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Dana Repp
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« on: July 08, 2015, 10:34:05 AM »

I'm venturing out and attempting to making DH a summer coat. He prefers the frock style over the sack coat. Should it only be of linen or is linen/cotton blend okay? What about seersucker? Would seersucker be used for something more of a sack coat? What colors of seersucker? (Although, all I can envision of seersucker is something my granny wore in the 70's  Grin)   

If I go with linen (or linen/cotton blend) Do I have color options or is natural/cream/oatmeal the only option? Do I need to make him matching pants or can he use his black trousers?

Any guidance is appreciated!






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Heidi Hollister
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« Reply #1 on: July 08, 2015, 03:29:53 PM »

A quick google books search indicated some seersucker pantaloons and coats being used in Cuba as military uniforms along with panama hats from A Trip to Cuba  dated 1860.

That was the ONLY reference I found to the word seersucker in my brief search, and I couldn't find a good definition to see if it even means the same thing we are familiar with. Wikipedia mentions it in the British Colonial period as popular in the warmer colonies such as India.

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Dana Repp
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« Reply #2 on: July 08, 2015, 05:31:13 PM »

Carolann mentioned seersucker when we were talking at the Oregon Conference.  But seersucker makes me nervous for previous granny reasons.   Cheesy
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Chip
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« Reply #3 on: July 08, 2015, 07:41:01 PM »

I'm venturing out and attempting to making DH a summer coat. He prefers the frock style over the sack coat. Should it only be of linen or is linen/cotton blend okay? What about seersucker? Would seersucker be used for something more of a sack coat? What colors of seersucker? (Although, all I can envision of seersucker is something my granny wore in the 70's  Grin)  

If I go with linen (or linen/cotton blend) Do I have color options or is natural/cream/oatmeal the only option? Do I need to make him matching pants or can he use his black trousers?

Any guidance is appreciated!

Seersucker was around in the 1860s but it was not considered a high fashion fabric until past the turn of the century. So to make a period frock coat out of seersucker would be a stretch in my opinion.

I have a shirt and a waistcoat made out of a linen/cotton blend, but my white Summer frock coat is 100% linen.
(Just waited for a sale that brought the price down to about $9.00 dollars per yard for 100% linen.)

I would recommend 100% linen if at all possible for a frock coat.

As far as the linen/cotton blend goes for a frock coat, I would simply look at the quality of the fabric itself to see if it is stable enough to hold its form.

By the way, during the mid-19th century, linen/cotton blends were definitely around.
("A Manual of Dyeing Receiptes" James Napier - Richard Griffin & Co. London and Glasgow 1858 -  Talks about how to detect linen/cotton blends before dyeing on pages 19 and 20.)
« Last Edit: July 08, 2015, 07:47:02 PM by Chip » Logged
Jim_Ruley
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« Reply #4 on: July 09, 2015, 06:34:04 AM »

If he wants an unlined (and therefore, washable) summer coat you are best off with white or off-white as these could be laundered without fading using period laundry techniques.  Be sure to pre-shrink your fabric before cutting.  Seams should be flat-felled (like a shirt) to avoid ravelling.

You will probably want to cut the coat with a bit less "pigeon-breasted" shape since there is no padding or pad-stitching.  The coat front can be starched and ironed (again like a shirt) to keep it shapely.

I have used linen-cotton blends for both a summer suit and dress shirts.  The ones I found had a "crisper" feel than 100% linen and tend to keep their shape better.
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Dana Repp
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« Reply #5 on: July 09, 2015, 12:23:08 PM »

 That's what I thought of cotton/linen blend as well. 

In order to take out some of the pigeon breast would I take out a bit under the collar and down through the front? Or a longer dart?
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Col. 3:23
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« Reply #6 on: July 10, 2015, 01:51:27 PM »

DeVere shows the alteration on Plate 6, Fig. 1.  If you are using a separately cut lapel, just reduce the roundness of the widest part of the front of chest.  If using a grown-on lapel, you would need to move the lapel back (reducing width of chest) and take narrower darts.
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Carolann Schmitt
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« Reply #7 on: July 14, 2015, 05:00:59 PM »

The Valentine Museum in Richmond has an unlined men's blue and white seersucker paletot in their collection.

