Students and enthusiasts of period costume as well as needleworkers interested in re-creating authentic costumes of America's post-Revolutionary era will welcome this comprehensive, scholarly treatment. It not only discusses and describes the clothing worn in rural America (primarily in New England) between 1783 and 1800, it is one of the few books to include scaled drawings of patterns and full instructions for making most of the garments.
The attire includes the clothing both of settlers and of the Abenaki Indians of New England. The Abenaki traditionally wore clothing made of soft tanned deerskin or moosehide, sometimes decorated with dyes or with complex embroidery of dyed porcupine quills and moose hair. By the late eighteenth century, however, the Abenaki had adopted certain of the settlers' garments, such as the men's shirt and the women's shift. Similarly, the settlers had begun to wear moccasins, leggings, and other Indian garments when it made sense in their daily lives.
The heart of this book is devoted to full descriptions and scaled patterns for specific garments. For women: shift, petticoat and skirt, gowns, neckerchief, apron, headgear, and more. Men's clothes include shirt, cravat and stock, breeches and breechcloth, waistcoat, coat, frock, and headgear. Also covered are men's and women's stockings, leggings, shoes, and moccasins. While the majority of the clothing was worn in rural areas, small-town clothing is described as well.
Cultural and costume historians, or anyone interested in the clothing styles of the late eighteenth century in rural America, will find a rich store of information and practical instruction in this book. It belongs in the library of any lover of antique clothing or needleworker wishing to duplicate the everyday dress of our forebears.
Reprint of Put On The Beautiful Garments: Rural New England Clothing 1783–1800, The Clothes Press, VT. 1990.