Hypothesis regarding Trousers / Pantaloons

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Richard Warren
Forum Rifleman
Richard Warren
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Joined: April 26th, 2009, 7:05 pm

June 24th, 2017, 9:52 am #21

Right, so if we take the single seam pattern as usually in patent stocking or stockinette, for officers, providing a snug fit beneath the Hessian boot or whatever, does it follow that cloth or cassimere pantaloons, whether for officers or men, would be in the double seam pattern? Or is that an assumption too far?
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Ben Townsend
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Ben Townsend
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Joined: November 19th, 2007, 9:35 pm

July 10th, 2017, 5:31 pm #22

Hi Richard,

I have delayed replying until I was in the same place as my copies of the two tailoring guides I am leaning on (hopefully not too heavily). They have a lot to say on, 'breeches without the accustomed seams,' but I'm afraid the plot is thickening rather than becoming more opaque. They recommend the 'seamless breeches, to be made from, 'broad or narrow cloth, kerseymere, stocking, or any stuff that has the least elasticity in it'. Just to make it clear, they then suggest that only broadcloth will make the breeches as shown without the seam, as it has the width, and anything else will have to be pieced.

Rifleman LaLa
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Richard Warren
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Richard Warren
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Joined: April 26th, 2009, 7:05 pm

July 17th, 2017, 10:21 am #23

Mm. Thanks, Ben. I'm a bit confused, as I'd imagined, from the tailor's drawings, that the seamless type was made in two pieces, one for each leg ...

Google books came up with "The Tailor's Preceptor" (good title) of 1826, which is rather post-period, but shows the relationship between pantaloons (formed to the leg below the knee) and what it calls "pantaloon-trowsers", which I think the rest of us would call trousers [??] and are cut parallel from the calf down:

"Pantaloons are formed from the knee upwards by the same rule just laid down for breeches ... form the remainder of the leg-seam according to the measure; mark the bottom by a straight line; and hollow the underside as in breeches.

Fig 2 also represents pantaloon-trowsers. These are usually cut the same width at the bottom as at the calf, and may be formed by the same measure, from the straight line at the side. The bottom of the fore-part may be cut a little hollow, and the hind-part round."



Does this help? Maybe not.
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Ben Townsend
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Ben Townsend
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Joined: November 19th, 2007, 9:35 pm

July 18th, 2017, 6:41 am #24

I suppose that's why The Tailor's Instructor favours the term, 'breeches without the accustomed seams' to 'seamless breeches'. One term is accurate, and the other has the ring of an advertising slogan. If you look at the two pictures from Rigimentals above, you will see some of the piecing he describes at work. So although the breeches lack the second leg seam, they are pieced in areas off the leg. Now piecing for reasons of economy is a straightforward practice, but it would hardly be necessary to show it on a pattern. When it is shown on a pattern I believe it is to illustrate the use of piecing to utilise particular properties of the stuff.

Nice point from the Preceptor. That's a useful (1820s) definition of the difference between pantaloon and pantaloon-trowser ( the latter a subset of trowser). It does fit my general feeling: that the pantaloon is a pair of breeches to the knee, extended past the knee, and fitted to the leg.

Rifleman LaLa
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Ben Townsend
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Ben Townsend
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Joined: November 19th, 2007, 9:35 pm

July 18th, 2017, 2:29 pm #25

Veering back towards the rifle corps specifically for a moment, Rob G of the 5/60th group has kindly brought my attention to the passage in Scloppetaria that relates the legwear, 'usually served out to riflemen'.

"The pantaloons usually served out to riflemen are of two kinds, either of green cloth made to fit very tight and close, or of loose white Russia duck. Now the former of these labour under two objections: one, that they restrain the free use of the limbs and muscles, and therefore the sooner fatigue the wearer; and secondly, that they are more apt to get torn in leaping and running, from there being made so tight. The white duck Trowsers are we think equally inadmissible, for although they certainly are much pleasanter owing to their looseness, yet surely their colour is so glaring an absurdity, that the whole use of a green jacket is done away."
p.245 Scloppetaria, Henry Beaufoy, 1808.

The author then goes on to talk about his suggestions for improvements: in short, a looser green pantaloon finishing, 'mid-leg'.

Rifleman LaLa
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