This jacket is one of the most beautiful pieces I’ve ever sewn. It is the Vintage Pattern Lending Library’s 1912 Project from Le Mode Illustre, pattern #0189, the Ladies Mantle.
As you can see from the photos, the Mantle is an open-front jacket with three-quarter length sleeves. It has shirred trim around the entire edge, including the sleeve edges. There is one main pattern piece, which is cut for a left and a right side, and a Gusset, which the sewer is instructed to cut four.
I am an advanced sewer, so when I found this pattern is sized for a 36″ bust and, as mentioned in my previous post, http://vpll1912project.org/2012/03/16/ladies-spring-mantle-fitting/ I wanted the Mantle to fit me, and was more than willing to make the alterations. I used the pattern and altered according to my measurements. The changes turned out to make the fit exactly right, so I feel the pattern is true to the size stated.
The Mantle in the illustration has a different shape than the pattern makes up to be, so I elongated the back to a more flattering line, while still maintaining the original shape. I feel it made the Mantle more closely match the illustration. This can be seen in the pictures on my previous post. My alterations were for fit, so the Mantle would look the same on me as it did on the illustration.
The instructions were, at times, confusing. It was not clear on how to insert the gussets, and incorrect stitching lines marked on the Gusset pattern were a distraction. Removing the two extraneous stitching lines from the Gusset pattern, and inserting a diagonal stitching line would be very helpful. Instructions for placement of the trim were a little vague in spots, but overall they were adequate.
I liked everything about this pattern. It is a deceivingly simple line which yields elegant results. The finished Mantle looks like a couture piece. I made this out of a dusty-blue cotton velvet, one of the recommended fabrics on the pattern instructions. Although the lining is polyester, it is the perfect shade to complement the blue.
Besides the alterations, I changed how I applied the trim. After reading of several sewers who used different methods to attach the trim, I decided that the thickness of the velvet would be better handled in a single layer, rather than a tube. I also decided not to use any batting between the trim and the mantle.
I cut my velvet on the bias 2 1/2″ wide using a continuous bias method to come up with 9 1/3 yards of bias. I sewed a row of gathering stitches 1/4″ from both long edges. Then, with right sides together (the bulk of the trim strip laying above the placement line) and matching my gathering stitches to the marked placement line of the Mantle, arranged the shirring in a reasonably full manner. (I used approx 5 yards of the bias for the Mantle front – from side seam, around neck edge, and back to the other side seam. After all the trimming was finished, I have just under 2 yards of the bias left.) I basted and stitched the trim to the mantle. Then, flipping the trim to the right side, I used steam, a needle board, and a tailor clapper to coerce the trim into submission and get it to lie fairly flat (actually just pointed in the proper direction!).
Once I was fairly happy with the results, I shirred the bottom of the trim and basted it to the bottom of the Mantle. In trimming the sleeves, I noticed that the inside of curves need to be more tightly gathered, as that gathering will be spread out on the corresponding outside curve of the trim.
I used the bag method to attach the lining.
Once the Mantle was right side out, I could see the two layers of velvet (one gathered) were greatly overcoming all my attempts to keep them turned under at the hem. I again applied a needle board, steam, and a clapper. This helped but not as much as I wanted, so I also reinforced the hem with pick-stitches along the edges to keep the lining tucked away. I did a second row of pick-stitches at the placement line of the trim, hiding them in the shirring seam, just to ensure that the lining kept it’s place.
I would recommend this pattern to anyone who has intermediate skills or a beginner who loves a bit of a challenge. The bias cut of most of the seams can be a bit tricky and the trim poses a bit of a challenge, but more finicky than difficult. But it gives such a rewarding result!
In conclusion, I love this pattern and love the finished piece. I think the velvet looks beautiful with the shirred edge setting off the nap and reflecting the light in different directions. The bottom of the Mantle has a slight flare, and I think the weight and body of the velvet shirring on the edge adds to this, giving it just a beautiful drape. I would be perfect over a LBD.