Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Tail Coats

I first got my inspiration for converting an ordinary suit coat into a tail coat from this page. I link to it in fairness, for the idea that one COULD do such a thing would not have occurred to had I not seen it, but really, the tutorial was basically useless. There were a lot of words, which basically said "Buy a cheap coat. Cut it straight across at belly button level in the front. Hem it if you like, or leave it ragged to look edgy."

So I did further research (quite fun, by the way). A waistcoat (pronounced wes-kit) refers to the vest, not the coat. A gentleman would never be seen without his coat, as this would be considered highly improper. 
I noticed, in my studies, that some coats are cut more straight across the front, while others are more curved. In the picture below, you can see that I circled the detail on one coat with has an interesting shape.

Of course this got me wondering, was there any difference between styles? For instance, strapless gowns in our modern world seem more "formal." To their eyes, a sundress and a slip might look pretty similar (does anyone wear slips nowadays besides me?). 
Basically what I found was that the more straight cut was the more modern, while the curved was reminiscent of an earlier period.

With this reasoning, I decided that Willoughby's coat would definitely be the latest fashion of straight across. Mr. Palmer and Robert Ferrars are played by the same guy in our play, so I am going to cut his coat along the same lines.
For John Dashwood (an image-conscious married man) I decided to make it almost straight across, but slightly curved as seen on this very handsome burgundy coat.

For John Middleton and Edward I am taking inspiration from the coat below. It has an older look, but is not completely curved (see Colonel Brandon's below.) John Middleton, I think, has plenty of money to buy the latest things, but being a married man and more of a sportsman than a fop, wouldn't care that much. I really can't see Edward caring at all, beyond looking tidy and respectable.

As a character whose age and "infirmity" is constantly commented on, I have decided to cut Colonel Brandon's coat in the most antiquated style, as shown, basically curving straight down.

I found this photo of the back of the tail coat, so depending on the style of suit jacket the boys bring me, I think I'll just cut a slit straight from waist to hem, and hem the raw edge.

From there I'll just play around with the coats until I'm satisfied. Many tailcoats have buttons in the back, as shown, so if I can find matching buttons I'll add that.

Aaaand the first tail coat (John Dashwood's) in progress. In this rather poor picture, you can see the right side of the coat  is finished, and I just sliced the left side. I used handy-dandy tailors chalk to draw the curve.

That's it for now! Coming up next, fichus!
 photo awdursignature_zps319c67b7.png


  1. "A waistcoat (pronounced wes-kit)" -Ah, thank you!!! Finally someone else understands this concept.
    Oh, that burgandy is gorgeous. All these are so handsome!

    1. I first learned of it because of one particular waistcoat with brass buttons.

  2. Why are you so productive? My first spencer sits unattended waiting for me to thread my needle and finish the hem. MUST CATCH UP. Don't you hate it when the "non-pointy" end of the needle is incredibly sharp?

    1. My productivity goes in spurts. I am very good at cutting things out and then not hemming them for ages. Or hemming them, not doing a very good job, and not caring enough to fix it (ahem, that coat). Yes, I do.


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