Bolivian Milkmaid's Jacket made modern

When we made the 124 Bolivian Milkmaid's Jacket in a PDF pattern last year, I fell love with it.  The lines of this waist-length jacket are really great - and the statement sleeves are very fun!  Add in embroidery options and this pattern is fabulously unique.  

This traditional jacket, worn by working women in Bolivia, has its roots in colonization by Spanish from the 17th century.  Hence the fitted, short-waisted look with large sleeves and tight cuffs.  And, often this jacket was made of velvet and embroidered with chain stitching and beading. You can see the back of our original jacket below.  

Back of a traditional maroon velvet Bolivian jacket with embroidery.

There are three versions of this jacket in the pattern, with slight differences at the waist.  View A has a wide band at the waist, but View B continues below the waist (no waistband) and the last version expands the look at the waist to include a flared peplum made of small triangle godets.  And, of course, you can make many variations with the pleats, embroidery, adding length, adding collars, etc.

line drawings of thee versions of the 124 Bolivian Milkmaid's Jacket pattern


I had a vision of making an unembroidered jacket with a waistband (View A) with a modern fabric. A jacket that would show the lines off of this pattern - that would showcase the sleeves, cuffs, and fit of the jacket.  

I chose a light-colored denim from Fancy Tiger Crafts (Robert Kaufman 10oz denim).  For the sleeves, I decided to make regular pleats (rather than box pleats) and sew down the pleats (an option given in the pattern).  I tried the same idea for the pleats at the cuffs too, but I did not like the way it looked because the sleeve was so fitted quite a way up my arm.  So I took out the stitching on the pleats and left them open. I liked that look much more.  

Sleeve of blue denim Bolivian jacket.

I also left off the pockets because I did not think I would use them and I did not want to disrupt the simple-ness of the jacket.  And, of course, they are optional. This was also an unlined jacket, so I wanted an simple inside as well.  I let the hook and eye closure be very visible. I may change this later, but for now, I like it. A little hint about hook and eye closures is that if you alternate which side you put the hook and eyes, it is less likely to fall open or un-hook.  

Woman wearing a light blue denim Bolivian Milkmaid's Jacket.  One arm on hip, one arm at hair.

Woman standing outside wearing a light blue denim Bolivian Milkmaids Jacket.

Back of woman wearing a light blue denim Bolivian Milkmaid's Jacket.

I really love this unique jacket - how it looks and what a great sewing project it was.  I knew this jacket would look great with our 229 Sailor Pants.  It would really look great with any high-waisted pants or skirts. 

Woman standing outside with hands on hips wearing a light blue denim jacket and dark grey Sailor Pants

Now I want to make another one and add lots of embroidery!  Stay tuned for some tutorials on the embroidery ideas from this pattern.  

And, tell me!  There are so many options from fabric choice to embroidery to design . . . what would you make with this pattern??