Officers Dolman

The unit tailors main project for the off season is to make an officers service Dolman. After researching the 1802 warrant and drawing inspiration from the Major Davy miniature, and also a newly unearthed portrait of an unknown 60th Rifles officer C.1812, (amongst others) the basic outline was decided on.

 Unknown 60th Officer C.1812:

Major Davy C.1808:

 

1802 Warrant:

(Para 23B.) A. The Service Uniform of Officer of Rifle Corps. Z.
B. “No Regulation inserted.”
(D.—[“Supposed to be at the present time,” C.] The Undress or Service Uniform
for Offrs. of the Rifle Corps to be a Jacket of dark Green Cloth, without Lappels or
Skirts, and made to Button over the Body down to the waist. The Breast fronted with
Green Cloth, lined with Green Silk or Shalloon. A Black Velvet Standing Collar lined
with Green Cloth. Cuffs Black Velvet 2 ½ Inches in Breadth, pointed and to open with 5
buttons. A Double Row of Buttons on one Front and a single Row with Button Holes on
the Other. 22 Buttons in each Row and the same number of Looping of Black Silk Twist
on each Front between the Rows with a Knot on the Outer Side; the Looping 7 ½ Inches
in length at the Top and reduced gradually to 2 ½ inches a the Bottom, and in which
Forms the Buttons are set on. A Loop of Twist on each Front of the Collar, a Row of the
Same down the Seams from the Shoulders to the Hip Buttons, and a double Row on the
Fronts instead of Pocket Welts. Black Velvet Wings and Straps with Bullion and Fringe,
12 In Z altered to “Gold or Silver.”
besides a Silver13 Chain on the Wings and Straps. The Buttons throughout of a round
form like a Ball and set on at Equal Distances. The Lace and Epaulettes Silver.14) Z.

It is indeed common knowledge the RGJ museum hold a jacket in their collection which is believed to be an officers jacket of the 5/60th. A visit to handle this specimen is in the pipeline, but based on a previous visit a number of questions arose on its provenance. Notably the sizing is very small, and would struggle to fit a 12 year old child – perhaps an ensign? The biggest question I found asking myself was “Who says this coat (for that is what it is as it boasts tails) belonged to the 5th Battn.?”. It could well have belonged to any of the other rifle companies officers of the line battalions of the 60th. The number of buttons is also contrary to that stipulated in the 1802 draft warrant, and is furnished with 15 instead of the 22 pointed out for ‘service dress’. ‘Full Dress’ states “10 buttons on each lapel”.

Once all sources available were studied, a rough outline of the style and finish of the jacket was decreed. Input from Gareth Newfield of our friends 7/60th in Canada shared their information, including a juicy snippet on Lt Col. Fitzgerald’s uniform in 1814:

‘Green full trimmed jacket, Russia fronts, 3 rows [silver] ball buttons, scar[let] cuffs and collar’

this was significant as both 95th jackets in the RGJ Museum have 3mm twisted cord on them. Therefore it was decided based on the limited information available to use 3mm Russia braid for this dolman. The buttons currently being used are the lovely Or’s buttons, as we are yet to find & purchase an original officers ball button. Our eyes will be kept peeled for a suitable button we can use as a master to reproduce the 82 buttons required.

A Pattern was supplied by the indefatigable Sean Phillips, which was a carbon copy of the 95th jacket on display in the RGJ museum, and scaled up to fit the unit officer. Toiles were made and once a fit was decided on the patterns were adjusted and the Superfine Bottle Green & Scarlet cloth was delivered, and cut.

Once the cloth was cut -bearing in mind the grain which runs on this rather lovely cloth – it was basted together and tested for a fitting on the officer. Once this was satisfied, the two front pieces had and interlining and fronting sewn into place. A strip of linen was used for interlining, with a piece of the jacket cloth used to cover it, and the raw edges sewn together.

Then the most time consuming process begun, sewing the 3mm Russia braid into place on each front piece…..

 

One front now finished….

 

With the welt braid being sewn into place:

 

Production on the opposite front has now begun, with steady progress. Sewing around the button hole has proven time consuming, with the braid having to be sewn round three times so that it does not pucker up when being used.

 

Both fronts now finished with braid in place. Next up was to add the sleeves and collar and do a quick fitting, once that was completed it was time to make any adjustments required and then hand stitch the seams on the jacket. Once that is completed it will be time to add the braid to the back panels.

 

Sleeves added, and collar now going in… Back panel braid also added:

The braid along the leading the leading edges – up & around the collar, and back down the opposite front was then added.

The braid detail on the collar from Major Davy’s portrait was then replicated. This photo shows it 2/3 done:

 

With the collar braid now finished, and two buttons added, here is a photo of the dolman – awaiting facings and braid on the cuffs:

 

Both facings cut out:

 

One facing added with respective braid (design copied from the RGJ Clerke Jacket):

 

The opposite facing was then added along with the respective braid, and the jacket is now complete (minus the final addition of ball buttons once an original is located. The dolman will then be lined too):

 

Thanks for visiting! 🙂