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THE Coat Fabric

Page history last edited by Shylaah 13 years, 3 months ago

This version exclusively for the Confessions of a Jackaholic wiki.  Do not copy and paste elsewhere.


All this information on this page is for the frock coat fabric in AWE and prior. I have written another page for the next best thing to the Raffia Ebony 903, which is the Raffia Licorice, also available from L&S and maybe other places on the Internet. About the Raffia Licorice Fabric.


In my research when the Ebony was all gone from L&S last time (April 2009), I discovered who the mysterious Mill 1014 is. It was just a fluke finding the mill--a word in the right place.  I was in contact with a vendor I had sent pictures of the Ebony to while trying to find something comparable.  He sent information on the Licorice saying it was the same exact weave pattern and fiber content and everything, but the color was slightly different. 


Of course I already knew about the Licorice as that was what L&S was claiming was replacing the Ebony and so I knew the Licorice was from the same Mill 1014 as the Ebony had been. The information he provided about the Licorice had the Braemore information with it and he later confirmed that the Ebony had been discontinued by that Mill. So now I knew!!  The Ebony is milled by Braemore (a division of P. Kaufman), so if you're searching those are some key words to use!



UPDATE March 8, 2011

Well, dearest Jacks, looks like the reoccuring nightmare has returned once again, and Lewis and Sheron are once again OUT of the Raffia Ebony 903, as pktaxwench posted some weeks ago warning us that the company was down to the last 100 yards or so and not sure if they would get more or not--a very familiar sounding story.  This is like the third time the fabric has been all gone, and each time it has come back after a couple of months with a $5 a yard increase in price each time......so, who knows if it is gone forever or not??

One other note:  Way back in the day there was a lot of bickering and jousting over which side of the Ebony fabric was use in the movie and from those who worked on the DMC and AWE films and many who saw the coat on display at Disneyland and the El Capitain theater, somewhat of a consensus arose that the coat should be made on the reverse side of the Ebony 903, the bluish side, NOT the brownish side.
I had a piece of the fabric I folded so that some of the front and some of the reverse of the fabric was exposed and lay it in a sunny window for like nearly a year and sometime during that time they both faded out to be exactly the same color, you can't tell from looking at them side by side which started out as which side.  So, in the long run, it didn't really matter after all.


NOTE: Though the experimenting was done on an Ebony sample, since the Licorice is the same fiber content from the same mill, it should all apply to the Licorice as well.


The coat fabric generally accepted and currently being used to make replica frock coats comes from the Lewis and Sheron Textile Co. in Atlanta, GA.  This fabric was discontinued by the mill but Mr. Sheron has succeeded in getting the mill to run some more of it.  At this writing (Nov. 20, 2009) the fabric is available on to order on back order, scheduled to be delivered to L&S by December 30, 2009.


Item ID#   1042967 Vendor:   1014

Style:   Raffia Color: Ebony 903

Fiber Content: 55% cotton, 45% polyester

Width: 54"

Price: #25.00 per yard


A fellow named Wade from Atlanta, one of the first and best Captain Jack Sparrow impersonators, just happened to stumble across this fabric at Lewis and Sheron and munificently shared the source with the Jack costuming world (our eternal gratitude, Wade!)  Many believe that this is the exact fabric used for the movie coats.  It is a very beautiful fabric, and if it isn't the exact fabric used for the movie coat, then it's as close as we're ever likely to find.


No care instructions were included with the fabric, so I called Lewis & Sheron and was told the fabric was Dry Clean Only.  I did some experimenting on the fabric to see what different methods of cleaning would do to it.  The results are as follows.


Starting with the fiber content:  The crosswise threads--those running across the fabric from selvage to selvage, the blacks, greys and that one tan thread--are all or mostly cotton.  The lengthwise threads--those running the length of the yardage, the browns in the fabric--are all or mostly polyester.


All samples were about 8 inches square with the selvage on one edge.  I marked each sample and traced their perimeters so I could measure the shrinkage.  On all samples the shrinkage was what I would consider A LOT.


Fabric samples were colorfast. No color bleeding, no color came out in the water, nor on the white paper towels on which I blotted it.  However, there was a slight darkening of the water when later washed the whole yardage.


