Every Monday, I take a look at a Victorian jacket and skirt and learn a little more about it. See previous Mystery Mondays here: 1 - 2 - 3 - 4 - 5
I could write a love song the inside of this jacket. It is so beautiful to me that I would just look at it for a while, study its features like I'd study a landscape before painting it.
Someone thought about this piece and made it to last. They (I'm assuming it was a she, actually) built-- constructed-- it to be sturdy and wearable. It is changeable, too, and renewable. From the extra seam allowances to the removable collar and cuffs, this was a piece built to last, change, and grow with the wearer. Maybe more than one. It was carefully repaired in well-worn place -- perhaps twice; there are two different kinds of black thread reinforcing the spot-- and shows evidence of tailoring and alteration.
Someone respected fabric. Someone took the time to think about how this should fit and how it should look and what was the right way to do it. Someone respected the wearer of this piece, if not as a person with the right to suffrage and economic equality, as a person who had a right to wear something of quality.
Hand finished seams and everything. Maybe it wasn't a bigger deal back then because everything was hand-finished and most were home-made to some degree, so quality and care were a necessity instead of an exception. And though many pieces were made and finished in homes, plenty of homes were awful places to work. It is hard not to romanticize this concept, and I'm trying my best.
There are many reasons why we don't wear clothes of such quality today, and all of them are valid. They make sense. But there's something you just can't compare to the feeling of holding or. better yet, wearing, a piece that you know - you can tell - is the result of love, care, and thoughtful work.
I am determined to make more of my clothes. When I do, I want to put the love into them that results in pieces as well-made and well-maintained as this 1880s jacket.
Though I'll go without the corseted waist, diminished legal rights, and various social limitations that came with it.