Friday, January 02, 2009

Working dress......

Of all the wondrous treasures of costume that have survived to this day, I, and many others, hold the simple garb of the working man in highest regard. Even more precious to me, is that of a child. This is what a person wore every day, plain clothing that was worn until it was too small or too worn out, then was remade into something smaller, and then remade into rags or used as stuffing, or precious bits picked off and used in quilts and patchwork~ aprons, pockets, sewing roll ups~ you get the idea.....and especially a wonderful print such as this. BUT somewhere along the line, this little pinafore wasn't worn out, nor was it cut up for use in something else. These are the rare treasures that every now and again, let us peek into everyday living of our ancestors.

Children often wore a frock, or pinafore, over their clothing to keep them clean. ( Notice the placement of the stains in the very first picture~ perfectly in line with my mannequin's hands. Evidentally children have always wiped their hands on their clothes!) In the 18th century this was basically a rectangle of cloth, cut with slits for the arms to go thru, with maybe a drawstring at the neck. very simple. This pinafore is c1830. It could be made from an earlier piece of fabric, as the design has been hand painted to make the greens of the leaves. This was printed on a roller, then yellow was hand applied with a brush over the blue, to make green. It is entirely hand stitched in weensie teensie stitches~ some of the smallest I have seen.....20+ to the inch on one side only.

Beautiful print, and aside from a couple dark stains on the front, in immaculate condition

Original drawstring back, with a single carved mother of pearl button about 5" down from the neck. This button is original, and matches the other two, one on each sleeve cuff.

25" from neck to hem, this would have fit a child of 4 to 5 years old....maybe a bit older if they were very tall and skinny. The sleeves are very full, including the armscyes, which would enable them to fit over the large gigot sleeves of a young child's dress. This could have been either for a boy or a girl

The back opening button closure is reinforced on both sides, as are the armpits....which is quite interesting

Here is a closeup~ a double layer triangular piece stitched directly below the armscye on the inside. Also notice that instead of being placed right sides together and stitched, to attach the sleeve, both the upper sleeve's, and the pinafore's edges have been turned under and stitched neatly, before they were attached. No raw edges to unravel, someone certainly had years of hard wear intended for this when they lovingly made it. Realistically speaking, this was probably a favorite pinafore, and given the high child mortality in the early 19th century, the wearer most likely passed away, and this was kept for Dear fond remembrance.


Heather said...

What a beautiful, beautiful pinefore! Haha, maybe those days-of-yore mama's had it right-- I should just throw a big cloth rectangle over my toddler to save her poor clothes!
It is amazing that this survived all these generations...where in the world do you find these treasures???

Countryfolk Keepsakes said...

Oh my!!! What beautiful fabric! Boy I wish I lived closer, I'd come for a visit to feast my peepers on everything!
Happy New Year sweetness!!! :> )

Simone's Mor said...

I have followed your blog for som time now.
A very interesting post. And at the end where you write.. "The wearer most likely passed away, and this was kept for dear fond remembrance".. oh, I got a tear in my eye.. how sad..

Greetings from Sweden..

Christine LeFever said...

Your vast knowledge of early clothing is something the movie industry requires for period films. I wonder if there's room for you to get involved with films. In any event, you are a treasure to me for sharing what you know. After all, isn't sharing what it's all about? Thank you so much for your dear friendship, Rachael.


Christine (Zwee!!!!)

Suzanne said...

This is such a sweet little treasure. I just love the print of the fabric. Thank you for sharing it. Zwee is could have a whole new career! :)

CARole said...

Hi, Rachael. I am posting again, the last post I wrote for some reason did not go through. I wanted to tell you how much I love your blog. It is so informative and looking at all the lovely things you own is a real treat. Oh how I wish I could visit your museum. It must be lovely. You are so fortunate to own all of these lovely textiles. BTW, I am still laughing about your FIL!