Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Experimenting with a Frock Coat Pattern

And another project is finally completed!  A new men's frock coat, size 42. I decided to give a commercial pattern (Simplicity 2895) a try, and compare it to what I'm used to making in theatrical costuming shops on the tailoring teams.

Wow.  Very different.

Maybe I'm used to costumes needing to be much sturdier than the average garment, but this  doesn't have nearly the structure I'm used to inserting into garments like this.  The coats that I've worked on in the past seem to provide a lot of the silhouette for the actor by providing sturdy shoulder pads,  smoothing structure over the chest's pectoral area and down the front, a collar that supports the body of the garment from the back of the neck, and a bit more weight in general.  I'm used to working with wool, and this is silk brocade, so the hand and feel of the garment is quite different.  Overall, it's interesting how things have turned out--this wasn't assembled using any techniques that I understand as "tailoring specific".  The end effect is that this doesn't work with the body to show it off--it instead lays on top of it, and lets the body speak for itself.  The thin layers of interfacing structure don't really do much...

But overall, it's not a bad package.  I like the sheen of the brocade fabric, and the heavy satin lining I chose really helps to "bulk up" the coat.  As a practical garment, it would be much easier to wear than a "real" frock coat, and probably much more comfortable over the long term if it was being worn for an extended period of time.  It's definitely a contemporary garment, and would be good for cosplay or formal wear for the man who isn't used to wearing period garments (which, frankly, is almost all men of today).  It also fits like a contemporary garment--it's a lot looser than a period garment would feel and doesn't inadvertently pull the shoulders gently back to straighten the man's posture (effectively thrusting his chest out and forward) like most period coats were built to do.  Instead, the armscye placement is more forward, and the back is more broad across the shoulders.

But it's a good contemporary version of a frock coat in the end.  And it turned out appropriately "quirky" by virtue of the fabric choice.  It's a bit dramatic, a bit heightened.  I like it!  And it fits perfectly into the direction I've defined for myself.  I'm popping it into my Etsy store as soon as I contemplate price a bit more.

Tomorrow, I post about a "Half Ruff" neck piece that I've developed for ladies who like the ruff look and style, but don't want to put their hair up in a bun to wear one.   Until next time, Live Life with Relish!


  1. Well, I really like this, I'd love to run my hands over this fabric. You are so good at what you do! and I also dig the way you processed these photos, seems just right ... good job, Corey!

  2. Thanks, Susan!! I think I may need to simplify the whole photo thing--goodness it's gonna be hard to do that for everything I post... Haha!!! But it does have the right "essence" I think... : )

  3. Oh, my goodness--thanks so much, Ricë! I can't believe you came and visited! Haha!!

    For those of you who don't know, Ricë writes for a FABulous blog over here:


    And is a featured writer here:


    She's a great writer and it's well worth it to take time out of your day to zip over and read what she's thinking about. Very stimulating and very heartening. I encourage you to take the trip! : )


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