Liam McMac

Tartan shortcoat

60 posts in this topic

I made a shortcoat of tartan wool some months back for my Highlander/Jacobite kit... just curious if it would be to outlandish to wear it with a pirate kit?

I have seen several plates with sailors wearing tartan breeches and slops but have yet to see any reenactors wearing tartan for pirate events...

Photo0045.jpg?t=1264651974

What say ye?

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Someone else would be able to tell you whether or not it's historically accurate but it looks great!

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That sort of fabric was certainly out there in period and could have been made by somebodies' Mum ...It wouldn't have been made by a slops contractor but not everything was the "official issue" ...In my opinion I'd say wear it in good health!!!

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my sailors short coat is a tarten...the material is period...the style is period...and the scotts were known to make coats out of it...and is warm ta boot for the sailor at sea

P5104144.jpg

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I forget which thread I posted it on... But I posted three links to commoners men clothing (I think it was the "Garb Questions/Opinions..." Thread). But if you read through those three links, one of the coats while not made of tartan, was patched with tartan fabric. So while I am unaware of hard proof to it being used to make whole coats, there is evidence to it being used on them for patches...

Hard facts aside, I think while there isn't hard evidence (that I am aware of) for whole coats being made from tartam, there is plenty of close enough evidence that supports the use of a coat like that. I wouldn't see any but the most obnoxiously strict tight-wadd giving you any type of grief for using that coat at a pirate re-enactment. In fact, while I have heard of a few folks considering making that kind of coat, I have only ever actually seen one... And I very much liked it... Even if Stupid M.A. d'Dogge was wearing it. <_<

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Slightly out of period, but:

'...[the runaway sailor] James Cangling... had on when he went away, a blue grey jacket, and a plad jacket under it, trowsers, and a black wig...'

Pennsylvania Gazette, 22 Dec 1747.

However, that is the only reference I've ever seen to plaid jackets in (literally) hundreds of similar adverts, probate inventories, and other descriptions. Bear in mind that these descriptions are not talking about 'official issue', but about what people actually owned and wore. We don't need to speculate about what colour/fabric things were made from outside the ASC regs because the information is available. One day I'll get round to tabulating all the evidence I have and will come up with some rough percentages.

I'm intrigued by the 'several plates with sailors wearing tartan breeches and slops'. Any chance of sharing?

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I'm intrigued by the 'several plates with sailors wearing tartan breeches and slops'. Any chance of sharing?

http://www.bonaventu...g.uk/index.html

"England's Safety: Or, a Bridle to the French King" 1693.

This link is wierd you have to go to the gallery page

have seen this picture several times in other postings... we could debate all day about what they are really wearing (kilts?) but they are wearing tartan regardless.

http://www.nmm.ac.uk...?reproID=PW0363

not sure of the period but must be 18th century or earlier since he's wearing trousers. These trousers are at least checked if not tartan.

I've seen more but cannot locate the liks at the moment.

Furthermore on the subject of Scotsman... durring the jacobite uprising many a Scotsman wore tartan breeches. Say a Scotsman were to turn pirate of sailor (like myself) before the uprising... why would he toss out his breeches simply because he joined the crew of a ship?

http://www.nmm.ac.uk...?reproID=PW0363

http://imagecache2.a...12069618801.jpg

I belive the last one is of Prince Charlie

Edited by Liam McMac

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my sailors short coat is a tarten...the material is period...the style is period...and the scotts were known to make coats out of it...and is warm ta boot for the sailor at sea

P5104144.jpg

here here... a fine coat indeed

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I think it's important to differentiate between tartan and checked fabric.

What the sailors in the England's Safety frontispiece (and yes, that is me and mine) are wearing are not kilts (for many reasons), and almost certainly not what one would call tartan, because they're English not Scottish. Likewise, the Mallorcan sailor in the picture you posted is wearing check, but not what you'd call tartan if you're honest. Incidentally, FWIW, I suspect that picture to be late-ish 18thC.

Now, if you want evidence of checked clothing (as opposed to tartan), there's bucket loads.

Of course, as you say, there's no reason that a highlander who went to sea should have discarded their tartan clothing. On the other hand, as I said, in the written descriptions of hundreds and hundreds of articles of sailors' clothing from the period that I've read the quotation I posted above is the only one which suggests tartan sailors' jacket.

I have absolutely no vested interest in what you wear or do not wear, so make of my comments what you will.

If you are interested in the Scots highlanders I thoroughly recommend the relevant chapter of The Invention of Tradition, edited by Eric Hobsbawm, which is partly available on Google Books (via the link I've embedded in the title).

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I think it's important to differentiate between tartan and checked fabric.

What the sailors in the England's Safety frontispiece (and yes, that is me and mine) are wearing are not kilts (for many reasons), and almost certainly not what one would call tartan, because they're English not Scottish. Likewise, the Mallorcan sailor in the picture you posted is wearing check, but not what you'd call tartan if you're honest. Incidentally, FWIW, I suspect that picture to be late-ish 18thC.

