Woolen Cloth

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CLOTH
(In the 18th C. the term cloth generally meant a fabric made from wool.)

If you have any doubts as to the suitability of these fabrics for your project please request swatches before ordering, as there are no returns on fabrics cut to order. For swatches please send us a SASE with your request of specific fabrics desired. I can only send swatches for the fabrics that are in stock. A maximum of two swatches per standard business size (No.10) envelope, one swatch with a small (No. 6 ¾) envelope. Swatches are free (maximum of 4), and without need of a SASE, with any order. Additional swatches with an order are $1 each.


Listed below are 100% pure new wool cloth made in England to 18th C. specifications. Some of these cloths were produced for Kochan & Phillips Historical Textiles, of which I am a distributor, and others were custom made directly for me to the same specifications.

Kochan & Phillips Historical Textiles - In the 1980's James Kochan and Sean Phillips were independently doing primary-source research on the cloth being produced and used for miliary and naval dress of the 18th and 19th century. James has been active in the reenacting community since the 1980's, and is well known as an author of several books and articles, a dealer in 18th and 19th C. militaria, and was the former curator at Morristown NHP, and several other prominant American historic sites. Sean is a historian from England and his family has been involved in the Yorkshire woolen trade for generations. Both James and Sean wished to reproduce the quality woolen cloth that was equal in weave, milling, finish and hand to the original cloth samples and clothing artifacts that they had examined in numerous museums, archives, and private collections. James and Sean pooled their research and found a mill in England willing to produce the cloth to their specifications.

So after many years of research on the cloth being produced and used for the 18th century military, James Kochan and Sean Phillips are having custom woven in England broadcloths and kerseys unlike any other cloth commercially available today. This cloth is woven using the instructions laid out in a notebook of a weaver who supplied the British Army in 1812 and made cloth to meet their specifications. This weaver's notebook specified every detail of manufacture, from the type of sheep used to create the yarn, to the weight and width of the raw cloth, to the fulling and napping procedures. To achieve authentic colors, spectral color analysis was used to create dyes to match the colors of original cloth swatches in museums, archives, and on original uniforms. The result is cloth that has the same appearance, weave, milling, finish and hard hand to cloth made in the late 18th century and that will wear and drape much better than any other cloth available today. If you are making a military uniform or civilian clothing and want the most authentic cloth available, this is the cloth to use. If you need a color not stocked (a minimum of three yards), it can be provided for approximately $15 more per yard. Please inquire for more information.

Broadcloth was produced in various grades ranging from Common to Superfine. The grade is dependent upon the quality of wool used, the number of threads per inch, and the weight per square yard. Common broadcloth is the heaviest and made from the coarsest wool yarns, and have the fewest ends and picks (warp and weft) per inch. Common Broadcloths are plain weave, approx 15-17 oz per square yard, .07" thick, and approximately 54" wide. Kerseys are twill weave, approx 15-16 oz per square yard, .07" thick, and approximately 54" wide. Common Broadcloth was primarily used to make uniform coats, civilian coats, and smallclothes. Kersey was used to make smallclothes, jackets, cloaks, watchcoats, and some of the French contract/lottery coats. Thus for many applications, the use of either broadcloth or kersey is authentic, and both will hold a raw edge. The broadcloth and kersey are well fulled and napped so you cannot see the weave on their top side, the broadcloth is also fulled and napped on the reverse side, whereas the kersey reverse side is finished so the twill weave is barely visible.

Most Broadcloths, Kerseys, Swanskins, and Bearskins are $68.00/yd
Prices vary due to quantity of cloth produced, currency exchange rate fluctuations, and whether the cloth is directly from the mill or through K&P Historical Textiles. Generally the more yards of cloth the mill produces in a particular color the less it will cost per yard. Thus a production run of 200 yards of Madder Red will cost much less per yard than a production run of 10 yards.

Minimum order is 12 inches (1/3 yard).

For more information on Kochan & Phillips Historical Textiles, visit www.historicaltextiles.com

Specifications and information sheets on various Kochan & Phillips fabrics:

Silk and Mohair thread to match these textiles can be found on the Thread page.


Red WoolsBlue WoolsWhite and Yellow woolsGreen BroadclothsBrowns

Broadcloth & Kersey

Natural White to Bright Yellow woolNatural White - Excellent for smallclothes and coat facings. The Natural White Kersey matches original War of 1812 period US Army samples and also closely matched to British clothier patterns. Kersey was typically used for British 'Other Ranks' vests and legwear during the 18th to early 19th century. $48/yd.

