c. 1815- 1820. A beautiful and rarely found item of Regency children's clothing. Antique kid's clothing is hard to find anyways but to come across an item almost 200 years old and in wonderful condition is a rarity indeed.
The spencer jacket would have been worn over a high empire waisted dress and this one would have been worn by a little girl of about 4- 6 years old depending on her height and weight. Spencers became popular for men and woman during the late 18th century and remained fashionable to the early 1820's. Made out of what I believe is sheer Indian cotton muslin
, it has little swirls or little W's embroidered on it all over.
Sheer lightweight fabrics like this were extremely popular during the Regency era, and really
forward ladies often would dampen the fabric of their already sheer dresses so that they would cling to them!
This little spencer jacket is in near perfect condition with only a few little faults. There are three small rust colored spots, one near the left shoulder, one under the left armpit in the seam and the last one at the back of the right elbow. There are also some small fray holes in the cotton near the gathered neckline of the spencer, and some pulling away of the cotton from the gathered shoulder seams. I've also had to close
a seam at each sleeve cuff that someone had opened up recently and added elastic. I handsewed this using matching white silk thread and tried to use the original stitch holes and threw away the horrible elastic.
Although it looks as though it could be worn by a child today, I would not recommend wearing something this old except maybe quickly for a photo. The measurements given will be for reference only: Shoulders 13", Chest about 24", Waist about 20", sleeve
length 12 1/2", spencer length approx. 10".
The jacket is completely handsewn
and every seam except the shoulders are piped with braided cord or self fabric. The spencer fastens at the front neckline with a drawstring which also gathers the neck. The shoulders are tightly gathered to puff around the shoulder seam and then gradually taper down to a small wrist. Under each armpit at each side of the jacket are 3 vertical bands of cord piping with shirring between each. An unusual 3" peplum hangs down all around the spencer and another unusual feature is the band of matching fabric sewn at the back of the neck. I don't know what this is for and have never seen a spencer
jacket with this before. All I can think of is that it tied in a bow around
the little girl's neck. (Formerly from the collection of Leila Hidic)