Patterns for the Well-Dressed 19th Century Gentleman

Patterns for the Well-Dressed 19th C. Gentleman |

Hugh Dancy as Daniel Deronda set in the 1870s

Lest you think we forget our handsome gentlemen around here…

Without them where would our Elizabeth Bennet be? What about Molly without her Roger? Or Scarlet without her Ashley AND Rhett?

For these dashing men to be appropriately dressed, they must make a visit to their tailor – who probably dressed them to the T without the use of patterns. We, on the other hand, lowly 21st century seamstresses, dressmakers, and wannabe tailors must rely on ready-made patterns to get it right.

To help in your search for patterns to gussy up your man (or yourself!), here are several patterns that will draw the attention of all the ladies at the ball or picnic.

c.1825-30 Gentleman's outfit held at LACMA

c.1825-30 Gentleman’s outfit held at LACMA

The Recommended Sewing Patterns (not all-inclusive):


Laughing Moon

#107 – Men’s Victorian and Edwardian Shirts

#109 – Men’s Single & Double Breasted Frock Coats with 2 Vests

#116 – Men’s Sack Jackets: 1860-1900

#119 – Men’s Mid-Victorian to Edwardian Period Trousers 1850-1910

#121 – Man’s Regency Tailcoat 1810-1830 (with waist seam)

#122 – Man’s Regency Tailcoat 1806-1820 (without waist seam)


Past Patterns

#006 – 1860s-1900s Men’s Drawers

#007 – Two Mid-Nineteenth Century Shirts

#009 – Double-Breasted Summer Paletot with Flap Pockets, circa 1847-1856

#014 – 1840-1870 Summer Trowsers

#016 – Men’s Winter Trousers with or without Foot Straps, circa 1843-1856

#018 – Single-Breasted Shawl Collar Summer Waistcoat, circa 1845 to 1858

#032 – 1804 U.S. Army Issue Artillery Coat

#040 – Napoleonic Era British Foot Soldier’s Jacket, circa 1806-1820

#041 – U.S. Army Roundabout Matching 1812 Specs

#106 – Gentleman’s 1860s Drawers

#108 – 1830s-1840s Small-Fall Trowsers

#710 – 1851-1867 Union Issue Trowsers

#910 – 1870s-1901 Overalls


Buckaroo Bobbins

Western Heritage Shirt

1880s Vests (I use this one over and over!)

Gentleman’s Frock Coat, late 1800s

Detachable Collar Pattern

Cravat Pattern

Britches, based on US government issues in the 1860s


Period Impressions (Google for vendors)

#700 – Collars & Ties

#701 – Men’s Sack Suit Coat

#702 – 1858 Frock Coat

#703 – 1860s Double Breasted Frock Coat

#704 – 1840 Double Breasted Frock Coat

#733 – 1812 Officer’s Coatee

#741 – Civilian Vest

#750 – Military Issue Shirt

#752 – Three Button Shirt

#770 – Men’s Drawers (underwear)

#775 – Men’s Pants

Plus many other patterns for mid-century military impressions

Clark Gable as Rhett Butler c.1860s

Clark Gable as Rhett Butler c.1860s

Tailor’s Guide   

1790s Frock Coate’ (great for Regency)

1830s Frock Coat 1838-1865

Drop Front Breeches or Trousers 1750-1820 (for Regency)

Button-Fly Trousers 1850-1900

Trade Shirt 1830-1860

Men’s Western Vest 1860-1890


Kannik’s Korner

Man’s Trousers 1790-1810

Man’s Waistcoats – Single Breasted c.1790 – 1815

Early 19th Century Shirt Pattern


Country Wives (Google for vendors)

1800-1820 Men’s M-Notch and Roll Collar Regency Tailcoat

1800-1820 Regency Waistcoat

1800-1825 Men’s Narrow Fall Trousers with Pantaloon Option

1790-1825 Greatcoat


Rocking Horse Farm

#199 – Men’s 1812 Regency Era Waistcoat

#207 –Narrow Fall Pants pre-1840

#153 – Gentleman’s Waistcoat 1790-1820

1795-1820 Men’s Tailcoat


Homespun Patterns (Google for Vendors)

#020 – Civilian Sack Coat

#018 – Military Cut Vest

Plus many more mid-century military patterns


Timeless Stitches

#710 – Standard Issue/Basic Shirt, 1800-1900

#711 – Men’s Bib Front Shirt, mid-1800s

#715 – Men’s Tailored Dress Shirt, mid-to-late 19th C.