Bleached White - A broadcloth for serjeants smallclothes and better civilian clothing. $68/yd

Pale Buff - A color match to 27th and 40th Regiment of Foot c.1768 facing cloth and a 27th Regiment of Foot c.1812 tailors pattern. $70/yd

Buff - A color match to an original 1812 US Army Quartermaster samples of captured British buff broadcloth, and an original 1812 coat of the British 104th Regiment of Foot. Among the many uses are British or American facings and smallclothes. $54/yd.

Straw Buff - With more yellow in the dye bath to make it a much warmer shade of buff. This buff is like that seen on George Washington's waistcoat in Peale's Battle of Princeton portrait. Among the many uses are British or American facings and smallclothes. Available only in Broadcloth. $60/yd

Pale Yellow- From a circa 1811 British pattern for regimental facing cloth. $70/yd

Mid Yellow- A slightly deeper yellow than Pale Yellow. $70/yd

Bright Yellow - A color match to the facing color for the 10th and 29th Foot. $60/yd

Pale Crimson- Also known as Polish Crimson, a rose colored used on Napoleonic Polish uniforms, and also mentioned on some Revolutionary War deserter descriptions. This color resembles Pepto Bismol or bubble gum. $70/yd

Deep Indigo BlueDeep Indigo Blue - Formerly listed as Dark Blue or Federal Blue. The blue cloth ordered by the various State and Continental agents from French, Dutch, and Spanish sources varied in shade. Not all blue cloth used by the Continental Army was French Royal Blue, though that shade was specified by written contract for the lottery coats. This shade of blue was used on coats worn by Gansevoort, Tilghman, civilians, and perhaps by many Continental units with blue regimental coats that were not part of the French 1778 and later contracts. This matches cloth samples for the Federal period, US Army uniform coats and trousers of the period 1806-1840's, and Royal Artillery cloth samples of the early-mid 19th century. Available in Broadcloth and Kersey. $68/yd

British Royal Blue British Royal Blue - This color is for Royal Artillery coats and facings of Royal Regiments of Foot of the late 18th century. This blue is darker than French Royal Blue but not as dark as Deep Indigo (Federal) Blue. The kersey is correct for use in British watch coats. Available in Broadcloth $54/yd and Kersey $68/yd.

French Royal Blue French Royal Blue - Matched to original c.1778 swatches of cloth for French-made Continental Army "lottery" coats and a surviving sleeve panel from a Continental Army uniform coat c.1782. In Fall 2017 they dye was changed to make the color a bit more brighter and closer to the French Royal Blue made some years ago. Available in Broadcloth or Kersey. $54/yd

Sky Blue - This color is often associated with the American Civil War, but it was used for generations before, including the American Revolution. Available only in Kersey. $68/yd

Mixed Blue-Grey - This attractive color was used for civilian garments from the Middle Ages and 17th Century onwards. Available only in Kersey. During the Civil War this was called Tait cloth by the Confederates. $70/yd

Soldiers Provincial Green BroadclothWillow (formerly Grass) Green - This shade of green is a match to French-made patterns for the Continental Marines and Continental Light Dragoons, French dragoons and hussars, and an exact match to an original 18th C. German Jaegers coat, and the color of the Tarleton jacket. Many Provincial/Loyalist troops could use willow green, though the darker full green cloth may be preferable to some units. The willow green color also is a match to an 1812 cloth pattern for the US Army, a circa 1810 NY militia rifle coatee, and an 1832 US Marine Corps coat. Available only in Broadcloth $54/yd

Gosling/Popinjay Green - The proper shade of green for 1740's Provincial clothing and facings of the 5th Foot and 54th Foot Available only in Broadcloth. $70/yd

Apple Green - Also referred to as Ocean or Seafoam green in period texts. Only a few yards available. $60/yd

Full Green - A darker shade of green broadcloth, but not as dark as bottle green. This may be the proper shade of green for some Provincial/Loyalist infantry coats. The color was taken from a pattern in a British military tailors notebook for the11th Regiment of Foot, c.1810. Available only in Broadcloth. $68/yd

Bottle (Rifle) Green - Taken from a pattern in a tailors notebook for a British rifle corps c.1800. The British rifle coats were made of broadcloth and their pantaloons and trousers were made of kersey. Available in Broadcloth and Kersey. $54/yd.

