Buy The Perfect Regency Coat pattern!
Napoleonic gentleman or Mr. Darcy, you need our full size paper pattern for a Men's Frock Coat for the 1790s through 1810s with narrow cuffs and skirts, cut-away front, and fold-over collar. Simple enough for an absolute beginner to make! Single- and double-breasted versions both included. Fits chests 34"-54". All sizes included in one envelope. Embellishment suggestions included.
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wool, heavyweight silk
lightweight silk or linen for lining
heavy linen or canvas for interlining
3 yds at least 45" wide
Up to 24 5/8" buttons for front, cuffs, and vents
Let us help you! At Reconstructing History, we want to see you wearing the best garments you are capable of making. Call us Monday through Friday from 9am until 4pm Eastern Time (or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org) and we will answer any questions you might have.
Below is an excerpt from the historical notes you will receive as part of this pattern:
1790s-1810s Frock Coat
By the end of the 18th century, the frock coat had transformed. Not only did the skirts continue to narrow until the didn’t show in front at all and the cuffs become smaller, but the materials and decoration of the coat became dark and sober. In a reversal from the previous decades, the front no longer only hooked over the breast, but closed in front along a straight edge. Double-breasted coats also came into use. Padding in the chest had disappeared. Fronts were cut away in gentle slopes as well as dramatic straight waistlines. Decoration was gone; coats relied on the beauty of well-made wools in dark somber colours. Collars were sometimes ridiculously high and coat fronts were turned back into large revers (lapels), but the overall look of the Regency Frock Coat was one of restraint.
A Frock Coat from the turn of the 19th century is shown in the illustration at right. This coat is in the collection of the Chester County Historical Society in Pennsylvania. It is a dark blue silk daywear coat cut on fashionable lines but yet far less complicated in construction than the coats of the previous decade. The coat is economically cut, using a small amount of fabric and yet it clearly shows the fashionable shape. The coat is double-breasted with a cut-away front, fold-over collar, and miniscule cuffs.
Although fashions typically came from France, both men’s and women’s fashions of the 1790s were inspired by the more simple clothing of the English country squire. Clothing more at home at a manor house than in Court became the height of fashion in the last decade of the 18th century and the fashionable were more likely to were sober dress than the ostentatious displays of the rest of the century. The elaborately embroidered and structured frock coats of previous centuries were still de rigeur at Courts all over Europe (and would remain so well into the 19th century), but the fashionable were wearing a much “dressed down” version in their private lives. As strange as it may seem for 18th century fashionistas to look to country bumpkins than nobility, we must not forget that this is the time period of the French and American Revolutions -- a time of democratic thought. The idea that clothing could be in excellent
taste and yet not showy and vulgar began at this time. Indeed, the penchant for dark coloured men’s suits began here. This is excellently demonstrated by the illustration of a fashionable Parisien from 1800 shown at left. The large collar is the only decadence seen.
The sartorial perfection of this time period is demonstrated by Jean-Louis Davis in his portrait of Monsieur de Sériziat from 1795, shown at right. Pierre Sériziat is a Frenchman and yet in this portrait we see him attired as an English country gentleman. He sits on his dark green riding cloak with gold-braided collar, but the rest of his costume is dark and subdued. He wears a black high-collared, double-breasted coat, white double-breasted waistcoat, and skin-tight, chamois-coloured fall-front breeches. Boots, crop and hat complete the outfit, giving the impression that he is more ready for a canter on his estate than a stroll in the city.
If we take changes in clothing as an indication of changes in social concepts, it is not surprising that this is the outfit that heralded the rise of the middle class, the beginning of the change from an agrarian to an industrial society and the start of the idea of the working rich.
Andersen, Ellen. Moden i 1700-årene. 1977: Nationalmuseet, Copenhagen.
Baumgarten, Linda. Eighteenth-Century Clothing at Williamsburg. 1986: The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, Williamsburg, Virginia.
Boucher, François. 20,000 Years of Fashion. 1987: Harry N. Abrams, Inc., New York.
Burnston, Sharon Ann. Fitting & Proper. 1998: Scurlock Publishing Co. Inc., Texarkana, TX.
Payne, Blanche. History of Costume. 1965: Harper Collins, New York.
Ribeiro, Aileen. Art in Dress: Fashion in England and France 1750-1820. 1995: Yale University Press, New Haven, CT and London.
Waugh, Norah. Cut of Men’s Clothes 1600-1900. 1964: Routledge, New York.
For more, purchase this pattern.
This information © 2007 Kass McGann and Reconstructing History
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