#716 – Collars & Cuffs for Men

#727 – Men’s Civilian Trousers, post-1840

#732 – Civilian Shawl Collar Vest, 1850s-1880s

#730 – Military Vest

#720 – Men’s Military Trousers, mid-century


Patterns of History from the Wisconsin Historical Society

1878 Sack Suit


For those advanced enough to sew from original patterns with little instruction, Ageless Patterns has a large selection of men’s patterns from undergarments to jackets & ties.



Men’s Garments: 1830-1900, a Guide to Pattern Cutting and Tailoring by R.I. Davis

The Victorian Tailor: A Introduction to Period Tailoring by Jason Maclochlainn

Early Victorian Men by R.L. Shep

Cut of Men’s Clothes: 1600-1900 by Norah Waugh


Late Victorian Gentleman

A dapper late Victorian gentleman


Appropriate Fabrics for the Men (a few suggestions)

Woolfor Coats, Waistcoats/Vests, Trousers: Coatings, suitings, tropical weight for warmer climates, merinos, broadcloths

Silk for Waistcoats and Cravats: brocades, China silk, taffeta in solids, prints, embroidered, plaids, stripes; silk can also be used as high-quality coat linings

Cotton: Polished or muslin for linings and pockets, damasks for Regency waistcoats

Linen: Heavy and stiff for early century coats and waistcoats; linings


You can find fabric vendors on the Fabrics & Trims resource page.

For more pattern vendor links, visit the Patterns resource page.

A Gentleman and Officer

A Gentleman and Officer

Have you made gentlemen’s clothing from the Regency or Victorian eras? How did you do? Any particular experiences with patterns listed here you’d like to pass on?


  1. Richard says

    I have done a lot of Victorian clothing and have used the Laughing Moon patterns (IMHO, the best out there) and have drafted out Victorian and Regency stuff from the R.I. Davis book (ditto). I have done a little bit with Ageless Patterns, but it took a great deal of tweaking to suit my so-not-period body.

    I’ve also used the Buckaroo Bobbins 1880s vests pattern quite a bit, and the 1878 Sack Suit pattern from Patterns of History (an excellent pattern; I couldn’t recommend it enough).

    The books you have listed are all brilliant; I’d also recommend various titles from the R.L. Shep series, which are basically reprints of period tailoring books.

    I haven’t yet gotten the newer sack suit/Norfolk jacket pattern from Laughing Moon but hope to do so soon; BTW, Laughing Moon also sells an excellent reproduction waistcoat/trouser back belt buckle, inexpensive plain shirt studs and probably the best collapsible collar stud I have ever used.

  2. says

    I really like Kannik’s Korner, and think they’re well-researched. I’ve made the Laughing Moon Frock Coat/Vest and California Pants (now discontinued). They’re both good for the intermediate sewer.

    However, I’ve stopped using published patterns now, and have been learning to draft my own from period sources. The R. I. Davis book is good, but I’ve also used the W.D.F Vincent Cutter’s Practical Guide (which seems to have disappeared from the Costumer’s Manifesto, but should be able to be found elsewhere) and Maclochlainn’s Victorian Tailor. I think this is important because part of the Regency and Victorian look is the tailored profile – the body coat. I know this is possible by adjusting patterns, but it doesn’t create a perfectly-tailored appearance. It’s also a lot harder, and not for someone who wants to spend less than several weeks on each item of clothing.

  3. says

    “Thoughts on Men’s Shirts in America, 1750-1900” by William L. Brown III is excellent for the little details that make period men’s shirts understandable! Its out of print, but I was fortunate to find a used copy on Amazon for $50.

  4. Kerry says

    Your timing on this couldn’t have been better! Any authoritative resources to recommend on tips and tricks of Regency sewing for men? I’m planning on making a tailcoat for my boyfriend for a ball in June and have never sewn anything for a man before.