Dark Bottle (Rifle) Green - slightly darker than Bottle Green, almost a black. Only a few yards available. $70/yd

Mixed Gray and BlackMixed Gray - Prior to the 1740's Mixed Gray kersey was used for Royal Navy sailor jackets and breeches, and specified in all of the slop contracts that survive from the 1710-1730s, plus it was probably the most common color, followed by madder, for the English Civil War armies. Mixed Gray has a long tradition of usage, especially for the the dress of sailors, tradespeople, farmers, laborers, etc. This color was used by British naval and some Continental troops, such as the 3rd New York Reg't. This broadcloth has a different weave when compared to the other broadcloths listed here, but is an exact match of the weave of original mixed gray British Army pantaloons and other 18th C. civilian and military coatings of mixed gray. Available in Broadcloth and Kersey. $68/yd

Black - For use in regimental facings, spatterdashes/half-gaiters and civilian clothing. Available only in Broadcloth. $54/yd

Red Wool ClothMadder Red - Primarily intended for use on British regimentals. This shade of madder is the most common found on extant British military coats of the mid to late 18th C. This color is matched to three original British Army other ranks coats of the late 18th - early 19th C., and an original pattern swatch for British infantry coats, circa 1820, found in War Office records. Madder Red kerseys were used for Royal Navy slop jackets, and for British breeches from 1680 to 1768. Available in Broadcloth $54/yd and Kersey $68/yd.

Dark Madder Red - Based on an 1809 receipt, the color resembles brick red. Available only in Broadcloth. $54/yd


Red Wool ClothMock Scarlet - This is slightly brighter than the bright madder red. Superb for 18th C. British Army serjeants, this is an exact match to a c.1800-1802 serjeant's jacket of a British volunteer corps, and a pattern dyed for a US Army War of 1812 contract. Available only in Broadcloth. $54/yd

 

Soldiers Dark Brown BroadclothSaratoga Brown - Matched to an original late 18th C. coating swatch in a French military clothier's book in the A.S.K. Brown Military Collection (Brown University, Providence R.I.) This is great for for French made Lottery coats or early war American bounty coats. The kersey is correct for F&I and Rev War slop/sailors jackets. Available in Broadcloth $54/yd and Kersey $68/yd.

Trowbridge Brown - Matched to an original late 18th C. coating swatch in an English dyers record book. Darker than Saratoga Brown. Available only in Broadcloth. $60/yd

  Drabs and comparisons.

Pale (Jersey) Drab - This is referred to as "cloth colored" in deserter, runaway, and other period clothing descriptions. Today you would call this color taupe or camel. This drab broadcloth is correct for F&I Provincials, early Rev War (such as the 3rd New Jersey), and working men's dress. Available only in Broadcloth. $68/yd

Medium (Avon) Drab - darker shade of drab, Medium Drab kersey was used for British Marine and Royal Artillery great coats, and US Army watchcoats until 1816. Available only in Broadcloth. $60/yd.

Red-Brown Bounty Drab - color match of the 1775 Bounty Coat cloth from a swatch attached to the Massachusetts Provincial Congress Circular Letter. Available only in Broadcloth. $68/yd

Quaker Drab - A common shade of drab for civilian and militia clothing. Available in Broadcloth and Kersey. $65/yd.

Camlet

Camlet - also known as Camblet, is a fabric characterized by its plain weave and prominent weft rib formed by thicker yarns running across the fabric. Although it could be made with blends of mohair and silk, the vast majority of 18th C. camlet was made from worsted wool. This camlet is based on originals woven in the late 1760's and has a worsted warp and two-fold woolen weft. The characteristic weft rib gives it the texture and appearance of the heavy silks used in high status clothing. Camlet was a popular substitute for silk when making garments for the middle and lower class. Common uses of camlet are ladies gowns, petticoats, riding habits, mens warm weather coats, and warm weather cloaks for men and women. In the home and officers camp, camlet was often used for bed and furniture hangings. Approximately 60" wide, 12 oz/sq yd, and available in Black. (Scarlet is sold out) $65/yd

Cassimere

Cassimere - also known as Kerseymere, is a medium weight twilled woolen cloth with a soft texture. Cassimere was commonly used for gentlemens and officers quality waistcoats and breeches. The twill weave allows for a closer fit so it was often used for smallclothes instead of using Superfine. Approximately 54" wide, 12 oz/sq yd, and available in Bleached White and Pale Buff. $110/yd

