18th Century Caraco

Sunday’s Someday
18th Century Brown Caraco

When I found this fabric, I knew it would be perfect for a dress from the late 1700s. From what I’ve seen of antique textiles, the pattern is very authentic—and I love the colors.


Teal & Brown Print Cotton

I have the Robe à l’Anglaise pattern from J.P. Ryan, but I’ve already made two dresses from it. For this gown, I think I’d like to try either the Caraco or Jacket pattern. I bought extra yardage of the brown and teal fabric so that I could make a modern dress from it in addition to the caraco, but now I think that I will combine all of the fabric to make a jacket with matching petticoat. It isn’t common to see a matched set, but there are historic examples, like this one from the Victoria & Albert Museum.

Museum Gown

1770-1780 Caraco & Petticoat ~ Courtesy of V&A Museum

The reason I want to make a matched set instead of having a contrasting petticoat is because I cannot for the life of me find a plain brown cotton that matches! I’ve requested sample after sample of quilting cottons, broadcloth, even a quilted upholstery fabric. None of them match! I do have a blue-green shot cotton that matches the teal of the floral print, but I only have about a yard and a half left, not quite enough for a petticoat. (And besides, it’s slated for another purpose.)

Blue-Green Shot Cotton

Blue-Green Shot Cotton

The ensemble from the V&A museum has some really pretty features. I love the unusual stomacher, which appears to fit under the cross-bands of the caraco bodice. I also like the shorter length of the caraco, which would be more flattering on me since I’m petite. I could perhaps use the blue-green shot cotton to add a bias band to the hem, as in the example shown.


Have you made a caraco lately? What inspiration did you use? Do you recommend the caraco or the jacket pattern?

About Lisha Vidler

I am a sewing instructor living near Memphis, Tennessee.
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2 Responses to 18th Century Caraco

  1. Love the fabric! Great find! And if you ever do find a perfect matching blue or brown, you can make yourself a second petticoat :-) No recommendation on the pattern – I always draft my own based on extent examples. I can’t wait to see what you use and how it comes out!

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