Saturday, August 10, 2013

18th Century Shirts for My Boys

The last few days I have been sewing up the new shirts for David and Judah. I took my time with them, which means I have not been able to start Malachi's clothes yet, but I still have a week. I've got this.

The shirts are very simply made, based these off the diagram and instructions in Everyday Dress of Rural America 1783-1800 by Meredith Wright. Every piece is a rectangle or square. The neckline is cut as a T shaped slit, gussets are inserted at the neckline to shape the head opening, and the neckline gathered up to a rectangular collar. The sleeves are set in with gussets and are gathered to a fitted cuff. There is a single button at the neck, and one on each cuff.

These are made with plain white cotton. Linen would have been nicer to use but I don't have any light enough for shirts like this and don't really have the time or money to order in new fabric at the moment. So cotton it is. I even had a 25% off total purchase coupon to use for it, and it was on sale for 30% off to begin with.

The cut is roomy as is, so I think they will fit for quite a while. The length is about mid thigh.

Because David and Judah like to know whose is whose, I cross stitched an initial on the inside of each collar. David picked red thread and Judah picked blue.

The thing that took the longest was finishing all the seams by hand. The baby for some reason has decided to be extra clingy and possessive lately so I had to steal bits of time to sew when she was napping or otherwise occupied. Last night I was finishing up the buttonholes and she yanked my sewing out of my hand and threw in on the floor. She doesn't like to share me, apparently.

In spite of her, they were finished and Judah (since David hates the camera) modeled for me this morning. A little waistcoat would not be amiss but I am not sure if I will have time for that or not. Anyway, I'm really pleased with how these came out! I'm strongly considering going to the Faire at New Boston at the end of this month so perhaps I can get waistcoats made before then.

Oh and yeah - look! I ordered a hair extension to use to make a regency hairpiece since my own hair is just below shoulder length and not really long enough for a good style. I ordered it off the internet from Hair Stop and Shop and it came within 2 days, was only $10 and I could not be happier with it! It matches my hair almost exactly and feels so nice, much nicer than the synethetic braid I got at Sally's a few years ago for 1860's styles. Love it! Can't wait to play around with it!



  1. Great work on the shirts! I especially like the initials on neat! And when my sister saw that picture of you holding up the hair she exclaimed "oh no-she cut off all her hair!" :) I'm really enjoying your blog, thank you so much for posting the wealth of information that you do!
    ~Theresa :)

  2. Wow! The shirt turned out awesome! The complete look with trousers, braces, and the shirt is great. It really does look different than 1860s doesn't it?
    I was wondering... did you make his braces? If you did, would you mind giving a mini tutorial on how to make them and where you got the wool bands to make them? I'd like to make some for my son instead of using the silly grosgrain ribbon that I used temporarily for his Civil War pants.

  3. He looks like he should be in an A&E version of a Jane Austen book! Great work as always Sarah!

  4. Oh he's so cute! I love his shirt! It makes me want to make clothes for my little brothers! xD Good job, Sarah Jane!


  5. I love the detail on the shirts, you always do beautiful work!


Thank you for your lovely thoughts!