Buy our 1760s Frock Coat pattern and be a proper 18th century Gentleman.
Full size paper patterns for Men's Frock Coat for the 1750s and 1760s with dog-ear cuffs, narrowing skirts, and curved front. Upper class and lower class instructions 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
35-50 5/8" buttons for front and vents
7-5/8" buttons for arm closure (optional)
braid and cording to taste (optional)
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Below is an excerpt from the historical notes you will receive as part of this pattern:
1760s Frock Coat
By the middle of the 18th century, the wide skirts of the frock coat were narrowing again, following the inevitable ebb and flow of fashion. Cuffs decreased in size, sleeves extended to wrist length, and openings curved further away from each other. Decoration was still as elaborate as ever and embroidery was often executed before the garment was cut.
A number of heavily decorated frock coats survive from the 1760s. A floral and lozenge-patterned silk suit trimmed with silver gimp is in the clothing collection at Colonial Williamsburg. The suit was likely made in England in the 1760s and was either commissioned by a Colonist or travelled there with an emigrant. All three items of the suit (coat, waistcoat, and breeches) are made from the same silk. The small repeat patterned silk was very popular and especially woven for suits at this time. The silver gimp buttonholes and buttons are its only further decoration.
Another item at Colonial Williamsburg, a coat of imported uncut and voided velvet, is shown at left. The remaining width of the skirts can clearly be seen yet except for the gorgeous salmon patterned velvet, the coat is only decorated by buttons and buttonholes. The small utilitarian cuffs and rudimentary collar of the period are in evidence.
A suit from the 1760s housed at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London displays similar elements as the previous two coats. Although the cuffs appear to be a bit of a throwback, the skirts are narrow in the mid-century style. This coat is more elaborately decorated than the two previous examples. Its fur and floral decoration were woven into position along the front opening and around the pocket flaps before the material was cut.
In his Description des Arts et Métiers, LArt du Tailleur (Paris, 1769), M. de Garsault describes a number of garments. The Fraque, he says, is “a coat of recent fashion; it has few pleats and no pocket flaps.” This description conforms with the new narrower skirts of the frock coat.
Hudson’s portrait of Sir Henry Oxenden from 1755, shown at right, retains the wide cuff of that decade, but the skirts of Sir Henry’s coat are starting to narrow. Although we cannot see the extent of the buttonholes on his coat, but his waistcoat buttonholes atop at the navel (even though the buttons continue to the hem on the right front).
The Comte de Vaureuil, painted by Drouais in 1758, shows a coat similar to that in the V&A shown on the previous page. The count’s velvet coat fronts, pocket flaps and cuffs are edged with light-coloured fur and his buttonholes are decorated with braid and tassels. His sleeves are wrist-length and the cuffs are manageable. The skirts flare slightly from the waist, but not as widely as they would if they were cut in the earlier style.
At right, Mr. Craymoyel wears the typical formal suit of this time period. The front of his coat curves away and the skirts echo that line in back. A few folds are visible, but not the voluminous ones of earlier in the century. His buttons and buttonholes are decorated as are the edges of his pocket flaps and cuffs, and the pockets themselves are surrounded with braid or embroidery. But ultimately, the cut of the suit is becoming more conservative. Soon common versions of this coat will be worn by all levels of society.
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.
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.
Ribeiro, Aileen. Dress in Eighteenth Century Europe. 2002: Yale University Press, New Haven, CT and London.
Waugh, Norah. Cut of Men’s Clothes 1600-1900. 1964: Routledge, New York.
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This information © 2007 Kass McGann and Reconstructing History