Now, if you want evidence of checked clothing (as opposed to tartan), there's bucket loads.

Of course, as you say, there's no reason that a highlander who went to sea should have discarded their tartan clothing. On the other hand, as I said, in the written descriptions of hundreds and hundreds of articles of sailors' clothing from the period that I've read the quotation I posted above is the only one which suggests tartan sailors' jacket.

I have absolutely no vested interest in what you wear or do not wear, so make of my comments what you will.

If you are interested in the Scots highlanders I thoroughly recommend the relevant chapter of The Invention of Tradition, edited by Eric Hobsbawm, which is partly available on Google Books (via the link I've embedded in the title).

Indeed... well I would say that Checked is to Tartan as Whiskey is to Scotch. They're basicaly the same aside from the country of origin. What is now considered to be 'tartan' has only recently become so due to specific regulations. Checked textiles were in use throughout northern Europe for a millenium before the 18th century. In modern terms tartan is required to have matching warp and weft but it was not always so. The design on many 'checked' 18th century shirts would technicaly be a 'tartan' since the warp and weft are identical. But really it's creating split ends.

All of the info... as always... is greatly apreciated.

Edited by Liam McMac

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Indeed... well I would say that Checked is to Tartan as Whiskey is to Scotch. They're basicaly the same aside from the country of origin. What is now considered to be 'tartan' has only recently become so due to specific regulations. Checked textiles were in use throughout northern Europe for a millenium before the 18th century. In modern terms tartan is required to have matching warp and weft but it was not always so. The design on many 'checked' 18th century shirts would technicaly be a 'tartan' since the warp and weft are identical. But really it's creating split ends.

All of the info... as always... is greatly apreciated.

Wow, I am not sure I agree with that statement at all, but this might be an example of defining our terms. For one thing, windowpane checks really don't look much like plaid at all, except for the whole right angles thing. Though a little bit out of period, William Mosman's 1749 portrait of John Campbell shows a fairly simple plaid that is still complex, compared to checks*. I think it's more accurate to say that plaid is much more like multiple checks overlaid next to each other. So I guess I should ask you what you think of when you think of a checked pattern?

I don't care what you wear, nor do I think it is unreasonable to wear a tartan coat, but I don't think it is accurate to say that a tartan coat IS a checked coat. Your coat, however, does look GOOD.

*Being a Campbell, though, it's entirely possible that portrait is compromised by the subject's untrustworthy and devious manner.

Edited by Matty Bottles

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I made a shortcoat of tartan wool some months back for my Highlander/Jacobite kit... just curious if it would be to outlandish to wear it with a pirate kit?

I have seen several plates with sailors wearing tartan breeches and slops but have yet to see any reenactors wearing tartan for pirate events...

Photo0045.jpg?t=1264651974

What say ye?

No, no, no!

That won't do at all.

Send it to me and I'll dispose of it for you! :rolleyes:

Man, I do seem to be using that line an awful lot these days.

Just goes to further compliment the good work yall are doing!

Keep it up! Pyracy is naught without plunder!

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Indeed... well I would say that Checked is to Tartan as Whiskey is to Scotch. They're basicaly the same aside from the country of origin.

Ah, well.. in principal I agree entirely. All Scotch is whiskey, but not all whisky is Scotch. All tartan is check, but not all check is tartan.

What is now considered to be 'tartan' has only recently become so due to specific regulations. Checked textiles were in use throughout northern Europe for a millenium before the 18th century. In modern terms tartan is required to have matching warp and weft but it was not always so. The design on many 'checked' 18th century shirts would technicaly be a 'tartan' since the warp and weft are identical. But really it's creating split ends.

It is indeed splitting hairs somewhat. In practical terms, the pattern of your jacket (which is a very nice piece by the way, mustn't forget to say that) is comparable to the complex pattern in the picture of the highland gent you posted, but not at all comparable to, say, the checked trousers of the mallorcan sailor you posted.

To avoid confusion and/or dissention, we might classify the patterns as 'multi-check' (what we've been calling tartan) such as your jacket is made of - ie, two or more checked patterns in the same fabric - and 'single' or 'simple check' such as the sailors' leg-wear in the pictures posted.

All of the info... as always... is greatly apreciated.

As always, you're welcome. And as always I would remind readers that anything I post is only ever intended to add to the bank of knowledge and understanding, never intended to belittle.

In answer to your original question. Yes, your jacket could be justified, just about, for use at a pirate event. 'Outlandish' might be a bit of a strong word, but it would certainly be surprising and unusual.

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All tartan is check, but not all check is tartan.

yes, yes, this is what I meant. I wouldn't necessarily call a checked coat tartan. I had it backwards.

[quote name='Foxe' date='28 January 2010 - 04:33 PM' timestamp='1264718017' post='378394' And as always I would remind readers that anything I post is only ever intended to add to the bank of knowledge and understanding, never intended to belittle.