Swanskin

Swanskin - commonly used for waistcoats for the Continental Army and the post Rev War US Army until 1813. Sometimes swanskin is referred to as "swanskin vesting" or "milled plains" in 18th and early 19th century accounts. Swanskin is softer and slightly lighter than broadcloth and heavier than flannel (aka milled bay).  Used heavily for smallclothes, clothing of poor, heavy petticoats and women's jackets, Indian leggings (Indian tradecloth), and the lining of greatcoats or blankets coats. Swanskin, a plain weave of woolen warp and weft yarns of the same thickness, is like a thin blanketing with a soft plush finish on one side. Approximately 60" wide, 15 oz/sq yd, and available in Natural White and Mock Scarlet. $65/yd

Bearskin

Bearskin - used for cloaks, greatcoats, military watch coats. This is a heavy, twilled woolen cloth from hill breeds of sheep. The raised outer surface has a long, shaggy nap laid in the same direction, hence the name Bearskin. Available in Natural White and Madder Red $65/yd; Logwood Blue, Olive, and Quaker Drab $54/yd. For a mens size 38 about 3 yards needed for watch coat, or 3 1/2 yards with a cape.

Linings

BayBays - 5 oz/sq yd. Commonly used for coat linings (body and skirt) in the British and German marching regiments until 1802. Bays is plain weave, with a worsted warp and woolen weft. Warp is the thread that runs the length of the fabric, weft runs between the selvedge edges. Frequently confused with Baize which has a woolen warp and weft, and unfortunately the similiar sounding names were often misspelt and incorrectly used in period texts.

Unlike broadcloth and kersey, where you can lay out your pattern at slight angles to the warp, with bays you should lay out your pattern along the straight of goods (ie the warp). This is because the weft is shorter and coarser fibers, and thus relatively weak as compared to the warp. When setting in pockets, be sure to line around the pocket opening with Osnaburg or similiar fabric. This was done on an early 19th C. British army militia/fencibles jacket we examined. This will help keep the bays from sagging or tearing.

Bays (52" wide) is available in Natural White for $36/yd, and colors for $44/yd: Buff, Straw Buff, Madder Red, Mock Scarlet, Poppy Red, British Royal Blue, Deep Indigo Blue, Popinjay Green, Willow Green, and Bright Yellow.

Milled Bays - 8 oz/sq yd, 52" wide. Also known as Double Milled Bays or flannel. Similiar to regular Bays, but denser and one side is milled to raise a nap. Commonly used for waistcoats, French underwear, overcoat linings and coat linings in colder regions, furniture and gun case linings, desk covers, and table covers. Available in Natural White $44/yd and Full Green for $50/yd.

Serge woolSerge - 8 oz/sq yd, 0.03" thick, 60" wide, A lightweight worsted twill used for coat linings (body and skirt) for British Foot Guards, horse units, and NCO's. Serge is also known as Coarse Shalloon. Serge was also used by the French and Continental Army regiments, and in British standing army regiments of foot after 1802 when it replaced bays. Natural White is $42/yd; Buff, Straw Buff, Madder Red, Mock Scarlet, Apple Green, and French Royal Blue $45/yd; Pale Buff, British Royal Blue, Deep Indigo Blue, Bottle Green, and Dark Bottle Green $54/yd.

Milled Serge - 10 oz/sq yd, 53" wide. Also known as Tricot, Double Milled Serge, or Heavy Serge. Similar to regular Serge, but one side is milled to raise a nap. This cloth was used for French army smallclothes, the smallcloths that accompanied Continental Army French-made Lottery coats, watch coat linings, sleeved waistcoats and jackets, etc. Available in Natural White $48/yd; Mock Scarlet, Madder Red, French Royal Blue, and Bottle Green $54/yd; British Royal Blue $60/yd.

Shalloon - 5 oz/sq yd, 53" wide. Similar to regular Serge, but with a tighter weave, lighter, and a glazed finish. This cloth was used to line officers and gentlemens coats made of Superfine. Available in Natural White $48/yd, and Pale Buff, Scarlet, Black, and British Royal Blue $52/yd.

