Thursday, September 1, 2016

18th Century Virginia Fashion

Recent injuries have rendered me to pause in my busy day, but not matter. There are books to be read. In so doing, I have been reminded of the sewing of 18th century attire for myself and my children and the fact that our clothing tended to be quite nice. We received a range of comments on this matter, which made me smile when I read the following yesterday.

"Surviving garments, portraits, and written records indicate that when affluent Virginians had occasion to dress up, they were very elegant indeed.

As early as 1724, Hugh Jones wrote in The Present State of Virginia that Williamsburg's leading families dressed like the gentry in London. Thirty-five years later, the Reverend Jonathan Boucher described Virginians: 'Solomon in all his Glory was not array'd like one of These. I assure you, Mrs. James, the common Planter's Daughters here go every Day in finer Cloaths than I have seen content you for a Summer's Sunday. You thought (homely Creatures as you are) my Sattin Wastecoat was a fine best, Lord help You. I'm noth'g amongst the Lace and Lac'd fellows that are here. Nay, so much does their Taste run after dress that they tell me I may see in Virginia more brilliant Assemblies than I ever c'd in the North of Engl'd, and except Royal Ones P'rhaps in any Part of it.'" (Eighteenth-Century Clothing at Williamsburg, Linda Baumgarten, p11)

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My family and I are now Virginians (though always Texans at heart). Time to return more earnestly to my historic sewing. I have  many works in progress and fabrics and kits waiting on the shelf. I've been busy in the last few weeks purging and organizing my growing piles about the house so that I can find more time to focus on sewing.

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