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  1. #1
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    1744 Trews Construction

    Detail of the trews made for the English Jacobite Sir John Hynde-Cotton. The construction is very peculiar. Most of the tartan is the same as that of the coat but it looks like the maker ran out at the waist and used a ‘sort of’ similar tartan. I find it strange that part of the upper section was sewn with the raw edges left showing, almost as though it was a rush job. Very strange construction.

    Click image for larger version. 

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  3. #2
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    Could it be a later replacement piece / repair of the trews since that would be a high wear area?
    "We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give"
    Sir Winston Leonard Spencer-Churchill

  4. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Q View Post
    Could it be a later replacement piece / repair of the trews since that would be a high wear area?
    That would be my guess as well. It was replaced by someone at a later date who didn't have any more of the original tartan. And possibly, the portion of tartan that was replaced was cut out and moved to patch elsewhere, hence the ragged edges. Pure speculation on my part, but it makes a lot more sense than this being all original.

    I'm having a hard time telling which side is front and back from these close-up photos. If the replacement tartan was used at the rear/seat area, it would make sense. That portion would usually be covered by one's coat tails, if wearing a typical style coat from that era. But the front would be visible by others, so it would be necessary to use original tartan for front repairs (and harvest that tartan from the rear).

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    The raw edge is pinked, so it was definitely left raw on purpose. Not sure why. Do you have a wider view of the whole outfit? It seems like a very short jacket or waistcoat for 1744. Piecing was very common at the time, but it does seem a little more haphazard than I would think.

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    Raw edges were common in period garments, Broadcloth does not need to be turned under, as it takes a raw edge rather nicely and does not unravel. Tartan on the other hand, is not broadcloth......

  7. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tobus View Post
    That would be my guess as well. It was replaced by someone at a later date who didn't have any more of the original tartan. And possibly, the portion of tartan that was replaced was cut out and moved to patch elsewhere, hence the ragged edges. Pure speculation on my part, but it makes a lot more sense than this being all original.

    I'm having a hard time telling which side is front and back from these close-up photos. If the replacement tartan was used at the rear/seat area, it would make sense. That portion would usually be covered by one's coat tails, if wearing a typical style coat from that era. But the front would be visible by others, so it would be necessary to use original tartan for front repairs (and harvest that tartan from the rear).
    Quote Originally Posted by Andrew Breecher View Post
    The raw edge is pinked, so it was definitely left raw on purpose. Not sure why. Do you have a wider view of the whole outfit? It seems like a very short jacket or waistcoat for 1744. Piecing was very common at the time, but it does seem a little more haphazard than I would think.
    The raw edges are ragged but they’re not pinked. Here’s a picture of the whole suit without the plaid that appears in most photographs taken when the suit is in the case at the NMS.

    Click image for larger version. 

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  8. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by figheadair View Post
    The raw edges are ragged but they’re not pinked.
    The edges are ragged, but you can tell that it is pinked in either a square or dovetail cut.

    This is a more intact dovetail pinking:


    Given that the cloth is cut on the bias, and that you can see how it was cut to hug the calves, I'd call these pantaloons and not trews. Interesting that you can see that it's quite a narrow piece of cloth, and that it's pieced three times down the leg - no attempt was made to match the pattern.

  9. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Andrew Breecher View Post
    The edges are ragged, but you can tell that it is pinked in either a square or dovetail cut.

    This is a more intact dovetail pinking:


    Given that the cloth is cut on the bias, and that you can see how it was cut to hug the calves, I'd call these pantaloons and not trews. Interesting that you can see that it's quite a narrow piece of cloth, and that it's pieced three times down the leg - no attempt was made to match the pattern.
    That's very interesting and I agree that it's deliberate. Most strange nonetheless.

    The main tartan, that also use for the coat, has a large sett which does not naturally lend itself to being used for trews because of the amount of waste if the sett is matched. That might explain why it's not matched and possibly why there's a piece of non-matching material too. It may be that the intent was to have a suit in the tartan but that there was not quite enough material.

    Joining several pieces of material down the leg seems to have been common practice. In this pair I've highlighted the seams.
    Click image for larger version. 

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  11. #9
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    Was including footies/socks as part of the pants leg the norm for trews back then? Or, am I mis-interpreting what I am seeing?
    The hielan' man he wears the kilt, even when it's snowin';
    He kens na where the wind comes frae, But he kens fine where its goin'.

  12. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by lschwartz View Post
    Was including footies/socks as part of the pants leg the norm for trews back then? Or, am I mis-interpreting what I am seeing?
    It was the norm, that's what trews were. That said, the famous portrait (1787) of Neil Gow shows him wearing straight-cut diced breeches and matching diced hose cut on the bias. How widely this form of dress was worn is unclear but it's worth noting that the date is just post the Repeal of Proscription and this may reflect a 'tartanised' version of standard European dress of the time.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    What we call trews today are civilian versions of the late 18th century/early 19th century military cut tartan trousers to which the old highland term was applied.
    Last edited by figheadair; 23rd May 17 at 10:44 PM.

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