Tuesday, July 30, 2013


In trying to achieve a lower-class look appropriate for our station with the Continental Army, I've found that resources for info on children's clothing are few and far between. I have Anne Buck's Clothes and the Child, which is a wonderful resource, but it covers a bit too much ground to be specific enough. Period images of lower-class children seem few and far between until the later 1780s, so many of my sources are a bit late for my purposes. However, I've decided that a pincloth is a necessity with a messy toddler.

What is a pincloth? I'd like to tell you definitively, but I can only say, "I'm not sure." There are 9 pre-1785 references in the Old Bailey records, with the first appearing in 1754. Unfortunately, they don't give any description of what the pincloths looked like other than to describe the fabric. Kannik's Korner sells a pincloth pattern (scroll down) that is based off of the 1789 "Instructions for Cutting Out Apparel for the Poor." I've searched and searched for images dated during or just before the Revolutionary War, but they are like hen's teeth.  Paul Sandby drew a couple that I found from 1759, but their sketchiness makes it hard to tell just what the garment looked like.

Detail - "London Cries - Fishmonger" by Paul Sandby, 1759, Yale Center for British Art

Monday, July 22, 2013

On Cloak Ties

When I made my full-length cloak, I found quite a bit of information about construction, but not so much about fastening. Sources like The Hive Online's article on short cloaks give some guidelines for materials to use, but still left me with questions. I was unsure of how to attach said strings/ribbons, as they would potentially have a lot of weight pulling on them.

As a stop-gap measure, I attached some cheap ribbon to the inside of the center-front edge, right below the seam where the cloak met the hood. This was alright, but it seemed like the wool could give out, given enough time.

A search for period images showing fastening methods in detail turned up ribbons and tapes exclusively. I didn't find any buttons or frogs. Since portraiture is almost exclusively of the upper classes, I found many images of silk cloaks fastening with silk ribbons.

Detail - 1780 Eliz. Crompton by Joseph Wright of Derby, Derby Mus. & Art Gallery

In the above image, it appears that the lining forms a casing through which the (very wide) silk ribbon is drawn. It seems unlikely that wool cloaks could be gathered in the way a silk cloak could due to the thickness and sheer weight of the fabric, but it's an interesting image nevertheless.

Detailed depictions of lower class cloaks are few and far between, with the best-known possibly being Zoffany's The Watercress Girl. I never found a high-res image of the original painting unfortunately, but the low-res shows that the cloak, its edging gimp, and the ties are all the same shade of red. (As an aside, I love this picture for the cloak, spotted handkerchief, beat-up silk-covered hat and horizontal pins!)

Detail - 1780 engraving after Johann Zoffany's Watercress Girl, Yale Cent. for British Art