    • says

      I approach my Regency menswear from a dressmaking viewpoint along with adding a few tailoring techniques. Flatline with Hymo hair cloth. I really liked the Tailor’s Guide coat pattern as they walk you through building it as a tailored garment. Good luck!

  5. Diane Ullman says

    I can’t comment on the costumes because to date I’ve not had occasion to use them, however, I’d like to observe that I feel very sorry for men who like or are interested in historical fashion. Unlike women’s fashion, which changes dramatically from decade to decade, menswear has changed so little over the last century and half that if Abraham Lincoln appeared on Main Street the only thing about his clothing that would attract attention would be his hat.

    (Of course Lincoln himself might cause some comment at nearly 6’5″ and posssessing such unmistakable features.)

  6. Jane Olive says

    I have done several jackets/ties/vests for John Olive. The trouble is he likes to wear his trousers below his waist–like modern men do. He will wear suspenders though. So I just make his vest a bit longer to cover up the space. And shirts with removable cuffs and collars. Forget it. Before he gets out the door it is all rumpled and askew. He loves it and the first one to “dress” (our local vernacular for period dressing). Any suggestions to make him more “correct” and comfortable at the same time? Or is it a pick-your-battles and live with it?

    • says

      I’d say you’re doing really well with him so far. Just like the rest of us, we all have our quirks with dressing historical and will alter the clothes to feel more comfortable. We ARE modern people and used to different things than how they were done in the past. Just go with it, and him. The longer waistcoat is a perfect solution. Or just let the shirt be seen. Who’s to say it wasn’t done back then? I think we all have to allow for others quirks in our fun hobby, including family members. Be happy & proud that he’s wearing articles you’ve made for him in love. :-)

  7. Martha H. Michau says

    Any particular recommendations for someone with a tall(6’5″) and beefy(58-62″ waist) guy to dress?

    I’m wanting to get into historical costume, but it seems like it would be a bit dull for me unless I can get the hubs involved.

  8. Walt says

    I’m looking for a gentleman businessman impression for the late 1850’s to very early 1860’s. It seems that most men’s frock coats were black, as were the hats. Would it be strange…or out of the common…to sport a grey hat…or even a grey frock coat over a say….green or burgundy silk vest? How about pants? It seems that most period pictures show men in dark suit coats…some worn over lighter colored pants. But I don’t see any wearing a grey suit coat over black pants. Would this be odd…or unheard of? And must men’s hats almost always be black?

    I’d like to sport a grey or black hat over a grey frock coat with a burgundy or green silk vest underneath and black pants. Out of the question?

    • says

      Oh, they definitely had colors!! Yes, black was quite popular but other functional colors (as well as plaid tweeds in the mid-century) were readily seen. And the waistcoats (vests) were the one article men could strut their personality. Gray wool hats were available too. Sounds like a wonderful ensemble you’re dreaming up! Yes, do it! (You can browse my men’s board on Pinterest to give you a few more ideas.)

  9. Amanda says

    What is main difference between a civil war roundabout jacket and a regency roundabout jacket? They look very similar to me, other then maybe the collar being a little taller on the regency one.

    • says

      I haven’t heard of the name “roundabout” for a men’s jacket. Cuts are quite different for men from the early 1800s to the 1860s. 1840s is closer to the 1860s look but Regency is still an older style. Can you describe it differently?

      • Amanda says

        Here is a link to a page that sells the pattern for the civil war roundabout. It’s the second one in. It’s the basic shell they wear.

        Here’s a link to the regency pattern.

        I know some people who do use a civil war roundabout in regency, but I’m not sure how accurate it is.

        • says

          “Shell jacket” I HAVE heard of! Sorry for not knowing the other name. And since I don’t have a lot of research on men’s military uniforms I can’t say exactly how accurate they are. The Regency one might be a bit more fitted with the armhole seam higher on the shoulder and the sleeves set a bit more into the back. The cuff is present on the Regency one too. And the collar is higher, as you mentioned. Not sure which way you are trying to go – using CW for Regency or Regency for CW.


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