need frock coat info
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Author:  Snuffy [ Thu Mar 04, 2010 6:11 pm ]
Post subject:  need frock coat info

Were did you get yours? Happy with the quality? Is it an accurate reproduction? What would you improve/replace?

I'm asking because I'm not aware of were I could get fabrit to make one so ready made is the only option. Don't want to have to by something like this twice.

Author:  101radioman [ Thu Mar 04, 2010 8:51 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: need frock coat info


Author:  BrianTWhite [ Fri Mar 05, 2010 3:09 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: need frock coat info

If you are interested in buying a uniform coat once, and making it a good one, then start saving money. It's taken my group about a decade of study of originals, including two identified USSS frocks, fabric development, fabric sourcing, etc. to get close to something acceptable for our standards. There's also the question of money; how authentic do you want your coat, because the "closer" it gets the more it will cost.

What I have found is that Abimelech-Hainsworth's rifle green doeskin or coating is a near-perfect match to original coats. You will also want an emerald or medium green (not washed out pea-soup green, olive green, etc.) lightweight plain-woven wool cloth for the piping. Linings were, in both original USSS frocks I have examined, a layer of linen/wool batting/black wool alpaca or linen quilted together in the chest, unbleached cotton drill or loosely woven muslin in the sleeves, and brown polished cotton tail pockets. Don't worry about rubber buttons; good ones that are the proper dimensions of originals do not exist so brass buttons are fine (yes, they were on original garments). The original USSS frocks, and I will say this without hesitation whatsoever, are 100% hand sewn. Don Troiani's frock worn by Sgt. William Tilson was hand-sewn with logwood-dyed linen thread which had oxidized and faded. A frock in a private collection was sewn with deep, dark indigo dyed cotton thread that had not faded, and had black silk buttonholes. A coat like this, even made with the hidden seams by machine, with everything visible worked by hand, using the materials listed, etc., will cost about $600 or more. A fully hand-sewn coat will be more in the range of $1,000 plus....trust me when I say that you've got to study originals up closed to fully appreciate the amount of work that went into making them!

If you can find at least the right trim and body material perhaps you can talk Chris Daley into cutting you a frock kit. He's developing them right now. The kit will come with CD-ROM instructions, pre-cut pieces, buttons, notions, etc., and as long as you can find someone to put it together for you it should be a pretty darn good deal.

Author:  Bill Skillman [ Tue Mar 09, 2010 10:20 am ]
Post subject:  Re: need frock coat info

Fellow Sharpshooters,

Brian is a member of the 'Randolph Mess'; who collectively have been in search for the "Golden, er, Rifle Green, Fleece" for actually closer to 15 years now. The cost of trying to locate 100% wool broadcloth that is correctly woven, dyed and finished has proven to be daunting excercise. Using Steven's reference that the original wool material was "imported from Europe", we deduced that the most likely source was England's Hainsworth Mills, (who have been supplying their army, including the Rifle Brigade, since the 1700's).

Next is obtaining the correct type of thread, alcpaca, and polished black cotton for the lining; not to mention the lighter green material for the sleeve and color piping. THEN you have to have an accurate pattern drawn up. THEN you need to have a expert seamstress or tailor assemble all the pieces to match Martin and Brother's/Schuylkill Arsenal specifications. All said and done, your 95% accurate uniform coat is fast approaching the cost as a new-in-box Sharps.

If you are looking for a 'commercial grade' USSS coat, the old Co. 'B' 2nd USSS here in Michigan was uniformed entirely with Quartermaster Shop products; so I had a good opportunity evaluate the coats, caps and trousers strengths and weaknesses. The wool is a Woolrich blend (85/15 polyester), a very dark green (more accurate color than Jarnigan/Servant products), the weave is a bit rougher, not the polished smoothness of broadcloth. The pattern is good, but not totally accurate in details. The coat is entirely machine sewed (originals were entirely hand-sewn). The interior features black padded lining, twin coat tail pockets, a hook for the collar. The welt trim is lighter green. The coat features 9 brass 'eagle buttons' and 2 cuff buttons (cuffs were functional on the QMS products then, don't know about now) per sleeve.

It really comes down to what level of authenticity do you wish to strive for? As you can see, after 15 years of research the 'ultimate USSS coat' is still on the drawing board for us 'lunatics'. I would have to take Dan and Brian to lunch and dinner at Pearls New Orleans Kitchen for a month of Sundays before I could convince them to pick up scissors and needle to make me a regulation coat from scratch. I still see Co. 'B' comrades who wear their 13 year old QM Shop coats at events with no signs of deterioration. Also, especially in this day and age, the QM Shop products are still made in the USA.

You might also contact Chris Sullivan of Stoney Brook Militaria. Chris has been making high quality uniforms for many years. He made me a commerical grade USSS coat that was clearly superior to the other ones I've examined. Chris was also the one who told me that he could get Woolrich Mills to produce all of the 'spot on' USSS wool broadcloth we could use "for only $35,000". Chris chuckled and shrugged, "So far I haven't had any takers". Any takers out there???

Hope this helps.

Bill Skillman
Randolph Mess-USSS

Author:  NearSighted [ Wed Mar 24, 2010 4:31 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: need frock coat info

My coat was made for me by The Warwick Seamstress, Mrs. Mary Puterbaugh. The poor woman actually developed a wool allergy during the construction of my coat! This killed off her reenacting business, and it was kind of heartbreaking having her send me pictures of working on my coat while she was wearing gloves.

The color is very much the older "Robin Hood" shade that has (deservedly) gone out of style among our groups, and I point to her agony in making it as to why there is no trim on the cuffs, as there should be.

I am happy with the weave and the fit. Despite those two imperfections my uniform still is the talk of the little events I attend up here and always blows the minds of the school groups I teach in the spring.

I'd like to try to dye it, but...well, I'm a chicken. :roll:

I spent my Discretionary Reenacting Funds on the pack this winter (which I'm still awaiting arrival of), so I'll begin saving up again to get a new uniform next winter before we begin the 150th events...

Author:  Michael Phillips [ Thu Apr 01, 2010 6:43 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: need frock coat info

Well I bought my coat from Milk Creek Merchantile out of Washington state in 2004 or 2005. The color is not bad, however the cloth I believe leaves a lot e desired. The weave isn't great but the wieght is not bad. I bought frock and pants at the same time.
The thread in seams have ripped several times so I think the thread is suspect. It is a nice dark green.
Here I am in the 2006 Remebrance Day Parade.
I am in the front rank, last file on the right (Green trousers, no leggins) of the 1st Company. I fell in w/Rich Cross' company then. You might recognise some people and possiby their uniforms and judge my color from that.


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