This is the webpage of a group whose aim is to improve the kit and clothes of a UK seventeenth century Civil War reenactment group, using the most up to date references and research. Feel free to comment on any of the subjects raised here and return often as I want to keep the discussion lively and ongoing.

Please look at the extra tabs on the right hand side. The newbie section is the place for basic kit if you're just beginning to reenact the 1640s. Haberdashery has lots of detail about colours, buttons, tapes etc.

Thursday, 24 March 2011

Shirt in the Manchester City Galleries of Costume

There aren't many shirts left in existence from our period, let alone relatively basic ones, but this is an exception. It's kept in the Galleries of Costume in Manchester. Not sure how it survived, but reading the description the owner who brought it to the museum didn't know what they had! Stuart Peachey has published a pattern based on this shirt in his book "Common Soldier's Clothing of the Civil Wars". It shows how a shirt could be cut from a standard 10 foot length of linen.

This is the description from the Museum:

"Long full shirt in white linen. Cut in a T-shape: 2 large panels with side seams; separate sleeves set into the body and forming small underarm gussets. Sleeves and body drawn into bands at cuffs and neck with very fine, close smocking. Very fine French knot embroidery worked along upper shoulder seams. Openings at cf, side vents and cuffs, all edged with narrow bobbin lace (distressed). End of each opening marked by a knot-motif in plaited applique braid. Other seams very finely double over-stitched. Falling-collar attached at neck of fine Flemish (or Northern European) bobbin lace (4 inches deep) with shallow scallops at edge and a close formal geometric design. Embroidery is of a higher quality than the lace, and body of shirt almost certainly earlier, perhaps mid 16th century, with later lace collar added.
Purchased at auction in 1995 with 50% aid from V&A/MLA purchase fund. The vendor brought a pair of stays to be valued for sale, and this shirt was used as wrapping or a cover which is how it had survived."

Thanks to the Manchester City Galleries for permission to reproduce this image.

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