Madame Victoire of France, 1788

Discussion on what style of dress suits a plus size lady best; adjusting a 1770's waistcoat pattern for a man with a large stomach.

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Letters, Questions & Advice: May 2010
Re: Waistcoat for larger gentlemen.

I've found it most important to choose or make your pattern according to the should/neck/upper chest fit, as it's actually much easier to change the fit in the waist. After that, remember that the waist girth for a large stomach will be increased mostly in the front, and that the front length measurement will change also. The front edges of these garments tend to have a pronounced curve, which helps to fit the stomach area.

Letters, Questions & Advice: May 2010
Ellie, With this period waistcoats they almost always had a slit down the back with ties so that they could adjust. You would go with the chest measurement and not the waist measurement, I list it on my patten but it is the measurement if the ties are tied closed and my guess is that one could get another 5-6 inches maybe more depending on how long waisted the man is. I have pictures of a mock up of the Waistcoat at
When we where taking the pictures we stuck a pillow in the front and adjusted the ties it looked great. You could have lacings in place of the ties. Lynn

Letters, Questions & Advice: May 2010
I've used the now sold out FEDERALIST AND REGENCY COSTUME: 1790-1819, edited by R.L. Shep for information on adjusting men's outfits, or as they say, to "make a coat for a big belly". When I made a regency coatee for a gentleman using this book, I found it pretty easy until I had to sew on decoration - at that stage I had to put it on the wearer to get everything level and even.
I have two antique waistcoats in my collection, one from 1780 that has a full back, and one from 1810-20 that has a slit back with ties. Ties are a perfect solution, as long as the wearer remembers that men of that day did not generally take their coats off, so the ties remained out of sight.

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