18th Century Work / Trade Shirt

     One of the first items of clothing needed for most males as well as both male and female 18th century native re-enactors will be a trade shirt.  In warmer weather, a trade shirt and breech clout for native males and long hunters , or a wool wrap skirt for native females, and you have yourself the beginnings of an outfit for  18th century  re-enacting. 

 A backwoods settler may also be properly clothed in only a work shirt and breeches, depending upon his class and if he is out in the fields working.  My advice to anyone wanting to begin re-enacting in our time period is to begin simple.   Outfitting yourself , especially if you are clothing a family, can be expensive.  Your clothing needs can change or you may find that, unfortunately, you have made a mistake in your clothing needs.  Dont always assume just because someone is at an event as a sutler that they are selling you the proper attire!  One thing for sure is that you can’t go wrong by starting your outfit with a trade shirt. The exception would be in female settlers and their basic shirt or undergarment would be a chemise or shift.  They too are not difficult to make yourself  and will be covered in a future post. 

     The following are links to sites that give a good pattern and also a video of the basic construction of a work / trade shirt.  I have made about 15 so far and prefer the custom fit that I can achieve by making my own.  I made a longer one made out of a darker striped linen.  Makes for a good bedshirt that can be worn out after dark on a run to the potty.  Regardless if you are looking an economical way to begin re-enacting or just wanting to add a custom shirt to your wardrobe, enjoy ! The video and pattern are on the links below !!





Filed under Miss Sherry's Notes

5 responses to “18th Century Work / Trade Shirt

  1. ramonaato

    FABULOUS, Sherry!!!! Very informative.


  2. Sherry

    By chance, this post appeared shortly after I did this blog. Goes to show you the value that can be placed on a handstiched, high quality shirt. Too rich for my blood, but interesting. Notice the details especially the buttons.

    Shirt for Sale
    Posted by: “WilliamG” coheewabler@yahoo.com coheewabler
    Mon Jan 25, 2010 7:20 pm (PST)
    > I have a linen shirt for sale. It is made from summer weight linen, with correct narrow wristbands and shoulder straps. Entirely hand stitched, all seams are felled. Closed with 4 thread buttons, two at the collar and one per wristband.
    > Measurements:
    > 39 1/2″ long from shoulder
    > 29 1/2″ wide at bottom hem
    > 18″ collar
    > 21 1/1″ sleeves
    > http://i720.photobucket.com/albums/ww208/coheewabler/jan%2010%20sale/100_0631.jpg
    > http://i720.photobucket.com/albums/ww208/coheewabler/jan%2010%20sale/100_0632.jpg
    > http://i720.photobucket.com/albums/ww208/coheewabler/jan%2010%20sale/100_0636.jpg
    > http://i720.photobucket.com/albums/ww208/coheewabler/jan%2010%20sale/100_0641.jpg
    > http://i720.photobucket.com/albums/ww208/coheewabler/jan%2010%20sale/100_0653.jpg
    > I’m asking $300 plus shipping. Feel free to email for questions or more pictures
    > Thanks
    > Will Gore


  3. ramonaato

    This shirt must be made of cloth of gold!!!!


  4. Thanks, Sherry! I saw the 18th Century shirt video, and some other product videos on their channel, too. The comical ones are a riot! Have a nice snowy day!


  5. Personally my recommendation would be to get/make a work frock. The frock can be worn by men and women and it covers all but the lower legs. The shirt style frock is good right through the 18th century up to at least 1830 in the 19th century, and it is made on the same pattern as the common shirt only in a larger size.


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