The Jacobites sought to restore the House of Stuart to the British throne. Staging rebellions in Scotland in 1715, 1719 and 1745, they attempted to overthrow the ruling Hanoverian Royal Family. The uprising of 1745 is the time period portrayed by a lovely client, who contacted me in the summer of 2021 with a request for a clansman´s jacket and waistcoat to complete his outfit.
This is not a period that I was overly familiar with, so research was needed! It turns out there is not so much information available in terms of what people actually wore. The Scottish highlanders did very much follow their own traditions in terms of clothing, rather than the current mainstream fashion of the time.
I only had a handful of pictures to go on, together with a few guidelines from my client. The style required has a waistcoat that is a little bit longer than the jacket. The jacket itself being of a rather short type, whereas mainstream mens fashion of the time featured long cut jackets.
an example of 1740s mens clothing, from the collection of the V&A
Based on my research I drafted the patterns from scratch to fit my client´s measurements. I based the cut on what a common man would have worn, as the Highlands were a poor area. Very few original clothing of the period has survived.
This Scottish woolen twill-weave tartan coat, sometimes called the “Culloden coat”, is an example of a Highland jacket around 1740-46. This coat from the Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum in Glasgow served as an inspiration for the sleeve design I chose for the jacket.
Another important factor in the creation of this costume was the impossibility of personal fittings! With my client being based in Germany I would have normally made a fitting possible, but that is not so very easy in pandemic times! So this project had to do without us being physically in a room together. Two mockups and some Skype fittings later I had the pattern tweaked to a point I was happy with.
My client ordered his materials straight from Scotland and a parcel with beautiful tweed and tartan wool was delivered to my studio.
I chose heavy unbleached linen for the linings and metal buttons for both garments.
The final pieces were finished with hand stitching and handmade buttonholes.
I absolutely loved working on this project, as it gave me opportunity to research and learn new things, whilst creating something beautiful and functional for my client.
I hope you enjoyed this post!
Feel free to leave me a comment or get in touch via the contact form.
All the best,