Saturday, August 04, 2012

1840-50 Boy's plush velvet jacket...

Unlike girl's clothing throughout the 19th Century that can easily be dated from the different styles and construction elements, boy's wear is a totally different story.  Everyone loves to see the skeleton suits, but early 19th c children's wear for boys kind of gets defined by that one garment....and there is so much more to what the wore.
  Age played a big part in what Mother dressed her sons in~ once past toddling around in gowns like their sisters, they were put into button on trousers and shirts...still clearly child looking~ not at all mature looking in the slightest. I call this the cute stage.  What comes next is somewhat of a mystery~ for you cant really say, this year, boys were wearing it really did depend on the child, the family's position in society, their geographical location...but generally speaking, American boy's were dressed in full pants, or trousers, shirt and some sort of tunic or jacket~ the older the got, the more fashionably cut the jackets were~ and more accessorized~ as in did young master wear vest and cravat ect ect. Tunics came into play around the 1850s to1860s~ and are not what I am focusing on in this post...What the heck am I trying to introduce you ask?   Well, the very tightly fit jackets of the 1840's that most young boys wore around the ages of 9-12ish, exactly like the one worn by the handsome young man in the above daguerreotype.

  I would wager to mark that 80% of the 1840  to early 1850 daguerreotypes I have seen with middle aged boys, have them wearing this same tight fitting, long sleeve jacket.  They are nearly always dark, meaning the colors vivid~ not necessarily black at all. They are commonly worn with white collar and some type of neck ribbon tied into a bow. What isn't common about them, however, are surviving examples.

  This jacket in my collection is nearly identical to the one in the first image~ quite enough so that a person could say it could very well be the exact jacket. Hand stitched from a wonderfully soft silk velvet in a deep royal blue hue with gorgeous gilt brass buttons down the front. The neckline is bound in blue silk, and both front welted pockets are expertly fashioned~ I have made welted pockets and they are extremely difficult to get the nice flat finish on~this fact, together with the super even stitching on the buttonholes makes me want to say this was a professionally made up jacket for a well off young lad...perhaps son of a Sea Captain, as it comes from a New England estate.
 The last button is missing as you can see, but often in images, the last button is left undone, so perhaps it was taken off...or fiddled with so much it fell off. (Boys can be seen fiddling with the undone button in some images).  Where ever it went, it went long ago, as there is not near the button shadow as the other remaining buttons. (Button shadow is the ring marked into the velvet around the button, made by it twirling around)

 This fellow from Rhode Island has his last button undone, and wears a spiffy folded down collar. Note how tight the fit at the wrist is.
  The sleeves are cut in 3 parts, a single upper, and 2 part backside with seam diagonally just below the elbow
  Fully lined in a fine wool blend, (but NOT wadded) this jacket was most likely worn in the fall months, or late spring.
 Sleeves are fully lined right down to the cuff
  This young man is wearing a starched collar with his jacket, a pert silk bow and has a bit of what~nots sticking out of his front welted pocket. Kind of actually looks like a sling shot....and by his expression, I could see him wingin a rock at somebody!
 This is the back of the cuff~ no cuff really, just a slit to ease the hand thru and keep the nice tight fit at the wrist
  The magnificent welted pocket~ do click on and enlarge!

  Boy's things are so hard to come by~ they wore them out...they didn't care to save a favorite outfit like little girls wanted to..........their jackets werent made from pretty silks or printed cottons.....wools, worsteds, velvets~ all very plain in cut, and so very hard to find. They really are wonderful to study tho, and if one is trying to replicate a period look for a son who is past breeching age, a jacket of this cut would be perfect, and would be worn with full legged floor length trousers

1 comment:

Sherri Farley said...

All I can think of to say is is WOW! Beautifully made. Very informative, enjoyable post.