1740s-60s Court Suit (Part III)

Back to Prince Adam! It’s now mid-winter, and I’ve finally finished this behemoth of a costume. This blog post will be about making the frock coat and remaining accessories.

(As a reminder: this is not historically accurate – I am reproducing the court suit that Prince Adam wears in the last scene of the the new Beauty and the Beast movie! I do comment on accuracy at various points, though.)

Part I (breeches, binder, & shirt)

Part II (waistcoat & buttons)

Part III (frock coat &c.)

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Frock Coat

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I had assembled the body of the lining for the coat about a year ago; all I knew at that point was that it would need to be a bit shorter. (Yes, I 100% regret lining it in vibrant blue sateen. Whoops.) I should also have realized that the armscyes were too large, but alas.

I picked it back up this past December and started assembling the rest of it – I had already roughly cut out the pieces (I expected to alter them a bit as I referenced Waugh). I was still struggling with motivation, but really wanted to finish it by the end of January, so I pushed through.

I interfaced the cuffs and the ‘button strip’. (I assumed throughout this process that I would be doing the mostly-decorative 3″ buttonholes on one side, and then looked at my ref pictures again right before I started them and realized that there aren’t any. He has decorative buttons on both sides of the coat. Ok.) I cut the coat away greatly at center front; even though this is supposedly 1740s, he has a lot of the hallmarks for 1760s and later, including a cutaway front coat. I made the cuffs and pocket flaps a great deal smaller than the pattern pieces, and they’re still quite big, especially the cuffs – ah well.

 

I forgot to set in my pockets until quite late in the process – I think I’d already sewn in much of the lining! I cut slits, turned the edges under, and inserted a nice big bag. I ended up stitching the top edges to the lining because I was worried about stretch, too. The cotton damask that I used for the main fabric turned out to have some give! (It’s entirely cotton, so I don’t know what’s going on there – it’s a vintage mid-weight damask, but I don’t regret using it at all because not only does it have beautiful drape, but the pattern also looks a bit raised and thus mimics the screen-used fabric as well as anything reasonably could. (I’m pretty sure that they appliquéd velvet onto satin, and. Why.)

 

A combination of laziness, a lack of motivation, and my innate fear of failure meant that the end construction result was a little messy in terms of fit, but I just said “FINALLY” and moved on to decoration. This involved the same sort of appliqué work that I had done on the waistcoat – and I finally finished my batch of buttons! There’s 30 in this photo alone…

 

Once I started decorating, it dawned on me that there is some serious size difference between myself and Dan Stevens. Go figure, right?! (Hah.) I had calculated my button size and amount (40 buttons, 1.5″ wide) based on what I could see of his coat – but he’s taller and broader than I am. Seven buttons on each front became five (eventually six, when I repositioned) and then I realized that only the fronts of his cuffs had them, so that was three each instead of six. tl;dr: I have buttons left over. Sigh. Anyone want a big fancy button??

 

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I stitched down all the appliqué, sewed on the buttons (extremely satisfying), and enlisted my best friend to ‘design’ the lace for each pocket. 10/10, I will definitely make her help me again!

And that was the coat done! Mostly

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I realized after this that I had ?accidentally? added an extra gore at middle butt, where there is normally just a slit. I’m…very unsure how that happened. Was it part of the pattern, which I haven’t set eyes on for over a year? Did I elect to add it for more swoosh? Did I find extant 1740s coats with it? Who knows.

img_3015Additionally, I noticed during this try-on that the cuffs were coming up a bit too short for my liking. I figured the easiest fix, barring me ignoring the problem, would be to extend the sleeve, so…I made little ruffs and tacked them on. I pressed the pleats, but I might iron them out later for less structure. I’m happy now!

Cravat

588a4522dd08955b218b48dd-1000The last thing to make was the cravat. I did my research on stocks vs cravats and the various knots; he is wearing a long cravat tied in a bow, which is definitely not a 1740s or possibly even a 1760s style. I’m mostly finding (in my not-exhaustive searches) either simple cravats or stocks, with frilly shirt openings poking out. Aside from Mr. Blue below, I don’t really see decoratively knotted cravats until the 1780s, and the 1790s is when they really start flourishing in portraits.

 

So….unsurprisingly…yet another aspect of this outfit is not period correct. I went with it and whipped up a 4.5″ x 90″ strip of fabric with some linen scraps, flat-felling the seams and hand-hemming it. After trying it out properly, 4.5″ is totally wide enough even when folded over for me (delicate womanly neck? who knows), but 80″ in length would have been just fine.

 

img_2992 The result, at left. Pretty happy with it! It definitely looks like his, which is all I need.

All I’m waiting on now is the rest of my silver trim, which I had to order from Australia. That’ll go on the CF of the coat, as well as on the pockets. (Here it is on the waistcoat, below:)img_3003

 

 

 

 

You’ll also notice that there’s some beading along the edges of the applique in this picture. I had started to do that while I procrastinated on the coat, and then waffled over whether I should continue or not. In the end, I like it as a bit of detail, so I picked it back up after the cravat and mirrored it on the other side. At the moment, I only have the neckline down to the chest done, and I’m not sure I’ll continue. This gives some visual interest up by the head for detail shots, but it takes a long time and I’m not sure anyone will notice or care if it doesn’t continue down to the bottom. We all make our choices…

Lastly, the wig. I am a complete amateur at doing hair, but the buckles (rolls, curls, whatever) were pretty easy to make. However, I have each pinned in with no less than three bobby pins, and they’re very obvious up close. Hopefully some kind soul will give me advice on how to set the buckles so that I am able to remove most of the pins? I’ve steamed them and will spray before wearing, but….I always worry about hair. Sigh.

Overall feelings about this costume

So. It has taken me a year and a half to finish this, and I still am torn between ~mostly liking it~ and Absolute Dissatisfaction. I skimped a lot on basic patterning – no toiles, didn’t bother correcting mistakes because I lacked the energy – but I devoted a lot of energy to handwork. I got a lot of happiness recently out of hand-stitching all the hems, edging, and appliqué, and I’m pretty proud of my work in those areas. I made all of the buttons by hand and worked hard on my buttonholes. I also had to source many different materials to create a look that was similar enough to the original outfit that I could be happy with it, which is something I haven’t had to do in a while. And overall, I do like the look. Individually, I can complain all I want about the pieces, but together I think it makes a pretty impressive and cohesive outfit. I’m happy to be done, and yes, I’m excited to wear it at my event in February!

A couple of photos I got in January, below – I hadn’t yet gotten the last bit of trim for the frock coat. I also ended up adding a bit of linen ruffle to the edge of the cuffs to disguise that they were a bit shorter than I had wanted! (Photos by @loulouliuuu on IG.)

Thanks for sticking with me on this wild ride, and see you next time!

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3 thoughts on “1740s-60s Court Suit (Part III)

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

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

  3. For the hair buckles, if you’ve already steam-set them (which I’m assuming is the same as using the boiling water technique to set the curl), you might want to consider getting some matching thread and stitching them down where the pins are. The stitches won’t be nearly as obvious as pins and they’ll hold the hair in place nicely. That’s what I did for my My Fair Lady hairpiece.

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