Free Pattern: Incroyables Tailcoat

July 14, 2018 § 4 Comments

Incroyables ensemble, ca. 1790-95

Incroyables ensemble, ca. 1790-95. Image: LACMA.

Happy quatorze juillet! For Bastille Day, here’s a pattern for an Incroyables tailcoat.

The tailcoat, which dates to Revolutionary France, was part of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art’s 2016 Reigning Men exhibit, currently on view at Sydney’s Powerhouse Museum.

Incroyables and Merveilleuses were the dandies and fashionistas of the revolutionary period. Today, Directoire style evokes glam rock, Marat/Sade, and John Galliano. The style famously inspired Galliano’s 1984 graduation collection, entitled Les Incroyables, as well as his work for Givenchy.

Adam and the Ants, Prince Charming (1981)

Adam and the Ants, Prince Charming (1981) Image: Discogs.

David Bowie 50th birthday distressed frock coat 1997

David Bowie at his 50th birthday concert, 1997. Image: Pushing Ahead of the Dame.

The Royal Shakespeare Company presents Peter Brook's motion picture "The Persectution and Assassination of Jean-Paul Marat as performed by the inmates of the asylum of Charenton under the direction of the Marquis de Sade, by Peter Weiss

John Steiner and Glenda Jackson in Peter Brook’s Marat/Sade © 1967 United Artists.

Givenchy Haute Couture by John Galliano, 1996. Steven Meisel / Grace Coddington

Linda Evangelista in Givenchy Haute Couture by John Galliano, Vogue, December 1996. Photo: Steven Meisel. Fashion Editor: Grace Coddington.

Here are the museum notes:

This handsewn silk tailcoat, with its high collar, wide lapels, short front, and long back exemplifies how French fashion extremists (incroyables) adopted and exaggerated traditional wool riding coats from England. The sleeves of this tailcoat, set unnaturally close together, forced the wearer to hold his shoulders back and thrust his chest forward to create a “pouter pigeon” silhouette which was fashionable in the late eighteenth century.
Detail, 1790s Incroyables ensemble

Detail, 1790s Incroyables ensemble. Image: LACMA.

1790s Incroyables tailcoat, back view

1790s Incroyables tailcoat, back view. Image: LACMA.

Back detail sketch by Thomas John Bernard

Back detail sketch by Thomas John Bernard. Image: LACMA.

Download the pattern here.

Note: Gridded pattern. Does not include seam allowance.

Length at centre back: 49″ (124.5 cm)

Notions: 14 1 1/8″ (2.9 cm) buttons for front and coattails; 6 3/4″ (1.9 cm) buttons for cuffs.

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§ 4 Responses to Free Pattern: Incroyables Tailcoat

  • paco peralta says:

    Very interesting, I share through my Facebook page. Thanks Sarah!

  • Shonagh Mc Aulay says:

    Beautiful! Great article! Pattern too though likely beyond my modest capacities. Buon weekend! Shonagh

  • erniek3 says:

    Thank you so much, for the pattern, for the background, for the supporting photography. I will need to spend some serious time with this in the autumn. If anything, a scale model will be wonderful fun.

  • Kim says:

    Thanks for sourcing, and sharing, this pattern. I love tailcoats – and the versions produced by McQueen particularly. Life would be fun if we got back to clothing like this 😉.

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