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Thread: Correct Blue

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
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    Sebastian, FL
    Posts
    103

    Default Correct Blue

    I finally noticed the variation in color for Federal sack coats. Most reenactors wear coats that are navy blue, while a few wear a lighter blue. The same goes for forage caps. I'd like to know why there's a difference in color and which color is correct per regulations of the time.
    Daniel Duke
    Liberty Guards Mess

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Location
    Chicago
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    179

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    You make two or three million sack coats with different contractors and subcontractors with only guidelines to follow and see how it turns out. Here is from John Wedeward's website.
    http://www.cwquartermaster.com/original_sack_coats.htm
    Jason K.
    Prodigal Sons Mess
    36th Illinois Co. "B"
    Old Northwest Volunteers

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Wheaton, IL
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    2,388

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Dbackfed View Post
    You make two or three million sack coats with different contractors and subcontractors with only guidelines to follow and see how it turns out. Here is from John Wedeward's website.
    http://www.cwquartermaster.com/original_sack_coats.htm
    Gees, you woulda thunk they could have come up with one PMS number (288?) and run with that.......
    RJ Samp
    Horniste! Blas das Signal zum Angriffe!
    "But in the end, it's the history, stupid. If you can't document it, forget about it. And no amount of 'tomfoolery' can explain away conduct that in the end makes history (and living historians) look stupid and wrong. "

  4. #4
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    Location
    Chicago
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    Default

    They clearly weren't Blackburn grads
    Jason K.
    Prodigal Sons Mess
    36th Illinois Co. "B"
    Old Northwest Volunteers

  5. #5

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    Hallo!

    A few of many factors involved with indigo dyeing: purity of the indigo, concentration in the dye bath, purity of the mordants, concentration of the mordants in the dye bath, temperature of the dye bath, amount of fabric in the dyebath, length of time in the bath, number of rinses, quality of rinsing, etc.

    The standard was for dark blue. How dark or light a dark blue was a subjective call by the inspector who weighed the "serviceability" of the item against minor variations on the theme.

    Today with reproductions, most all of the dyeing is done with aniine dye rather than indigo. Some go to extra lengths to simulate the indigo ranges,
    That also applies to "sky blue" which am ong sme vendors is now often too light a baby blue or powder blue rather than a sky blue.

    One thing that helps is to view period color as a concept, not as a precise modern paint chip.

    Curt

    Curt
    In gleichem Schritt und Tritt, Curt Schmidt

    Not a real Civil War reenactor, I only portray one on boards and fora.
    I do not portray a Civil War soldier, I merely interpret one.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Columbus, OH
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    Default

    Dying cloth/yarn is not an exact science. Lots of factors can effect how dark/light the color comes out beyond just time and the concentration of the dye. Terre Lawson, one of the moderators here could probably give a several hour course on the subject.

    There were color variations, not just from fading but from the dying process. As with most things, "Close enough for government work" was not just a catchy phrase.
    Bernard Biederman
    30th OVI
    Co. B

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
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    1,134

    Default

    And after all that being said, one of the amusing factoids about indigo dye is that during the civil war eara it was considered one dye with which it was easiest to control color consistency! That is one of the reasons the gov't decided to use it.

    WTH
    The Dyed-in-the-wool mess
    Yuma gonna luv it

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
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    Tuskaloosa, Alabama
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    In large commercial vats, one can control to a fairly consistent color standard, more so than a home dyer.

    But indigo is organic--affected by all the things Curt mentioned, as well as the weight and weave of cloth, even the amount of twist in the threads used to weave, and the breed of sheep used.

    Sometimes the particular fabric just won't take up more dye. That's the darkest you can get in that run.
    Mrs. Lawson
    Weaver, Spinster, Strong Fast Dyes
    Knitted Goods and yarns available thlawson@bellsouth.net



    Moderator, When I remember. We got Rules here!

    Did your sales post disappear? Try again. But read the rules first.
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  9. #9
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    Augusta, Georgia
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    I believe I am correct (but am not too proud to be corrected, should I be wrong) in saying that indigo dyes do not fade with time or exposure to UV light. This is not the case with many other period dyes, like logwood, etc. Another reason why indigo would be a dye of choice for the army... wouldn't want that blue fading to GRAY!
    John Wickett
    Carpetbagger

  10. #10
    Join Date
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    Tuskaloosa, Alabama
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    It's not that it Won't Fade, John.

    It's simply more light fast than other dyes of the period.

    My own indigo handwoven cotton dress made about 1995 is a testimony to that. It's been worn steadily for the intervening years, including about 4 years where Darling Daughter wore it to work everyday. The shoulders are nearly silver, the folds of the skirting show a wide range of blues, while the inside of the dress continues to be a dark navy.

    This is a pretty good example of indigo/cotton interaction. Just as cotton is slower to accept dye than wool, it is also quicker to give it up. Wool uniforms, stored in chests and closets for decades, hold on to dye more.

    A few years ago, one well known weaver mended a 'too dark' indigo dyeing error by nailing the yard goods to his roof for the summer.
    Mrs. Lawson
    Weaver, Spinster, Strong Fast Dyes
    Knitted Goods and yarns available thlawson@bellsouth.net



    Moderator, When I remember. We got Rules here!

    Did your sales post disappear? Try again. But read the rules first.
    Here they are: http://www.cwreenactors.com/forum/sh...Classified-Ads



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