Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Featured Garment: 1873 Morning Coat

You know, one of these times I should probably find something /really/ different.  Maybe I'll go to Ottoman Turkey....  But because this is on a single garment, and an actual example, this post will likely be shorter than usual.

Anyways, we're moving forwards by yet another century to 1870s Great Britain, where there is a lovely example of a double breasted morning coat in the V&A museum.

As you can see, it is a double breasted morning coat, buttoning 2/6--meaning that there are a total of six buttons, and only two actually do anything--, and with /very/ '70s lapels.  The cuffs appear to be cut on, rather than grown on (i.e. sewn into place, rather than being cut as part of the sleeve).  Not particularly atypical there--what caught my eye about this originally is that it is part of the short lived fashion of double breasted, wide lapelled morning coats; I really only seem to see it for a few years.  It certainly didn't last past the 1880s, where men's fashion dictated high, tiny, lapels.  This particular form is labeled as business, walking, or (according to the museum where this example resides) a university style.

As a touch of background on morning coats in general, they appear to begin showing up in the 1860s, as an less formal alternative to the frock coat.  On the whole, the cut of the body was identical to the frock coat, with the drafting manuals I have looked through using the same pattern, and just different skirts (the manuals also back up that morning coats began showing up in the 1860s).  Obviously, there is somewhat of a difference in the cut of the fore-body of this example, since the double breast is grown on, rather than cut.

The coat is stated to be crafted of a dark blue, cotton(!) velvet, and lined with a twill woven blend of silk and wool (black).  The sleeves, on the other hand are lined with white cotton twill with some kind of print in brown--no pictures are available, unfortunately.  The buttons and the braiding accenting the edges are in a black ribbed wool (or silk--the museum disagrees with itself in two paragraphs); I am assuming that it has faded with time.

As you can see, there really are 6 buttons on this coat--they just were covered by the lapels when only the middle button was fastened.

The other somewhat notable feature--notice that the sleevehead is slightly gathered.  I also believe (based on the drape) that the seam allowance was press in, towards the body.

  To pattern and make this coat, I would go to page 23 of H. Matheson's scientific and practical guide for the tailor's cutting department (1871), which has a similar jacket labeled as a business coat.

All photographs of the coat are from the V&A Museum, and belong to them: http://collections.vam.ac.uk/item/O75656/coat-unknown/

As always, the opinions (far fewer this time) are my own, and the article was written to promote discussion.

© John Frey, 2016. The Author of this work retains full copyright for this material. Permission is granted to make and distribute verbatim copies of this document for non-commercial private research or educational purposes provided the copyright notice and this permission notice are preserved on all copies. 

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