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Cotton jean vs. wool jean

Discussion in 'Reenactors Forum' started by GAvolunteer, Mar 12, 2012.

  1. GAvolunteer

    GAvolunteer Corporal

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    Hi guys
    I have a pair of trousers that are made out of jean
    now the question is what kind of jean-cotton or wool
    what is the difference and how can i tell.
     

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  3. Robtweb1

    Robtweb1 2nd Lieutenant Retired Moderator Civil War Photo Contest
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    Wool jean is pretty coarse and will itch if you aren't used to it. It will however, dry very quickly if it gets wet. Cotton will not, it will hold the water.
     
  4. GAvolunteer

    GAvolunteer Corporal

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    so how can i tell which is which
    and which is more common durring the war
     
  5. Robtweb1

    Robtweb1 2nd Lieutenant Retired Moderator Civil War Photo Contest
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    If you had one of each it would be obvious which is the wool because of the coarseness. I believe it was more common, particularly for the standard uniform.
     
  6. Nathanb1

    Nathanb1 Brigadier General Moderator Forum Host

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    Cotton and wool are both natural fibers. Wool will generally show some finer fibers if you hold it up to the light. Like Robtweb1 said, wool is itchy-ier. Cotton isn't. You might pour some water on it and see whether it beads up at all or just absorbs. Not knowing exactly what the weave is, etc., I can't really answer without seeing it.

    Oops...and I'm with R. on the commonality. Wool seems to have been more prevalent.
     
  7. Tin cup

    Tin cup 2nd Lieutenant

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    Jean Cloth & other Fabric definitions:


    Jean: A cloth made of Vertical (Warp) Cotton fibers, with Horizontal (Weft) Wool fibers, with more Wool fibers than cotton, in a diagonal (Twill) weave. Jean also was produced in all cotton, much like our modern Denim material, and presents a different face on the front than the back. Also, because of the type of weave, Jean is some of the strongest natural fabric you can produce.

    Ifyou look at a piece of Jean Cloth, you will note that the WOOL thread is passing over 2 cotton threads, then going under 1 cotton thread, then over 2 Cotton...
    With having MORE cotton threads UNDER (Backside) the Wool filler threads, you see a LIGHTER color on the BACKSIDE of your material, because the cotton is lighter colored.
    Now, the interesting part is that ONE of the 2 cotton threads passing under the wool thread, is then separated from it's "partner" and goes OVER the next wool thread, hence the SINGLE Cotton thread on the front…sort of "INTERLOCKING" everything together.
    There will be differences in thread thickness, color, & texture, from one lot of jean material to another. But for now this helps break it down to the basics.
    When you read a description of a Jacket made of Jean material, or other type of fabrics used, you will have an idea on what they are talking about. Such as this example as on Geoff Walden’s Columbus Depot Jacket Website…
    http://authentic-campaigner.com/articles/walden/cdjacket.htm

    “surviving originals were all made on a pattern of 6-piece bodies, with 1-piece rather full sleeves tapering to the cuffs. The body pieces curve into a short rounded "tail" in the center of the back on most of the jackets. All are made of a wool-cotton jean cloth (a woolen weft on a cotton warp, apparently unbleached or brown in some of the jackets), woven to a 1/2 twill. (In other words, the loom was filled with a foundation (warp) of the cotton threads, then the wool threads were woven into these, passing over two and under one of the cotton threads; the jean twill effect comes from alternating the cotton warp thread that shows through on the finished side.) The jackets have collars and straight cuff trim about 2-1/2 inches wide of a medium or indigo blue kersey weave wool (not jean). The linings were made from a white or unbleached cotton tabby weave osnaburg.”

    So what about all these other fancy words Geoff uses in describing the material these Jackets were made of?

    Read on…


    Kersey: A coarse twill woven narrow woolen cloth, fulled to hide the cotton threads & finished with a short nap. Often having a pronounced diagonal ribbing.

    Satinette: Coat weight material that is cotton warp, wool weft, made to appear uniform (smooth) and fine like broadcloth.


    Broadcloth: A densely woven wool cloth, fulled to a smooth, short nap that obscures the weave, to the point of being almost light reflective.

    Cassinette: An extremely fine version of Satinette, with the weave dense enough to not be discernable.

    Cassimere: A plain or 2/2 twill woolen or cotton cloth used for suits or Jackets.

    Cottonade: Plain woven twilled coat-weight cotton cloth with a nap.

    Osnaburg: A plain unfinished appearing cotton weave material.

    Weft: Horizontal threads in fabric

    Warp: Vertical threads in fabric

    Full: Practice or raising fibers from the fabric to obscure the weave.

    Nap: Fibers raised from fabric to obscure the weave.

    Twill: fabric woven in such a manner that the weave is diagonal.

    Tabby: A weave that is a simple "square" pattern of one thread under, one over, as opposed to the twill pattern of jean or kersey

    Worsted: A smooth compact yarn of long wool fibers for firm napless fabrics. (Wool suit material is often “worsted”)


    Jean Cloth example.jpg Jean Cloth example.jpg

    There are other definitions, but these seem to be ones that you see when you read about Uniform material. I hope this helps!
    Kevin Dally
     
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  8. James B White

    James B White 1st Lieutenant Trivia Game Winner

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    Tin cup's answer nailed it. Both wool and cotton jean have a cotton warp, but wool jean has a wool weft--the cross-wise threads--while cotton jeans is cotton both ways. So look to see if the warp threads seem different from the weft threads. If they're the same, it probably cotton. If they're different in color or texture, it's probably wool. Wool takes dye better, so it may be a purer or darker color than the cotton, and it's also coarser in a "cheap" fabric like jeans, so it may seem thicker or fuzzier.

    Occasionally, on early antebellum stuff, you'll also run into linen-wool jeans, with linen warp instead of cotton. The modern jeans you wear today are cotton jeans, with the weft dyed blue and the warp left white, in homage to the old cotton-wool jeans where the cotton wasn't dyed or wouldn't take the dye as well.

    Trivia fact that I suspect most reenactors don't know: it was usually pronounced "jane" in the period, as seen in period dictionaries like Webster's unabridged 1853, and you'll sometimes see old letters spell it phonetically that way.
     
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