1740-60s Court Suit (Part I)

Part I – Breeches, binder, shirt, and part of the frock coat.

Part II – Waistcoat and fancy buttons

Part III – Frock coat &c.

So help me God, I saw the new Beauty and the Beast and fell in love. Specifically, with Prince Adam’s human outfits. His skirts are all a-twirlin’ in that ballroom scene at the end…

His outfit is almost-but-not-really HA. The pieces are all there, but the decoration is pretty off – it’s got white lace appliquéd all over it, rhinestones, and I still can’t figure out what his buttons are. I think they’re giant metal ones, but it’s hard to tell.

As you can see, his coat resembles a 1760s suit rather than a 1740s style.

Related image

LACMA – 1730s Court Suit / 1760s Court Suit

He has the earlier, fuller skirts, but the later cutaway front and smaller cuffs (and the later hairstyle, haha. With real hair. Okay.)

I have sky blue china silk for the waistcoat and breeches, white linen for the shirt, and a big set of cotton damask curtains for the frock coat. (I’m pretty sure the movie coat is velvet appliquéd onto silk, and I am not about that life. Also: why.)

I’m using Simplicity 4923, because I hate myself, with heavy reference to Nora Waugh’s The Cut of Men’s Clothes, 1600-1900. (It looks like there’s a PDF here. Buy the real book if you can!)

Simplicity Pattern 4923 Men's Costumes

First order of business: I don’t look like a man, but I need to look good in this suit. Time to make my own binder, because I left my usual at home and it barely works anyway.


I found myself wondering why there was no boned (male) vest pattern for sale anywhere, when there are a thousand for boobs. So I made my own.

Screen Shot 2018-04-16 at 9.33.58 PMScreen Shot 2018-04-16 at 9.34.42 PM

Unboned, it’s very unflattering, but actually compresses to approximately the same degree as the ones I’ve bought. When boned, it’s amazing.

It’s a bit of a bother when I sit down, as it does ride up a little, but who needs to sit down anyway??

I did some grading and put it up for sale


Once that was done, I could start fitting the pants (the binder turns my 30″ waist into 34″).


Breeches, taffeta with button front – Kerry Taylor Auctions

I didn’t realize until halfway into cutting that fall front breeches weren’t really a thing till the 1770s. (They appear in the 1750s, but aren’t popular for a while.) Thanks, inaccurate pattern.

(My god, these are unflattering on my lady thighs.) Will attempt to cut the waistcoat longer to cover….

I interfaced the entire drop front, as recommended; I eventually cut away all but the middle in an effort to make it less unflattering.

Finished it fairly nicely, with self-covered buttons and hand-done buttonholes. (My breeches do not have pockets. I rarely put pockets into anything that I’m making for the first time.)

Next, the shirt. Completely linen; inner seams are machined and everything outside (including neck and cuffs) done by hand. I did a couple thread-wrapped buttons and braided some ties.

Waistcoat! I cut it a bit longer than the pattern suggested, for a slightly earlier look (and for optimal crotch-hiding). I’d like to cut a slit up the back for lacing so that I can get a really good fit, but that’ll have to wait for the next post.

2011 waistcoat by Maijah

(I’m unsure whether this is an HA feature, as I’m only finding it in repros, but I think I need it for better fit due to my not-male form, so I’ll live with it if it’s just a reenactorism.)

I sewed in a strip of heavy cotton twill to reinforce the future buttonholes – you can see it just a bit through the fabric, but hopefully the appliqués will hide it later.

Screen Shot 2018-04-16 at 10.08.38 PM

That’s all I’ve got on the waistcoat for now – it needs buttons, hemming, and decoration. (And the back lacing.)

Frock coat

I’ve gotten the lining all cut out (an inaccurate vivid blue sateen, but I don’t know what the movie used and it was cheap) and arranged so that it cuts away like Adam’s does. It’s so swingy in back!

Screen Shot 2018-04-16 at 10.09.09 PM

Next order of business on this is to actually cut out the sleeves and then the fashion fabric.

  • I plan on making real pockets in this so I can actually hold things
  • Planning on making dorset buttons because I can’t find good metal ones. I’m not actually sure I have the patience to do this after this project has already sat for so long, though, and I’m really not sure they’re any more accurate than metal buttons. Embroidered would be the most accurate, but that would also take a lot of time, and nothing else on this suit has embroidery.

I already have the shoes for this (thanks, Black Friday!) – American Duchess Pompadours. I gave them a trial run in February, and…they’re not that comfortable, sadly. I’ll just have to suffer for beauty.

Screen Shot 2018-04-16 at 10.57.27 PM.png

Adam’s are a light blue, so I should really dye these for the final costume, but I also hate painting and haven’t been able to perfectly match the other colors on his outfit, so I might not care enough to do so. (They’re also really pretty white….)


I started this costume in early October 2017 and put it down in early November. I’d gotten to the coat and was suffering from a severe sewing block due to too much research stress and not enough motivation.

I switched over to working on the 1885 gown and ended up leaving this at home for the rest of the school year. I’ve found my motivation again, but I won’t be able to do anything more with it until late May 2018 at the earliest. I hope to finish it this summer!

Part II

2 thoughts on “1740-60s Court Suit (Part I)

  1. Pingback: 1740s-60s Court Suit (Part II) | Sewing with Kenna

  2. Pingback: 1740s-60s Court Suit (Part III) | Sewing with Kenna

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