Object type

jacket; bodice

Place Associated

Scotland, Renfrewshire, Johnstone Castle (place of use)


circa 1779-1781


linen, hand-stitched


hem circumference: 2720 mm; neck to hem: 640 mm; waist: 740 mm


Woman's jacket, caraco plisse or petenlair in white linen tabby weave cord quilted in a pattern of flowers and foliage inside roundels.

Open bodice with square neckline, pleated robings and compere fronts fastening at centre front with four hooks and eyes (probably added at a later date) at top but remainder of length without fastening. Sack back falling from two double box pleats at top with side panels fitted into waist. Elbow-length sleeves with wide pleated into sleeve end and turned back cuff. Lined with a coarser weave linen.

A caraco plisse or petenlair was a type of bodice that was popular in the mid to late-18th century. It was constructed similar to the sack-back gowns or robes à la Française of the period. A ‘Hymn to Fashion’ published in the Gentlemen’s Magazine for August 1751 includes the couplet, ‘Inspir’d by thee, thy skilful engineer Lopp’d half the sack and form’d the pet-en-l’air’.

This example is made from cord-quilted linen whereby two layers of cloth are stitched together with a pattern worked in two parallel lines through which a narrow cord is threaded. During the 1700s this material was a popular choice for summer clothing.

Worn by Mary McDowall, the wife of George Houston.

Credit Line/Donor

Gifted by Mrs Anne D Houston, 1932

ID Number



In storage

Related People

Mary Mcdowall owner, wearer

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