Sunday, March 27, 2016

Common Sack/Lounge Coat, 1880s-Early 1890s

I have been working toward this for five years, gone through a few versions, an feel like I am at least close. It is the simplest looking but most complicated coat to nail coat I have ever done. My objective was to make a typical "sack" or "lounge" coat (with a number of other designations depending on specific characteristics applied) that would straddle the 1880s to the early 1890s. Here is what came out:

It was one of the only fashionable coats made with three seams (no side body piece) after ca. 1840. The details ebbed and flowed once a rather ill fitted version had taken hold by ca. 1860 through past the end of the century. For basic shapes, I actually started with an 1860s sack coat pattern that kinda-sorta fit and worked from there. Widened the collar and lapels by 3/4", shaped the area between the second to top button and start of lapel fold to better fit my chest, slightly more heavily interfaced the chest, re-shaped the sleeves (the early 1860s fashionable sleeve was very wide) based on some extant pieces in my collection with a similar shape that I was going for, introduced a body fish between the armsye and pockets with help from page 108 of The Victorian Tailor by Jason MacLochlainn, and introduced a ticket pocket above the right hip pocket (also with some help from MacLochlainn's diagrams). The ticket pocket pocket occurring more often than not in a variety of primary documentation from the 1880s. I moved the breast pocket slightly but next time need to adjust the angle. I also used a cotton/linen blend canvas for interfacing and regret not using hair canvas; will not make that mistake again. Some primary documentation to back up my decisions:

Beginning of the general look- Bat Masterson, ca. 1879.

Ca. 1880s, Patterson Homestead in Ohio, via my friend Katie Nowack.

Ca. 1889-1890, J. Mitchell Co., New York, Fall-Winter.

Ca. 1890 via

Extant suit conforming to general characteristics via Augusta Auctions.

By the end of the 1890s, styles were changing again (as they do), with the most conspicuous difference being a more dramatic slope to the front bodies:

MET Collection.


  1. It looks fantastic! Your tailoring is so impressive.

    p.s. I hope you start posting more

    1. Thank you so much!! I do have a bad habit of just grabbing the next piece of fabric before saying anything about the previous project- LOL!

  2. That's great!! :-)

  3. Nice coat and Thanks for sharing I hope to see more.

    1. Thank you very much! Hoping to keep up better going forward :)