In my composition for Matthew Flinders, there are three main drapery 'groups'.
1/ The breeches: in this position they have a fast, dynamic stretch to them. I need to make sure that the pulls strung between anatomy (ie where is is wrapped onto flesh or bone) explain the air beneath to catch that speed.
2/The waistcoat: this has a slow-moving quality on the front that is full of langorous folds while the back is gently describing the turn of the shoulders. The overall effect is of thicker, more homely fabric; avuncular even.
3/ The shirt: this is seen only at the collar and arms and has a buoyant feel. It should help lighten the top half of the figure and go some way to suggesting movement. This is going to be a bugger to model...hundreds of interlocking turns and kicks that have to be simplified down to something coherent.
To start looking at this and create something for reference, I have commissioned the fabulously adaptable Liz Gurney (Liz has worked in and taught costume-making for years and can turn her hand to anything) to research and mock-up an historically accurate set of clothes from source patterns and with fabric that is as close to the character and weight of the originals.
Liz unpacks the clothes
Liz does the first fit with our model, Robert Doyle. Notice how much extra fabric there is on the backside. The reason for this will become clear in about 20 posts time.
Rob prepares to test drive the togs.
I like the breeches...see what I mean about the speed?....and the shirt...look at those folds on the sleeves..depending on your point of view, they look like either Brancusi's endless column or a modular rubble shute.
The waistcoat, however, is simply not the right fabric...it looks too wooden....so Liz makes adjustments to the size so that she can use it as a pattern for the next one to be made in felt or wool. Moleskin might do the job as well.