Buy our pattern and look like the perfect 1770s Gentleman.
Full size paper patterns for Men's Frock Coat for the 1770s and 80s with narrow cuffs and skirts, and curved front. Upper class and lower class instructions included. Fits chests 34"-54". All sizes included in one envelope. Embellishment suggestions included.
wool, heavyweight silk
lightweight silk or linen for lining
heavy linen or canvas for interlining
3 yds at least 45" wide
upto 35 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:
1770s-80s Frock Coat
By the third quarter of the 18th century, the skirts of the frock coat were slender indeed. Cuffs were only slightly bigger than the sleeves, collars stood tall, and the fronts of coats were cut not to close but rather to hook over the breast. Padding was often added to the upper chest to give the fashionable shape. Decoration was still as elaborate as ever and embroidery was often executed before the garment was cut.
A strangely similar bunch of heavily decorated frock coats from the 1770s and 80s survive in museums around the world. A light brown satin-striped silk suit from around 1775 in the Victoria and Albert Museum in London is embroidered all along its front opening, side and back vents, cuffs, and pocket flaps with multicolour flowers. The cuffs are small and the buttonholes non-functioning. The coat closes with two hooks on the chest. The overall look of the coat is becoming more stiff and we can see the beginnings of the tail coat that we know modernly.
A 1770s survival in the Nationalmuseet in Copenhagen, Denmark is made from olive green pin-striped silk and embroidered in a similar fashion to the previous example. Again the coat does not fasten with its buttonholes. This example deviates from the norm with the addition of a waist seam. This is not usual on frock coats from this time period and may be regarded as an anomally or a peculiarity of Danish examples.
At right is a striped silk suit housed at Colonial Williamsburg. It is decorated with the same kind of floral embroidery as the previous two examples and again the buttonholes are merely decorative. All other elements agree with the previous examples.
The shape and decoration of the extant examples is echoed in this picture, at right, by Moreau le Jeune entitled La Grande Toilette. The painting shows the elaborate act of dressing. The central figure is attended by his wife seated near the left edge of the painting. Two dressers arrange his wig and administer to his dressing needs.
His coat (and waistcoat and breeches) is embroidered with a floral motif along its front edge, cuffs and pockets. The cuffs are small, the collar stands tall, and the coat fronts do not meet. The buttonholes only come to the waist and it’s likely they are only decorative. The silk ground of the coat appears stiff and the skirts narrow and formalized.
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.
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.
For more, purchase this pattern.
This information © 2007 Kass McGann and Reconstructing History