Image of gilet from Diderot's Encyclopedia
Making a Gilet
The gilet was worn as a well fitted garmet over the shirt that reached to the waist. Gilets can be sleeved or sleeveless, they are made without pockets and are generally tight woven wool and so do not need to be hemmed. The easiest pattern is to use an old t-shirt that is snug when you wear it over your period chemise.
1. Cut the arms off the t-shirt.
2. Slit the front and back of the shirt down the center and cut along the shoulder seams.
3. Trace these four peices onto your wool.
4. Sew the back peices together.
5. Sew a 2 inch wool reinforcement strip onto the back of the front peices for the buttons and buttonholes.
6. Attach the front peices to the shoulders and stitch up the sides.
7. Use small cloth covered buttons. The drawing on the left shows 29 buttonholes. I usually only use about half that amount.
8. If making a sleeved version, it is best to cut them with extra fabric on the cuff peice that overlaps for the buttonholes.