Regards,
Carolann
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Chip
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« Reply #8 on: July 21, 2015, 04:13:39 PM »

"Despite such prominent proponents such as Cannon, the seersucker suit was long considered to be a poor man?s suit."


http://www.gentlemansgazette.com/seersucker-fabric-suits-origins/
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Jim_Ruley
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« Reply #9 on: July 22, 2015, 08:17:31 AM »

Thanks for the link, Chip.  However, I would consider it an opinion piece rather than a credible reference.  Notice the author claims that "one stripe is always white".  Funny how someone forgot to tell this bespoke tailoring apprentice:

http://www.anderson-sheppard.co.uk/thenotebook/seersucker-cloth/

Since the article cites no sources, and provides no information about American or European wear prior to the vaguely defined "late 19th century", it sheds little light on seersucker's role during the 1850's - 60's.
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Chip
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« Reply #10 on: July 22, 2015, 12:38:08 PM »

I would really like to see a period example of a seersucker frock coat before I would be willing to jump on board.

http://www.37ando.com/2013/07/a-brief-history-of-seersucker.html
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« Reply #11 on: July 22, 2015, 08:09:42 PM »

I would be more comfortable with seersucker in a casual suit, such as a "ditto suit" with a paletot or sack coat, than a frock to be worn with a silk vest and woolen trousers.

However, I would not be uncomfortable with a wealthy man wearing such an ensemble in a very casual setting, such as a beach outing or a garden party in the South during the summer.

These are merely my opinions.
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Joseph Stevens
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« Reply #12 on: July 22, 2015, 11:21:44 PM »

That was the ONLY reference I found to the word seersucker in my brief search, and I couldn't find a good definition to see if it even means the same thing we are familiar with. Wikipedia mentions it in the British Colonial period as popular in the warmer colonies such as India.

Odd. They're rather easily out there. Must not have dug deep enough.

Basically though, this is one instance where it would appear that the mid-19th century textile is in fact the same creature as the textile using the name in the 21st:


Scissors & Yardstick; 1872.

Quote
SEERSUCKER GINGHAM.
A fine cotton fabric, woven in narrow stripes, which are usually blue and white, or brown and white. The fabric, although not very heavy, is fine and well woven. In the best qualities, linen is used in its manufacture.
Single fold. Width, about 3-4.*

*The widths given in this source are all quarter or eighth divisions of a yard. So 3-4=3/4 yard=27" wide.


A Complete Dictionary of Dry Goods; 1892.

Quote
Seersucker. A washable cotton fabric, woven in stripes, usually of blue and white or brown and white. [See GINGHAM.]

Gingham. A close, stout, plain (untwilled) cotton cloth, woven into yarn-dyed checks and stripes of two or more colors. It differs from calico in the circumstance that its colors are woven in instead of being printed on the cloth, and from staeen for the same reason and also in not being twilled. ...Under the general term of gingham a great variety of materials are manufactured, the trade distinction of "gingham" being now to a large extent superseded by other terms. Seersucker gingham was originally a thin linen fabric made in the East Indies, having blue stripes alternating with white ones.


Cole's Encyclopedia of Dry Goods; 1900.

Quote
SEERSUCKER. A thin, plain-woven cotton fabric belonging to the family of gingham, commonly orgnamented in the loom with a pattern of stripes of contrasting color, as blue and white, brown and white, etc. It is extensively used for women's aprons and washable dresses, nurses' uniforms, men's shirts, coats, and vests, etc. Seersucker as originally manufactured in India was woven of linen, with an irregularly crinkled surface, thus producing an effect somewhat similar to crape. At present, both in this country and abroad, it is usually a cotton fabric ornamented with alternate smooth and pouckered stripes running lengthwise. The crinkled effect is produced in the process of weaving by holding the threads in the warp of the puckered sections more loosely than the other threads.
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Joseph Stevens


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« Reply #13 on: July 23, 2015, 11:04:46 AM »

One may be able to request photos of the seersucker paletot the Valentine Museum has in their collection.

As Joseph's sources mentioned, blue-and-white and brown-and-white are the only colors I've found mentioned in primary sources. Period seersucker does look very much like modern seersucker, albeit the stripes are a bit narrower. I found seersucker fabric very, very, very similar to the original in the garment district in NYC.

As Jim Ruley mentioned, the primary sources I've encountered to date indicate seersucker was used as a casual garment  - sack coat, paletot - worn for casual, recreational, and leisure activities, e.g. walking, boating, picnics, etc. or at watering places and similar sites.

Regards,
Carolann
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Heidi Hollister
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« Reply #14 on: July 25, 2015, 11:06:53 AM »

Joseph, you're probably right.  I was just doing a very quick search, but I probably didn't have the right terms or something, because I looked in encyclopedias of the time, dictionaries etc, but couldn't find anything.  Thanks for the update.  I'm learning a lot on this thread.
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