So what is a pelisse? Isn't that a coat-dress worn for outerwear in the early 19th century?
But in the last half of the 18th century, it refers to a particular style of cloak-like outerwear that is often trimmed in fur. Interestingly, it's the English in the early 19th century who use the word "pelisse" to describe the coat-dress worn for outerwear by women and the French use the word "redingote" to describe the same thing, while using "pelisse" to still refer to the 18th century cloak-like outerwear (and the winter coat of hussar style uniforms). Confusing, I know! But using the correct terminology can help us have a better understanding of period clothing by allowing us to think about the clothes the way the original wearers and makers would have.
Garsault gives instructions for making a pelisse in his 1764 publication L'Art du Tailleur. Reading through how a pelisse is cut and constructed tells us how it differs from cloaks and mantles in the 18th century. The pelisse is made up of rectangular panels that are pleated to fit the neckline (they also have gores added to the bottoming the panels to increase the hem that are cut from the top of the rectangles, like 18th century shifts). Extant cloaks, on the other hand, are cut as slightly-more-than-semi-circles that can have some gathering to fit the neckline. Garsault's mantelet is short and the bottom edge is shaped to dip in front and come up over the elbows. Pelisses in images tend to be about hip length or slightly longer, and Garsault's measurements produce such a garment. Other common features of pelisses are a large hood falling over the shoulders and slits in the front for the wearer's arms. Below are just a few examples; you can see more on my Pinterest board.
And without further ado, here's my pelisse!