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Author Topic: Corduroy pants and vest?  (Read 2905 times)
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Rachel W
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« on: December 23, 2014, 08:23:58 AM »

Fabricmart.com had a sale on their sale fabrics last week and they had 100% cotton, tan corduroy for $1.80/yard - http://www.fabricmartfabrics.com/Caramel-Pinwale-Corduroy-42W.html.  My 11-year-old son really needs clothing (all of it) so we can stop borrowing from the sites where we volunteer (none of it ever fits him anyway) and also so he'll have clothes for the re-enactments we hope to attend next year.  He grows so fast that I can't bring myself to spend the money for wool yet, maybe once I can be sure he'll be able to wear things for longer than 6 months or so. The events we go to range from mid-1840s to mid-1860s (and also some late 1860s-early 1880s).  I bought enough to make him pants and a vest and possibly a hat.  Since I'm just getting into sewing boys' clothing I'm really not sure if the corduroy is even an appropriate fabric (I'll probably use it anyway since it was so cheap) and also, would an 11-year-old wear matching pants, vest, and hat?
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EKorsmo
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« Reply #1 on: December 23, 2014, 02:27:30 PM »

From what I'm finding on googlebooks (the museums aren't giving many hits), corduroy pants are appropriate for a boy in very humble circumstances, and a jacket of corduroy may also be appropriate, particularly at the earlier end of your time frame.

Example (The Boy Tar by Mayne Reid, 1872, fictional memoir):
Around my arms and shoulders I wore a garment familiarly known as a "cord jacket"--a roundabout of corduroy cloth, such as boys in the humbler ranks of life use to wear, or did when I was a boy. It was my every-day suit and after my poor mother's death it had come to be my Sunday wear as well. Let us say nothing to disparage this jacket. I have since then been generally a well-dressed man and have worn broadcloth of the finest that West-of England looms could produce; but all the wardrobe I ever had would not in one bundle weigh as much in my estimation as that corduroy jacket. I think I may say that I owe my life to it.

Well the jacket chanced to have a good row of buttons upon it--not the common horn, or bone, or flimsy lead ones, such as are worn nowadays, but good substantial metal buttons--as big as a shilling every way, and with strong iron eyes in them. Well was it for me they were so good and strong.
...
My uncle never did me a greater favor in his life--though I did not think so at the time--than when he made me wear an ugly corduroy jacket that was "miles too big" for me

https://books.google.com/books?id=PXvPAAAAMAAJ&pg=PA74&dq=corduroy,+boy&hl=en&sa=X&ei=wdqZVMGjLoHnoATEoYHIDQ&ved=0CDAQ6AEwAA#v=onepage&q=corduroy%2C%20boy&f=false

Scissors and Yardstick (1872) mentions corduroy as being appropriate for pants only, and describes it as a type of fustian.
https://books.google.com/books?id=GEkyAQAAMAAJ&pg=PA128&dq=corduroy&hl=en&sa=X&ei=Nt-ZVLHIKo3koAS38IGgBA&ved=0CFoQ6AEwCA#v=onepage&q=corduroy&f=false

Most of the hits for "fustian" associate it with the very poor; this reference from the New York City Almshouse (1852) mentions jackets, pants, vests, and sacques made of fustian: https://books.google.com/books?id=VFtDAAAAYAAJ&pg=PA175&dq=fustian,+boy&hl=en&sa=X&ei=VtmZVKrfCIT3oAT9sYDwDg&ved=0CB0Q6AEwAA#v=onepage&q=fustian%2C%20boy&f=false

I've also found an 1858 reference which mentions fustian and corduroy as typical workingmen's attire: https://books.google.com/books?id=ZQUFAAAAQAAJ&pg=PA34&dq=corduroy&hl=en&sa=X&ei=rteZVO7WGomWoQSo7IDgAg&ved=0CEIQ6AEwBDgU#v=onepage&q=corduroy&f=false

And a 1877 reference (Dictionary of Americanisms), which calls corduroy a type of ribbed velvet (in explaining the meaning of 'corduroy roads', which make up the vast majority of references I'm finding between 1840-1880). https://books.google.com/books?id=n8MRAAAAIAAJ&pg=PA146&dq=corduroy&hl=en&sa=X&ei=rteZVO7WGomWoQSo7IDgAg&ved=0CDAQ6AEwATgU#v=onepage&q=corduroy&f=false

And an 1852 (Scottish) reference which mentions a pair of cotton corduroy breeches in connection to a murder trial https://books.google.com/books?id=HSpTAAAAcAAJ&pg=PA101&dq=corduroy&hl=en&sa=X&ei=rteZVO7WGomWoQSo7IDgAg&ved=0CFgQ6AEwCDgU#v=onepage&q=corduroy&f=false

Historic New England has corduroy pants, a waistcoat and a bonnet around 1850, but no pictures: http://www.historicnewengland.org/collections-archives-exhibitions/collections-access/results?action=%2Fcollections-archives-exhibitions%2Fcollections-access%2Fresults&search=corduroy&category=clothing-and-accessories&preserve-filters=1
« Last Edit: December 23, 2014, 02:32:26 PM by EKorsmo » Logged

Mrs Johnson
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« Reply #2 on: December 30, 2014, 06:27:04 PM »

my googling turned up similar results.  corduroy was around then, but had become a "poor man" fabric, since it lasted so long with wear and washing.
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~ Jennifer
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