March 30, 2017

HSM March Challenge: Forest Green Sacque Coat

A couple of weeks ago now, winter storm Stella left us snowed in with a little over two feet of snow!  So, I spent the long, five day(!) weekend sewing a new, 1860s sacque coat.  Made from a forest green wool with a fully quilted, silk interior, and trimmed with black silk bias strips - here's to staying warm in style! 

Inspired part by the blizzard, and part from this past project (here: A Little Sacque for a Little Gent) when I discovered the green wool remnant buried in the stash, I knew a new, better fitting coat was in order.  Plus, it made the perfect project and entry for the March challenge of the Historical Sew Monthly.  

The finished sacque with a vintage fur collar.

Construction Details

Moving right along into the construction details, the sacque's outer shell was cut from a beautiful, forest green wool remnant that was just enough to make a coat.  I did have to narrow the sides and sleeves a bit, as well as cut the sleeves in two pieces.  For warmth, I used a cotton flannel as the interlining, and black silk habitai as the lining and trim.  I also played around with adding velvet or silk twill buttons, but decided against them in the final design.  

Materials:  Forest green wool fashion fabric,
black silk habitai lining & cotton flannel interlining. 

After cutting out each piece - 2 fronts, 2 backs and 4 sleeve pieces - I flat lined the silk with the cotton flannel, using large, hand basting stitches.  Then, I machine quilted large diamonds on each piece.  This process, despite being entirely by machine, probably took the longest of the steps.  

Quilted lining.

Next, I assembled the outer shell and now quilted linings separately to keep all of the seams to the interior.  Joining the layers along the center fronts and neckline with a backstitch, I then prickstitched the seams to keep the lining flat.  Few things make me happier than all of the little hand stitched indents and neat 'n tidy interiors! 

To finish the hem and sleeve ends, I pressed both a narrow edge of the wool and the silk to the inside and prickstitched them in place.  This process also took some time, but was very relaxing.  

I used my favorite trick for setting in the sleeve linings, pressing under the seam allowance and whipstitching them in place:

Armscye interior view.

Armsyce outer view, notice the extra sleeve seam that lines up
with the dropped shoulder seam, and the tiny pleat to ease in the sleeve.

To trim the sacque coat, I pieced together bias strips from the silk habitai scraps and, using an uneven backstitch, applied these to the sleeve ends, at the back neckline and down the center fronts.  

Sleeve detail.

Lots of trim!

I had also planned to continue the trim along the entire hem, much like this extant example, but ran out of silk and steam...

Antique wool & silk velvet jacket, originally sold on ebay.
(The pictures were only available through pinterest: source)

(Image via: Pinterest)

Lastly, I added five metal hooks and thread eyes to close:

All in all, I am so pleased with this project!  All of the hand stitching makes me so happy, and I am thrilled that my understanding of garment construction has come this far...I can't wait to tackle the next project.  Oh and to wear the new sacque coat out and about for the first time! 

Completed Project Shots



Entry Details

The Challenge:  March: the Great Outdoors - Get out into the weather and dirt with an item for outdoor pursuits.

Material:  Forest green wool, cotton flannel for interlining, black silk habitai as lining and trim

Pattern:  My own, based off a previous attempt with modifications.  

Year:  Mid-19th century, 1860s

Notions:  Six metal hooks, various spools of black thread (general all purpose, quilting, button)

How historically accurate is it?  Very as a majority of the project is hand stitched with recognizable techniques, minus the machine quilting, which is not visible when worn.  Plus, the pattern was originally scaled from a period plate.  So, let's say 90%? 

Here are some similar sacque styles from historical photographs:

(Image via:  The Barrington House)

(Image via:  Pinterest)

Queen Margherita of Savoy.
(Image via:  Pinterest)

Hours to complete:  Five snow days of continuous work!

First worn:  Not yet...

Total cost:  Pulled from the stash, so I would estimate around $30.


  1. So beautiful! I can't wait to see pictures of you wearing it. Time to bribe Maria!

    1. Thank you, Kaela! You're so right...time to bribe the sister haha!