Hand washed, hand rinsed cold water, laid flat to air dry sample:

This sample shrank about 1/2 inch on the cross grain, and about 1/4 inch on the lengthwise grain. 


Machine washed, machine rinsed cold water, machine dry on low heat cycle sample:

This sample shrank a little more, about 5/8 inch on the cross grain, and 3/8 inch on the lengthwise grain.


Dry Cleaned sample:

I sewed the sample to be dry cleaned inside a bigger piece of muslin, for I knew they wouldn't be able to dry clean a little 8X8 inch piece.  And was told that even with that, they'd have to put in some kind of "sham".  The dry cleaned sample was the biggest surprise of all because it had the most shrinkage of all.  The fabric shrank nearly an inch on the crosswise grain (7/8" to be exact), and about 1/4 on the lengthwise grain.  The sample had been pressed.  So it was perhaps the heat of the pressing that made it shrink so much.


The greatest shrinkage was on the crosswise grain, not surprising since those threads were the all or mostly cotton threads. The shrinkage on all the samples did tighten the weave up a bit.  The washed samples had some wrinkle to them. They looked similar to how Jack's coat does in the Locker when he's pulling the ship.  The weave on the dry cleaned sample is a little distorted, from the high powered pressing I am assuming.  I pressed (not just ironed, pressed with a damp pressing cloth=heat and steam) the right half of both washed samples after they were dried, which smoothed the weave back out.  There was no additional shrinkage. 


The fabric didn't ravel too much from the washings.  The hand washed sample didn't ravel much at all, and the machine washed and machine dried sample only a few strings.  The dry cleaned sample, surprise again, had the most raveling.


Since the machine washed/dried sample shrank more than the hand washed and the dry cleaned one much more than either, I thought that I should have another go at it to see if I could determine the point of maximum shrinkage.  I hand washed and rinsed and air dried again, the two washed samples. Both shrank about another 3/8 inch on the cross grain, no change on the lengthwise grain. With the first 1/2 inch they shrank that's about a 7/8 inch total, which brings them in line with the dry cleaned sample that shrank 7/8 inch on the cross grain from the get go.


I had 7 yards of the fabric.  After experimenting with the samples, I washed the entire 7 yards.  I hand washed and hand rinsed it in cold water, pressed out as much water as I could with my hands and rolled the fabric in several changes of towels to get out as much water as I could.  I put a plastic shower curtain over a double bed and spread out the fabric flat to dry.  I used a small desk fan to blow across it and turned and re-arranged it every two or three hours to hasten the drying.  (Being a paranoid type person :), I washed and dried it twice!)


I had expected the total shrinkage across the fabric would be closer to 6 inches considering how much the samples shrank,  but it was just a wee bit over 4 inches.  So the once 54" fabric is now just 50-ish.  I didn't get a real good measurement on the lengthwise shrinkage.  Seven yards is a monstrous amount to measure accurately, but I think the overall lengthwise shrinkage of the 7 yards was about 3 inches.


I have a sample out in the laundry room that I have washed many times now.  I throw it in with a load of clothes every now and then (cold water) and dry it in the drier, just for my own curiosity.  It has softened up a bit, but the weave is still consistant and color has not changed or faded.


This is a Home Decor fabric, an upholstery fabric, never intended for being made into a garment, so its behavior as a "fashion fabric" is highly unpredictable.  Any weathering, destressing, or breaking down techniques you are considering using on the coat, I would definitely suggest you try it out on a sample or scrap of the fabric first.


If you're contemplating making a coat out of this fabric, do consider some method of pre-shrinking before you cut out your pattern.  If you are having a coat made for you out of this fabric, then definitely discuss some pre-shrinking measures with your vendor/seamstress.


If you have a coat made of this fabric, you should try to find out from your vendor if they took any measures to pre-shrink the fabric (it can be done with a steam press also, not having done any cleaning to it).  If they didn't, well, I don't know if you can ever clean your coat or get it wet without it definitely shrinking some, and possibly distorting. Since the greatest shrinkage was on the crosswise grain, the coat would shrink more around you and not as much in the length of the coat.  I'm aware that some may not even want to clean their coat??......I'm just saying........


shylaah AT who DOT net

















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