18th century clothing, common dress, fashion, interpretation, living history, quilted petticoat, Reenacting, sewing, winter
Can I get an “Aw, yiss” for being warm outdoors?
They may not be the most accurate <cough>machinestitchedoffabolt<cough> quilted petticoat and waistcoat, but they sure do make a difference.
These aren’t exactly base layers– a white wool flannel shift would not be amiss–but the quilted layers make a big difference to a day in the cold. When I added up the layers, I came to 8 without counting accessories like neck handkerchiefs and stockings:
- Lightweight Wool Petticoat
- Heavy Wool Petticoat
- Quilted Petticoat
- Gown and Stomacher
It isn’t always pretty, but in cold, wet weather, function trumps fashion (not that I’m not pretty pleased with this upholstery). The waistcoat ties on, so you have some adjustment should your weight or shape fluctuate. The petticoat, in this case, works like every other petticoat, with the sole exception of a short pocket slit on one side due to operator impatience (this was finished just a few days before it needed to be packed for Princeton).
The quilted fabric (originally intended, I am sure, for a bedspread) is lined with a plain weave wool for extra insulation and body; the waist band is bound with wool tape, as is the hem. Down in the basement, there’s a camblet- wool batting- linen lining sandwich on a frame, ready for quilting, if I only I would drag it up stairs and start, and I know it would be both more insulating and more accurate.
Does it all fit? Well…pretty much! An open robe with stomacher makes it easier to fit all these layer underneath, and, happily, I don’t have the best sense of my own size, so my clothes tend to be a little bigger than they must be. Fortunately, historical clothing generally involves adjustable closures that make fluctuations and layering easy to accommodate.
After Anna B’s and Anna K’s comments on the overview of the event, I was reminded that these are the confessions of a known bonnet-wearer, and I will humiliate self for history, so in case you are wondering: no, I didn’t wear drawers of any kind, or leggings, or long underwear. A pair of silk stockings under a pair of wool stockings kept my lower extremities warm, but my nethers were sometimes chilly, in a highly specific, localized, but small way. I think this may be where the wool shift comes in– or one that fits a bit better than my current garment, which is a tad too large.
When it comes to ears, you can see that we adopted a range of solutions. Ear-covering caps under bonnets, under straw hats, and under kerchiefs, were worn by some. At far left, my cap perched on top of my head, so I tied my bonnet on with a kerchief and pulled my hood over all of that. Mistress V (at far right) wore a cap, a kerchief and a hat (which was summarily removed in the afternoon, by Mistress S at her left). Mistress F, holding the cream colored blanket with a wide black stripe, wore a wool hood over a cap and under her straw hat. Wear enough layers– and the right layers, meaning mostly wool and silk– and you will be warm, perhaps even sweaty if you’re active. Still, I might trade in my “Hobo Woman of Princeton” look for a quilted silk hood if the right one came along.
Anna Worden Bauersmith said:
It seems a quilted waistcoat just added itself to my personal sewing list.
For a bit I thought I was Mistress F and was extremely confused… got it now. I can’t believe you didn’t wear modern stuff underneath! There were my layers, not counting drawers and such:
1. Long underwear
2. Fleece leggings
4. More stockings
5. Linen petticoat
6. Flannel petticoat
And I added tights under all that on Sunday.
1. Tank top
2. Long sleeve shirt (fleece hoodie fitted to body on Sunday)
3. Long underwear/merino wool fleece type
4. Shift (normal linen – maybe eventually a wool or flannel one)
5. Worsted wool/flannel bedgown
Eventually I’ll get stays and a gown and such – that will allow me to wear more than 1 petticoat. Till then, I have to stick to 2. Too much tied around my waist. For the outer stuff, I tied a kerchief around my cap, put my hood up, and wrapped a blanket around myself. Plus mitts and mittens – thank god for both. Overall I stayed surprisingly warm! Other than the toes
Ocean Senta said:
Mad props for braving the cold!
I’d love some quilted undergarments for just walking around in daily life! Winter’s barely started and I’m already tired of the cold. They incorporate beautifully with your ensemble, and they honestly look great on their own!
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