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Kitchen - - - - WORKDAY WEAR

The kitchen was always a hub of activity, and Pottsgrove's kitchen would have known all manner of food and household related activities. But this was the primary work area of the domestic staff, and a domain where practical garments were of utmost importance. Clothing should be neat and efficient, and made of common stuff - no voluminous silks and trimmings were seen here. Household servants were expected to dress presentably-sometimes in handed down garments from their master or mistress - but for everyday usefulness, wool, linen, and later in the century, cotton, were the fabrics used in garments for ordinary people in their daily life.

c. Late 18th Century

Well-to-do families often dressed their house servants in a uniform called a livery. Here is an example of a Potts servant in livery of red linen sleeved waistcoat and breeches with gold buttons. A blue wool coat would also be worn depending on the activity of the servant. Although of the working class, a liveried servant must present a groomed appearance with clean linen shirt and white stockings.

Formal settings required the use of white gloves. Reproductions created by Mark Amey based upon period Potts documentation. The pattern was drafted based upon originals from the Victorian Albert Museum, London, and the Dewitt Wallace Gallery in Williamsburg, VA. Pottsgrove collection

#38 WORKING CLASS JACKET c.1770-1780

This linen jacket of this servant is similar in style to the upper class jacket of her mistress (#36).Differences lie in the quality of fabric and detail of cut. A serviceable fabric devoid of trim makes this jacket functional for her station in life. The pattern for this jacket was taken from a 1769 period engraving by M. Garsault and can be found in The Cut Of WomenÕs Clothes 1600-1930 by Norah Waugh, ST


Young children were not exempt from work and often had working garments like their parents. This mother's little helper had a short gown and petticoat. A short gown was easy to make, required little material (in this case made from scraps) and was relatively comfortable except for the straight pins used to close the front of the gown. The short gown pattern came from an article by Claudia Kidwell in the publication DRESS, volume 4, 1978, pp. 30-65. ST


18th century fabrics were very valuable. Often outdated items were remade or passed down the social order. Our lady is handing to her servant an old outdated brocaded jacket with wing cuffs (1740-1750). The servant would then wear this for her "best" outfit, laced over a stomacher. The affluent, as well as the working classes, used jackets for informal comfort. Fabric, decoration and fit were the main differentiating factors. The brown silk of this jacket with silk fringe and metallic trim sets it above a common work garment, although similar jackets utilizing less expensive fabric were worn by the working class. The same applied for accessories like the ribbon trimmed cap, sheer white apron and copperplate print petticoat. During the 18th century, cotton was labor intensive to produce (pre-cotton gin) and thus an expensive item and a status symbol. The brown jacket is based on an original garment in The Cut Of WomenÕs Clothing 1600-1930(diagram XXX) by Norah Waugh, The cap was researched by the "Brigade of the American Revolution". The early brocaded jacket is based on a pattern from an original that appears in Janet Arnold's Patterns of Fashion 1 and is cross-referenced with an original in the collection of the Kyoto Costume Institute. ST


#39 WORKING CLASS BOY c. mid 18th century

Typical of a working class man, this boy has a sleeved waistcoat; but in this case the sleeves are laced in. This makes them removable for comfort in hot weather or for cleanliness during dirty chores. Compared to a waistcoat with matching coat, the savings in fabric costs also make it economical. The waistcoat is linen and the breeches are of wool. The natural color of the coarse shirt made it less expensive than a white bleached linen and a very suitable choice for an active working child. The sleeved waistcoat is from a pattern based upon an original garment and appears in The Cut Of Men's Clothes 1600-1900 by Norah Waugh (diagram XXII), as are the breeches. The shirt pattern (with the collar adapted from an earlier style) was taken from Fitting and Proper by Sharon Ann Burnston (page 47). ST

#40 LADY'S RIDING HABIT c.mid 18th Century

For riding and traveling, a female version of masculine attire was adopted. Sturdy wools were used to create a feminized version of a gentleman's coat with a lady's petticoat. This example is made from soft wool decorated with gold buttons and trim. A ruffled linen shirt is used in place of the chemise but, as always, stays are still worn. Leather gloves are used to protect the hands while riding sidesaddle on a horse or traveling in a carriage. A straw and feather version of the male cocked hat is perched on her head. The hat was researched and reproduced by Betty Fralinger. The pattern for the habit was taken from an original and appears in Norah WaughÕs The Cut of Women's Clothes 1600-1930 (diagram XXXI). ST

c. mid 18th century

A workingman had similar garments to his superiors but with several changes. His coat was often looser and shorter and he lacked fine linen and expensive silk.

Colors and patterns were a good choice for those who had to do the dirty work, as the color would hide some dirt. Fabrics such as wool and line were chosen for their cheapness and durability. His only touch of elegance is the yellow silk neck cloth. There were affordable low grades of silk and there are many accounts of run away servants and slaves with a few silk items.

Before the age of steel toed shoes, wooden clogs were worn to protect the feet. The Brigade of the American Revolution researched all patterns used. ST

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