A Miss Pinch Pelisse VI

Adding picot braid trim.

Adding picot braid trim.

From a costume history point of view, the garment worn by Hitty in the book is unlikely to have been a Pelisse. The woman’s garment known as a Pelisse was based on a fur-lined military cloak (hence the braid trims and frogging) and were shaped for the narrower silhouettes of the early 1800’s.  They went out of fashion in the 1830’s after dresses began to widen. Miss Pinch was a dressmaker of fashionable clothes in the 1860’s and I don’t think she would have wanted to demonstrate her skill by making something her grandmother would have called stylish.  I think in the mid 19th century, the garment described and pictured would have been called a Paletot, which is cut wide enough to be worn over the hoopskirts in fashion at the time…but I am not really trying to quibble with a beloved work of fiction.

In the text of the Hitty book by Rachel Field this garment  is described as a “blue velvet Pelisse embroidered with garlands no larger than pinheads”, and it will always be the “Miss Pinch Pelisse” to me!

Positioning frogs (no amphibians were harmed).

Positioning frogs (no amphibians were harmed).

The black and white illustration by Dorothy Lathrop shows the side and back of the garment and a corner of the front… so there is some scope for variation in colour of the braid and the embroidery, but not a lot of choice in the placement. I had some nice black picot braid I decided to use as trim, following the placement in the book. I used one continuous piece of braid starting and ending at the centre back neck. The front fastening is not shown or described in the book, so I choose to place a double-breasted row of three matching frogs, to hearken back to the militarily derived “Pelisse”.

The first three frogs are sewn into place freehand, but to match the opposite frogs, I aligned the fronts and pinned them to my little pressing sandbag, and then pinned and tacked the frogs.

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Embroidering the garlands.

Embroidering the garlands.

These garlands are somewhat larger than pin heads! I am not the world’s greatest embroiderer, so I did the trials on a scrap, and then started in the most inconspicuous spot on the garment – at the sleeve backs.

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A pretty rose.

A pretty rose.

This Rose is pretty good!

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This is the sixth post about making the “Miss Pinch Pelisse”…  click here to see all the posts about the Pelisse.

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13 thoughts on “A Miss Pinch Pelisse VI

  1. Decorated with Roses? Does Rose think it might be best if she were to be the one modelling it? It certainly is going to be a lovely garment. Good thing the girls are so well mannered and pleasant or there could be some unpleasant scenes around who gets to wear it, when, and where. Or, you might be obliged to make 10 of them to keep the peace.

  2. I am actually sitting here, mouth agape! This sort of wonderful detail in a garment would be a delight for normal sized clothing, but when you consider the target audience for this piece it becomes astonishing! I am sitting here on pins and needles (if you’ll pardon the pun) anxiously awaiting the next installment!

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