Draping Period Costumes
In the eighteenth century, men’s costume continued to soften and exhibit a greater sense of drape and movement. Satins and velvets remained popular. Brocades became lighter in weight and color with smaller, more delicate floral patterns woven in. Even the woolens developed a softer feel. As if in opposition to the natural tendencies of these finely woven fabrics, there was a desire for fullness and a somewhat horizontal line in the skirts of the men’s coats. The man’s silhouette could be described as “fit and flared.” In order to avoid the excesses of padding and wiring seen earlier in the century, new tailoring techniques were devised. Stiff horsehair interlinings and judicious pleating were used in their skirts. Asian satins with brocade designs work well for this period, as do as lightweight upholstery fabrics with delicate woven designs. Later in the period, fine woolens started to become popular. For visual research, look to Francois Boucher and William Hogarth. Be careful with Antoine Watteau— while his representation of women’s costume is consistently excellent, some of his paintings include men in anachronistic theatrical costume.
Draping an EarlyEighteenth-Century Coat 1. Cut or rip a piece of muslin a few inches longer than the man’s shoulder-to-waist measurement plus his waist to below knee measurement. Use the entire width of the forty-five-inch-wide muslin. 2. Begin draping the CF seam all the way down to the bottom of the dress form (or in the case of a dress form with legs, drape down as far as the CF seam remains on the SOG). Drape the neckline, shoulder seam, and armhole seam. Drape the side seam down