What I Didn’t Buy – Victorian Jacket

My area of collecting (and knowledge) pretty much starts around 1915, and anything earlier is just a mystery to me.  That doesn’t mean that I don’t take the time to look at and examine the odd piece of antique clothing that might show up in my local antique malls.  You just never know when there might be a Worth label or something insane like that sewn inside.

Well, unfortunately, the label was not Worth, but there was a label, which you don’t always see in antique clothing.  This one reads “Allemus, Philadelphia, Pa.”  I’ve come up empty in a search for this store or maker, although there were quite a few people with the Allemus surname living in Philadelphia in the late 1880s.

But I thought the jacket and its details made it interesting enough to show here.  It was a combination of cotton velvet and a plain weave wool.  The  cording was applied in an intricate pattern.  The inside was lined in an off-white silk that was completely shattered.  In fact, there were bits of silk on the floor below where the jacket was hanging.

In the late 1960s and early 70s when some crazy kids were starting to become interested in wearing old clothes, this would have been a real prize.  Today I can see it as part of a Steampunk ensemble.

There were only two unfortunate holes on one sleeve.

This looks like a very labor (and time) intensive button to me.

This was priced at $10, which I thought was a real bargain.  But I wasn’t tempted.  I’ve learned how to say no to all kinds of lonely old clothes hanging forlornly on wire hangers in antique malls.  It has taken years for me to get to the place where I can actually say that!

23 Comments

Filed under I Didn't Buy..., Shopping

23 responses to “What I Didn’t Buy – Victorian Jacket

  1. I’d gladly wear it if I could !!

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  2. Wow! That is a real beauty! I love how date specific you are with things, and I find your wealth of knowledge astounding!

    And $10!? Wow! I would have been very tempted!

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  3. Pretty jacket…I love the button. I am surprised something that old was just 10.00.

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  4. Lynne

    That’s a wonderful jacket, Lizzie.

    I suspect the label is ALTEMUS and I found some directory listings for Altemus & Cozens in Philadelphia (George W. Altemus and William B.N. Cozens) who were dry good merchants. I wonder if George Altemus–or another of the many Altemuses in Philadelphia–eventually took over the business?

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  5. Diana Coleman

    “Lonely old clothes hanging forlornly on wire hangers………” picturesque speech.”…love it..

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  6. What a beautiful jacket! I’m not really into Victorian styles (or black for that matter), but I would have been tempted to buy it just because of the pretty handwork! I really like the back of the collar. Thanks for immortalizing the craftsmanship with photos and sharing them with us!

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  7. Wire 9 Vintage

    Oh… I would have been more than tempted. It would so have come home with me. I am, alas, still a sucker–less so, but still!

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  8. The label alone is a thing of great beauty. I would absolutely have bought it and worn it if it fit me. It’s great that you (and by extension we) have the wonderful photos to keep and admire!

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  9. I don’t think I would have the same power to resist..if it fitted me! x

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  10. What an interesting-looking jacket! I hear you loud and clear on having to resist purchasing things. It’s really hard to do sometimes. $10 is a bargain, and I probably would have been sorely tempted.

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  11. I think I might have bought it for the button…but then felt guilty about ruining the ensemble. What beautiful work! I’ve just finished the old book by Claudia Kidwell, Suiting Everyone, where she shows that ready to wear emerged really early in the US. This is a great example.

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  12. So beautiful Lizzie. I would have been tempted also. I do love to sew but this looks like it needed a complete jacket-lift. The button, swoon. And that cording detail is amazing. The wire hanger, not so much!

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  13. Christina

    I think this jacket which would have had a matching skirt is c1905. The sleeve shape is fairly typical and softer at the shoulder. The wide lapels and where the fastening is ( one button?) is also seen during this period. Braiding and soutache work was very fashionable. If this was from the Victorian period – and that is an era that saw many significant changes in construction of a bodice or jacket e.g. Boning and sleeve shape – then the pattern for the jacket would likely have had boning originally. This jacket does seem to be not quite as fitted.

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  14. I admire your restraint! I would have spent my last penny if I had to this is quite a find! kudos lol

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