Monday, November 8, 2010

Tailcoat Sleeve Cuff

As I posted last time, I find the tailcoat sleeve cuff intimidating - and still do, even after working on it. I'm just not sure how it's supposed to work, with an overlap but no slit/placket above the cuff like on a shirtsleeve, so it's the construction aspect that's tripping me up. I'm just winging the whole cuff thing because the only references I can find for this style of cuff are portraits (so not much nitty-gritty detail), but it seems like there was enough variation in cuff construction and style that I should have some leeway.

Instead of using the cuff pattern from Tidens Toej, with its wavy lines that also probably aren't the right length (since I drafted my own undersleeve pattern), I decided to draft my own cuff pattern. I just did straight lines, with a little flare at the end - it's going to be a trial and error pattern piece.

First Cuff Draft and Mockup

The first cuff with the straight edges is a little too tight at the front (top edge of the mockup), and I want it to flare more over the hand. I was reading this article by Lynn McMasters on the shape of different top hats, and realized that the flare of the top hats illustrated are similar to the shape I want for my cuff. So I reworked the cuff to curve, more like top hat pattern "D".

2nd Cuff, based on top hat shape

I like this version more - the cuff definitely has more attitude now! And after playing with cuff shapes, I realized that the 1825 tailcoat in Norah Waugh's Cut of Men's Clothes has a curved cuff too. I love discovering the nuances of period clothing - different coats in the same period would have had different cuff shapes, and it's fun to have options.

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