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Frock coat revival?


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#1 Nigel

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Posted 17 July 2019 - 06:00 PM

Many young men these days like to get married in a type of frock coat, preferring it to the more traditional morning coat which I wore.  These modern frock coats however seem to have draped backs as in a lounge suit rather than a proper fitted body coat.  The latter look much more elegant to me as they throw out the skirt a little to create a more interesting and elegant profile.

 

The question I have been asking myself for a while is whether there could be a wider application for the frock coat in modern day life and I think the answer is yes.  The last incarnation of the formal frock coat (other than for certain British military uniforms such as those worn by the royal princes at Harry and Megan's wedding) was a rather funereal affair - the kind of thing Lloyd George wore to the Versailles conference - but it doesn't have to be like that.

 

In the colder weather one needs a coat to go out in, but people's homes tend to be so well heated that that one often doesn't need to wear one indoors.  So rather than a lounge coat with a capacious overcoat on top why not a waistcoat with a more fitted type of long coat, like the one in the attached link perhaps?  One is still left with the problem of whether it looks right to wear a waistcoat alone without looking like a snooker player, but I think that can be dealt with by using cloth rather than lining on the back.

 

As an experiment I have now drafted a pattern from my edition of Poole and am about to construct the muslin before showing to my tailoring tutor.

 

Frockcoatsuit_informal_check.jpg


Edited by Nigel, 17 July 2019 - 06:57 PM.

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#2 Dunc

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Posted 18 July 2019 - 01:18 AM

Well, I can see the option of a longer outer coat and waistcoat* coming back (it's a combination I sometimes wear myself), but the problem with a true frock coat is that it has to be well-fitted, which pretty much rules out cheap mass production.

 

*You only really look like a snooker player if the waistcoat is either black or very fancy, and you're wearing a bow tie. It's definitely a look that's gaining in popularity.


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#3 Nigel

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Posted 18 July 2019 - 06:16 AM

Well, I can see the option of a longer outer coat and waistcoat* coming back (it's a combination I sometimes wear myself), but the problem with a true frock coat is that it has to be well-fitted, which pretty much rules out cheap mass production.

 

 

I am starting to discover the truth of this.  I assembled my first muslin today.  I know I have a slightly stooped figure and a low right shoulder, both of which I had adjusted for in the draft (I intend to pad the right shoulder on top and make the bottom of the arm hole lower) but when I tried it on it looked more like Alice in Wonderland's dress than a man's frock coat.  The fit of the back was surprisingly good although I have not quite worked out how to finish the pleats in the back of the skirt, but the front was terrible - far too much length between neck point and chest which makes the whole front flare out like a girl's dress when it should hang straight.  I think I must have a much flatter chest than one would normally expect with my degree of stoop, which I thought I had adjusted for adequately.  I am now taking out a further inch and a half from the front at the chest point (like a slice of pie, pivoting on the point where the chest line meets the side seam - as recommended by Poole).  I am using the instructions for making a morning coat in "The Art of Garment Making" as my guide as my edition does not cover frock coats.


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#4 Schneiderfrei

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Posted 18 July 2019 - 12:15 PM

Nigel, you could try to obtain a front balance measurement, and work that into your draft at the begining.


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#5 Nigel

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Posted 18 July 2019 - 06:11 PM

Nigel, you could try to obtain a front balance measurement, and work that into your draft at the begining.

 

 

Thanks - great idea.  Poole, my main text book on cutting, talks about balance but doesn't give instructions on how to quantify it but I will look up how to do it.

 

The one and only coat I completed for myself a few years suffered from the same problem.  I fudged it by inserting a dart behind the lapel but it was only partly successful and clearly no substitute for getting the balance right in the first place.


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#6 Dunc

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Posted 18 July 2019 - 07:02 PM

Re: balance, you probably want to read "The Art of Cutting and Fitting" by King Wilson: http://www.cutterand...?showtopic=1348



#7 Nigel

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Posted 18 July 2019 - 07:41 PM

Re: balance, you probably want to read "The Art of Cutting and Fitting" by King Wilson: http://www.cutterand...?showtopic=1348

 

I have, and it's excellent!


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#8 Nigel

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Posted 19 July 2019 - 06:10 AM

i have now revised my pattern draft to take account of front and back balance (I hope).  I have also adjusted the lower back in an attempt to disguise some of the excess curvature characteristic of stooped figures such as mine, allowing a bit more room than strictly necessary.  My next muslin should show whether it works or not.

 

Whether or not I ever make this coat, the exercise has been very interesting.  Body coats, like vests, seem much less forgiving than lounge coats so they are very good discipline for honing one's fitting skills.


Edited by Nigel, 19 July 2019 - 06:14 AM.


#9 Nigel

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Posted 20 July 2019 - 06:28 AM

Just completed my revised muslin.  Taking out more length from the front and giving a bit more room in the small of the back has transformed the hang of the coat, which now looks much more military and less like a girl's dress.  Still some work to do however.  One thing I have read about but not noticed in practice is that a low shoulder is often associated with a slightly more pronounced hip on the same side.  With the slight flare of the skirt over the hip this is now showing in my muslin, suggesting that I should either make more room on that side or take a bit in on the other.



#10 posaune

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Posted 21 July 2019 - 05:48 AM

depends. I have to take my right side a bit in and let my left side out a bit. And I have to look at the low shoulder and armhole on the left side.

lg

posaune



#11 Schneiderfrei

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Posted 21 July 2019 - 10:54 AM

You could check out these articles. 

 

The first from the Rundschau Magazine in the 80's. Although it is mainly about a corpulent draft it has a description of taking the balance measurement and incorporating it into a draft in the "Chapter" Zeichnung 3

 

http://movsd.com/Bes...php?topic=457.0

 

The second is one I wrote about 4 years ago about finding balance in a shirt.  Exactly the same principles apply and I have included a few different ways of incorporating the measurement into the draft.  

 

http://movsd.com/Bes....php?topic=61.0

 

The best method of incorporating the balance into a bodice draft is the one posaune showed.  Taking the a point at the centre of the armhole and raising the Centre Front in an arc from that point. This method gives the added length at the front with the least disturbance to the front seam of the armhole, which would cause problems in the sleeve.


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#12 Nigel

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Posted 06 August 2019 - 07:18 PM

Most helpful, thank you.

 

Armed with what I have learned from my exercise in drafting and making a muslin for a frock coat I have returned to my waistcoat draft.  

 

I have to date made two unsuccessful attempts at making a close fitting waistcoat.  When I made my first, several years ago, I had very little concept of vertical balance or the importance of getting the shoulder points in the right place.  The result was that it gaped horribly at the top button.  My second attempt took these considerations into account but I didn't get the adjustments quite right.  I rushed into the cloth without leaving enough inlays to correct the errors and I lost my way trying to correct things by trial and error rather than getting to grips with why and where the underlying draft was wrong.

 

What I have learned from the frock coat exercise has proved invaluable.  I am now very close to getting a waistcoat muslin which fits well and have been very careful to document and record all the adjustments.  My current tailoring tutor however was rather bemused by my detailed drafts.  He has so much experience that he knows intuitively why things don't fit and how they should be corrected so wouldn't need to go to these lengths.  He also pointed out that the style of waistcoat worn in the 1920 and 30 (from which period my draft derives) was much more closely fitted than is the custom today.



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