Category Archives: 0322 Men´s Regency Tailcoat

Men’s Tailcoat about 1800 – Part 1 – Getting started, steps (1) – (2)

The last garment missing to complete our men´s wardrobe is the Tailcoat. Again, this blog post will supplement the sewing instructions for my pattern. The sewing techniques described in the instructions will follow the construction methods seen on extant garments as much as possible, with some extra information and pictures here.

Grab the sewing pattern here!

Please be aware, that this is a hand-sewing pattern, all long seams can be sewn by machine, but many steps can be only done by hand. Some steps are quite tricky, even for an experienced sewer, some steps are unfamiliar compared to modern sewing techniques.

I´m going to show you the making of a double-breasted Tailcoat of the early 19th with many of the typical characteristics of these days. The body has three seams only, a center back seam, two back side seams, moved wide into the back, and no waist seam. Front and back tails are sewn together along the back side seam, pleated into a backward opening fold. The pocket opening is hidden inside these folds. The back opens into a vent beneath the waist. 

The double-breasted front ends about 1” above the natural waistline, showing the waistcoat underneath.  Breast padding supports the front and no shoulder pads are installed. The sleeves are pretty long, reaching the basal thumb joint, and finishing with a cuff. All the extra width at the sleeve head is gathered at the front. The collar features the typical m-notch. The body is lined with polished cotton fabric. The front facings are extended to meet at the center back.

The edges of non-fraying wool fabrics like felted wool will be left raw. When working with a fraying fabric, I recommend sewing the tailcoat in a more “modern” way.

The first possibility would be to line up the top and bottom layers, wrong sides together. Then turn the seam allowances under and sew all edges with a slip stitch, described in this blog post of my Romantic Tailcoat:

The second possibility is even more modern, sewing collar and lapels with the right sides together and then turning the right side out, as usual nowadays:

A third (for moderate fraying fabrics) would be to turn under the seam allowances of the top layer, trim back the seam allowance of the bottom layer to the net, and slip or fell stitch the bottom layer in place:

Men’s Tailcoat about 1800 – Part 2 – Steps (3) – (6)

Part 1: General considerations and steps (1) – (2)

(3) Baste the front canvas to the wrong side of the front, lining up the edges.

Start stitching up the front, and continue along the roll line until reaching the shoulder. Then down the chest, giving some ease by stretching the chest slightly, simulating the body with a tailors ham or a pillow. Last along the armhole and the side seam followed by the curved edge. Baste about 2” (5cm) from all edges. 

Mark the seamline on the canvas along the front and bottom edge, as well as along the lapel and neckline. Mark the roll line. Pad stitch the lapel, starting about ¾” (2cm) behind the roll line, folding the lapel over your hand’s edge to give it the right shape. Stop stitching just before reaching the marked seamline.

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Men’s Tailcoat about 1800 – Part 4 – Steps (9) – (12)

Part 3: Steps (7) – (8)

Let’s continue with step (9), the sleeves.

(9) Sew the sleeve seams from the fashion fabric and lining, right sides together, and leave a vent at the back seam. Press open the seam allowances. Gather the sleeve along the sleeve head and press carefully into shape. In the first picture, you can see the sleeve lining cut with extra ease at the seams and the armpit as described on page 4 of the instructions.

Take the cuff and fold it in half lengthwise, wrong sides together. Press the edge and reopen. Line up the cuff with the bottom edge of the sleeve, matching the marks, and sew. Don´t catch the seam allowances of the vent. Press open and, notch the seam allowances to avoid bulk as shown.

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