And this, too, much classier and supportive than what I typed. I should laud your fine accomplishments in tailoring, rather than get caught up in the minutia of competing definitons.

I make no apology for my comments on Campbells, however.

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HAHAHAHA

I'm quite sure that in this thread we've near completed the script to a scene in a Tarantino movie

Edited by Liam McMac

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FWIW, perhaps this might help clear up some things regarding checks... From Textiles in America 1650-1870, Florence M. Montgomery

Check: a fabric made of any fibers in plain weave with colored warp and weft stripes intersecting at right angles to form squares(Fig. D-28). Check may also be printed.

Examples of fabrics classified as checks

Fig D-28checked.jpg(page 196 From the Winterthur Museum)

colorchecks.jpg(plate D-94 Striped and checked cotton textiles woven at Rouen, 1737 from the Richelieu Papers)

(an aside for Foxe, just in case he had never seen the following: In John Holker's manuscript of about 1750, swatches 1 to 9 of blue and white linen and cotton checks were made in the Manchester area "for home consumption and for export, especially to the colonies. They were used for sailor's blouses, children's clothing and linings.." pg 197

Plaid: A twill or plain woven cloth with a pattern of intersecting stripes in both the warp and the weft. The pattern may also be printed. A typical "Scotch Pload," shown in the Holker manuscript (see Pl. D-32) was worn by Scots, particularly the mountain men, and by members of the Scottish Regiments serving in England. It was also made into men's dressing gowns. A 1738 Boston newspaper advertised "Banjans made of Worsted Damask, Brocaded Stuffs, Scotch Plods and calliminco." page 325

plaid.jpg(Plate D-32 Worsted "Scotch Pload". From the Holker manuscript, ca. 1750 Musee des Arts Decoratifs)

I think the stumbling block may be that here in the states when you walk into a fabric store if you refer to anything that looks like the lower left hand example in this set colorchecks.jpg

detail

detail.jpg

it is called a plaid where as it was classified as a check earlier on...nowadays people in the states refer to checks more along the style of the red and white checked table cloths you see in the local pizza parlor, where the check is always a solid color... I have found most stores don't even know what a "window pane" check is... :P You really need to go into the garment districts to find folks who know the difference.

Edited by Capt. Sterling

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Intrigomon...

I was given to the understanding that a tartan is a pattern and a plaid is a piece of cloth, and that to confuse the two was an Americanism.

These examples appear to speak otherwise.

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Intrigomon...

I was given to the understanding that a tartan is a pattern and a plaid is a piece of cloth, and that to confuse the two was an Americanism.

These examples appear to speak otherwise.

Plaid is the Gaelic word for blanket and since the Scots always wore big blankets of tartan material... the english speaking folks heard them call them plaids and soon the design became known as plaid to Yanks and Englishmen

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And worse yet "CLAN TARTANS" were an 1850's Victorian English Marketing ploy to sell fabric to those of Scottish heritage who hadn't lived in the Highlands for several generations and wanted to recapture their "roots" and for the American markets! You've got Hounds-tooth check and Glen plaids and Harris Tweed checks which are marketed as plaids ....yeah the days of folks actually knowing the goods they sell seem to be long past...

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Sterling sir... you are the man

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Intrigomon...

I was given to the understanding that a tartan is a pattern and a plaid is a piece of cloth, and that to confuse the two was an Americanism.

These examples appear to speak otherwise.

Pronunciation: \ˈtär-tən\

Function: noun

Etymology: perhaps from Middle French tiretaine linsey-woolsey

Date: circa 1500

1 : a plaid textile design of Scottish origin consisting of stripes of varying width and color usually patterned to designate a distinctive clan

2 a : a twilled woolen fabric with tartan design b : a fabric with tartan design

3 : a garment of tartan design

Montgomery does not have the term "Tartan" in the book but does cover Tiretaine: "A coarse linsey-woolsey, or all wool cloth, which Beck relates to tartan; a 2/2 twill of linen warp and low quality woolen weft.

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Sterling sir... you are the man

ah... just trying to clarify what we see in one of Foxe's great pictures and think plaid and/or tartan... they were thinking check...

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Sterling sir... you are the man

ah... just trying to clarify what we see in one of Foxe's great pictures and think plaid and/or tartan... they were thinking check...

Yes well... I guess the term is... my bad. There I go thinking in modern terms again... gotta stop doing that in this time capsule of piracy. Check was check whether simple or complex.... aye aye

Oh... and Callenish... that's why I don't go for clan tartans. I just wear what looks nice.

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And worse yet "CLAN TARTANS" were an 1850's Victorian English Marketing ploy to sell fabric to those of Scottish heritage who hadn't lived in the Highlands for several generations and wanted to recapture their "roots" and for the American markets! You've got Hounds-tooth check and Glen plaids and Harris Tweed checks which are marketed as plaids ....yeah the days of folks actually knowing the goods they sell seem to be long past...

I just learned that there are official State tartans!

Here's a link about Oregon's: http://www.caledoniansociety.com/origindex.htm

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