Officers & Gentlemens Superfine Cloth

Now available various colors of superfine which is a superior quality plain weave English cloth used by officers and gentlemen. Superfine is approx 14 oz/sq yd but due to its tighter weave and finer yarn it is not as thick as Broadcloth. Bleached White, Pale Buff, Buff, French Royal Blue, British Royal Blue, (Deep Indigo Blue is available directly from James Kochan), Scarlet Red: $105/yd. Medium Avon Drab, Trowbridge Brown, Crimson, and Sky Blue is $110/yd. Most colors, except for Bleached White, Scarlet Red, Buff, and British Royal Blue are available in limited quantity.


A Guide to Regimental Coat Cloth 1775-1783

 

Coat

Facing

Lining

British Reg't of Foot - Private or Corporal

Madder Red Broadcloth

Broadcloth - color per Royal Warrant (color varies by regiment)

White Bay, unless a Buff faced regiment

British Reg't of Foot - Serjeant

Mock Scarlet Broadcloth

Broadcloth - color per Royal Warrant (color varies by regiment)

White Serge, unless a Buff faced regiment

British Reg't of Foot - Officer

Scarlet Superfine Broadcloth

Superfine Broadcloth - color per Royal Warrant (color varies by regiment)

White Shalloon, unless a Buff faced regiment

British Reg't of Foot - Drums
Broadcloth of regimental facing color
Madder Red or Mock Scarlet Broadcloth for facings and smallclothes for red, buff, and white faced regiments.
Madder Red or Mock Scarlet Serge for those with red smallclothes, otherwise white serge except for Buff faced regiments.

British Light Dragoons
(16th & 17th)

Mock Scarlet Broadcloth

16th - Royal Blue Broadcloth
17th - White Broadcloth

16th - Royal Blue Serge
17th - White Serge

Royal Artillery
Royal Blue Broadcloth
Mock Scarlet Broadcloth
Mock Scarlet Serge

Guard Reg'ts
(1st, Coldstream, Scots)

Madder Red Broadcloth
Royal Blue Broadcloth
White Serge
British Marines
Madder Red Broadcloth
White Broadcloth
White Bay

 

Continental Army
Contract and French made coats for Soldiers
Broadcloth - color varies by regiment
Broadcloth - color varies by regiment
Serge - color varies by regiment
 
Prior to Seven Years War and up to 1768 Warrant
British Reg't of Foot - Private or Corporal
Madder Red Broadcloth coats and waistcoats.
Madder Red Kersey breeches. Bay lining that matched the facing color.
Undress jackets and frocks (new issued, not altered old clothing) of Madder Red Kersey.

Regimental Coat yardage requirements

Size
Coat Body
Lining of Body and Skirt
Facing Cloth (cuff, lapel, and cape)
Sleeve Lining
38
2 yards
1 yard
1/3 yard
1 yard
40
2 1/4
1 1/8
1/3
1
42
2 1/2
1 1/4
1/3
1
44
2 3/4
1 3/8
1/3
1
46
3
1 1/2
1/3
1 1/8
48
3 1/4
1 3/4
1/3
1 1/4
50
3 1/2
2
1/3
1 3/8
52
3 1/2
2 1/4
1/3
1 1/2

Presumptions: Coat body cloth yardage is for body, sleeves, and mid thigh length skirts. Bay, Serge, or Shalloon is used for body lining and skirts. Facing cloth used for the cuffs, lapels and cape (i.e. collar). Linen is used to line the sleeves and pockets. The above chart courtesy of Henry Cooke, 18th C. tailor.

Patterns - I don't sell them. In my opinion most of the commercially available patterns are awful. Often they suggest a lot more fabric than really is needed, and the fit obtained by using these patterns is more suitable for Halloween than living history. Some of these patterns were developed back in the early 1970's when every town had a group dressed up like colonials. Apparantly little research with actual 18th C. garments went into development of these patterns. However there are a few people making decent patterns. Among them are KanniksKorner and Henry M. Cooke.

Since the 1970's Henry has done a lot of research with actual 18th C. clothing and has produced a line of patterns and kits. While no pattern is perfect, his will get you close to the desired result. Be advised that no pattern will replace years of experience in sewing and tailoring which is critical in form fitting 18th C. clothing. He also does workshops for groups to make their own clothing. Henry can be reached at Historical Costume Services 721 South Main Street Randolph, MA, 02368 781-963-9645. He doesn't have a website. People in the know, know where to find Henry. His work is of the highest museum quality, and on display at places like Mount Vernon, Museum of the American Revolution, and the Smithsonian.

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