Monday, March 27, 2017

Regency Tail Coats: The Back

I have just finished the seventh and last coat and thought I'd share some pictures of how some of them ended up; specifically, what I ended up doing with the back of them.
First, the finished coat I showed in the first post.
John Dashwood's coat was rather big on him. In the process of my research, I stumbled across this picture.
To me it looked kind of like there was just darts in the back, so to get it to fit better I added curved darts.

Mrs. Jennings' footman's coat was also too big for him, so I added darts to that as well. To both coats I added buttons. In the green livery I cut and hemmed a slit, but didn't bother to do so on Dashwood's.

Adding the gold cord to this coat was my final sewing project. I am quite pleased with the effect of the trim and the double breasted gold buttons.

The man playing Willoughby is of a large stature and I was afraid a normal suit jacket would look wrong on him. (Since tail coats were longer than our usual suit coat.) His jacket being one of the ones I cut straight across, I attached the two pieces cut off the front, onto the back, as shown.

It doesn't look good close up, but from the stage I hope it will look fine. I added two buttons to the back of this coat as well, but left the jackets belonging to Mr. Palmer, Edward, and Brandon plain.
I must say, I'm rather nervous about the costumes right now. If these coats look terrible it will be entirely my fault. If people don't understand the script, that'll be my fault too. I feel a great deal of pressure as the performance date approaches (a week from Thursday...!).

A Note on Cravats:
As I knew I would be making cravats for six gentlemen, I originally thought to write a post on the subject. However, once I had done a bit of research, the making and tying of a cravat was so easy that an entire separate post would be inane. I will just mention a few quick points:
  • To make my cravats, I simply cut a 10x80 piece of white cotton, hemmed it, and starched it. (Some cravats were triangular, I believe, but I decided to go with a rectangle.) The starch is very important.
  • This post was extremely helpful. Not only is it cool to see a modern guy who appreciates history and enjoys wearing cravats, at the bottom of the post you will find instructions for two knots.
  • Cravats in the Regency period were always white, to the best of my knowledge (at least, at evening events). In the late 1820s on, other colors began to be used as well. 
  • In addition to cravats and stocks, there was a thing called a jabot, which is basically a frill on a string (see here), which we so often admire on the amazing Sir Percy.

Although technically, I believe jabots were going out of fashion in the Regency era, I have decided to attach a lace ruffle to Robert Ferrar's cravat, as he is a fop and I hope it will emphasize this. As his actor also plays Mr. Palmer, to differentiate, I deviate from history again by making a black cravat for Mr. P. And, what pains me most, I believe he will be wearing a mustache as Robert. Sigh.

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