias tape to enclose the raw edges.
Tiny whip stitches to make sure it stays in place.

Inside view.  I like playing with plaids!

Ribbon ties added at the neckline.
The neckband is an inch and 3/8ths, cut on the grain for stability. 

Both sleeves are also bound with 1/2" bias.

Finally, for the photo shoot, Teddy was more than happy to model: 

Teddy's a little shorter than the young gent...

Enjoy the new sacque coat, my little friend!


  1. This is adorable, Anneliese! It sort of looks like the bedgowns worn by working women in the 18th C. Since kids often worn mini versions of adult dress, do you know if women still wore them this late in the 19th C?

    1. Hello Kate, thank you! It does look like an 18th century bedgown...I hadn't made that connection before, neat!

      That's a good question. I've seen similarly cut (arms one with the body) styles in early short gowns, 1800-1840, but I'm not sure about (adult women's) mid-century sacque coats. They seem to have set-in sleeves from the pictures and examples I've seen...I'll have to do more research as I'm intrigued now!