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View Full Version : Colonel J. B. Swain, frilly coat!



SCTiger
07-13-2009, 11:39 AM
http://www.old-picture.com/civil-war/pictures/Colonel-Cavalry.jpg

What do you make of this one?

http://www.old-picture.com/civil-war/Colonel-Cavalry-Swain-11th.htm

Justin Runyon
07-13-2009, 02:50 PM
I believe that is fur greg, I've seen some other images of fur trimmed coats, one of which I will attach here.

ScottCross
07-14-2009, 02:09 PM
Certainly an odd coat. I've seen this type of fur trim (forgot what it is called) in images of women from the 19th century, but not a man. I also noted how short it is, which makes sense since he is cavalry. It looks European in styling.

Hank Trent
07-14-2009, 02:27 PM
Certainly an odd coat. I've seen this type of fur trim (forgot what it is called) in images of women from the 19th century, but not a man. I also noted how short it is, which makes sense since he is cavalry. It looks European in styling.

Persian lamb? That's what I thought it looked like at first, though I haven't seen it in period images, just modern clothes. From 1865 (http://books.google.com/books?id=JUsEAAAAQAAJ&pg=PA264&dq=persian+lamb+fur+date:0-1865&output=html):


The Persian lamb-skins have a soft, compact, and elastic wool, which is formed naturally into elegant curls or waves. When killed immediately after birth, or taken from the mother, they are still more beautiful and expensive. These skins have been considerably used in Europe, but not yet in this country. A few have been very recently imported. [doesn't mean European clothing that used the skins couldn't have been imported and worn here more often, of course]. The most prized of these skins are the fine black.

Hank Trent
hanktrent@gmail.com

unclefrank
07-21-2009, 06:02 PM
Today, that man would be under suspicion! (Not that there is anything wrong with that) :p

GreencoatCross
07-21-2009, 10:14 PM
The phone just rang. It was the future calling. The future said that I will definitely make this coat within the next year.

neocelt
07-22-2009, 09:51 AM
This tunic is indeed interesting--it certainly apes European martial fashion of the day with its frogging and copious fur trim. What a dandy was the commander of "Scott's 900"! The body appears to be wool superfine (check out that amazing sheen!) and the fur is astrakhan (aka "Persian lamb"). This type of fur was originally derived from the Karakul sheep of Central Asia. Popularized by the Cuban cossacks, astrakhan trim had become a common feature of Western European cavalry attire by the mid-19th c. For example, the pelisse worn slung over the shoulder of British hussars of the period was trimmed in astrakhan (among other types of fur). It is worthy of note that it was also being produced in a faux version (wool fibers woven on a fabric backing) and this less-expensive variety would have been found on the uniforming of the OR ("other ranks").

Incidentally, astrakhan fur is currently tres chic amongst the non-PC fashionistas!

Hope this helps...

Ian McWherter
07-22-2009, 01:10 PM
The phone just rang. It was the future calling. The future said that I will definitely make this coat within the next year.

I don't envy you one bit. The cost of reproducing this coat in every detail from the quality of the superfine wool, to the fur trim, to the cost of the mohair braid and toggles, to the silk blended or alpaca lining and the extraordinary amount of incredibly fine hand stitching to replicate skilled workmanship of original garments like this one will be tremendous. I have my own hands full right now making myself a fur trimmed garment, it'll be a joy when completed until then it's hell on earth.

This coat style was also popular among civilians, I have original pattern drafts and fashion plates from original fashion magazines of this same, and very similar, style coat.

GreencoatCross
07-22-2009, 01:33 PM
Ian,

I have the appropriate fabrics, trim, and lining stored away in my fabric collection. Luckily I found lengths of superfine dark blue and black broadcloth; the stuff looks like seal skin and it's thinner and more tightly woven than the finest Hainsworth cloth. The only trouble will be the fur trim BUT a friend of mine has an old 1950's fur coat that looks identical. If I can get her to sell it or trade it to me them I'm set.

It's funny that I have this all planned out and I'm willing to do it because I know that I will likely never wear the finished garment.

neocelt
07-22-2009, 03:36 PM
Brian,

You are most fortunate to have a piece of superfine of that quality. I don't believe it is commercially available anywhere today--as you noted, the Abimelech Hainsworth superfine is nowhere near this finely woven, not as nicely finished (plated), and is heavier than its period counterpart.

If you're not in an arse-busting hurry, I believe I have some astrakhan salted away in my stash (both genuine and faux, in black and salt 'n pepper mottled gray). As virtually everything I own is neatly packed away in storage now, it might be a while before I can get to it. Let me know, pard...

~A

ScottCross
07-23-2009, 02:05 PM
He was a nespaper man! No wonder the slick threads!
http://localhistory.morrisville.edu/sites/unitinfo/swain-11cav.html