Civil War Civilian Living History

Interpreting the American Civil War Home Front

Sheer Paletot Completed

In an earlier post, I called my sheer paletot a UFO (Unfinished Object). No longer! As a recap, I attended the sheer paletot class conducted by Carolann Schmitt of Genteel Arts. Wonderful class and great instruction. I managed to complete the construction of the garment in class but not the final cording and trim. Over the last month I was able to finish it (except for the hook and eye at the top). I’ll skip over the cording as it was discussed in the earlier post and go right into the trim.

I based my paletot on this original. Probably later than 1860s in style but I loved the trim.

I used smaller velvet trim but the fringe is about the same length.

Finding silk fringe is nearly impossible and if found it is expensive. So I made my own using an ivory silk taffeta from Needle and Thread in Gettysburg.

A friend of mine suggested making two layers of fringe as it looked better than just one layer. I knew I wanted a half inch for under the trim and two inches of fringe. So I tore five inch strips of the taffeta, folded them length wise and stay-stitched just short of the half inch from the fold to go under the trim. The stay-stitch is important as it marks where to stop and then stops the fraying after you reach your fringe length.

Now the fun begins. The fabric is torn from salvage to salvage giving you finished ends that won’t fray and raw edges that have probably started to fray with the tear. Continue to pull those loose threads out. This is really a great mindless task to do in front of the TV. Eventually you will have your fringe.

I saved the pulled threads to use for the stay-stitching subsequent pieces of fringe and to apply the fringe to the paletot. Here is the fringe applied to the trim.

I only attached to top of the trim and fringe and left the bottom of the trim loose for a better fit around the curves of the garment.

And here is the finished paletot.

Not the best presentation. Hopefully I will be able to get a picture of it soon on and with hoops to show how it properly looks .

Now keep in mind, a sheer paletot is intended to be just for looks, to change up a dress. It is not for warmth or really any other practical purpose; it is pure frivolity.

Categories: Civil War, classes, sewing