Sunday, 13 January 2013

French Clothing in the New World Part Three.

o    When trimmed, fine shirts had cuffs and a frill (jabot) of muslin, lace or batiste, either plain or embroidered. These were bands of cloth folded and sewn to the wrists of the shirt and along the cut prepared for the jabot. They were usually sewn permanently to the shirt, but if the cuffs were embroidered or made of lace, they would be mounted on a tape fixed to the wrist "which one detaches when the shirt is to be washed". [20]
o    At Louisbourg, mention of trimmed shirts is fairly common, but although there are lace-trimmed shirts amongst the personal effects of a merchant, [21] nothing suggests that the cuffs were removable from the shirt. As well as lace, toile and cotton, [22] muslin, [23] and batiste [24] were used for trimming.
o    The occupation of those who possessed these shirts bears witness, if not to certain wealth, at least to a relatively high social status. We find these shirts belonging to:
- the governor [25]
- the clerk of the Superior Council [26]
- the bailiff of the Superior Council [27]
- two merchants (in their personal effects) [28]
- five merchants (possibly articles for sale) [29]
- two merchant-brokers (possibly articles for sale) [30]
- two ship captains [31]
- one boat captain [32]
- a schooner captain [33]
o    (a) Collar
o    The collar (" le col" also called tour de col and tour de cou) was a band of muslin or dimity with each end folded and ending with a small, narrower piece of toile; it attached to the shirt at the back of the neck with a buckle or up to three buttons depending on the size of the collar.[34]
o    At Louisbourg, collars were made of cotton or muslin. Also found were records of twenty-eight black velvet ones in a merchant's possession. [35] It is unlikely that these would have been worn with a shirt. Such a heavy fabric would probably be worn with a suit or outer garment, especially because the male wardrobe had no scarf or other article to protect the neck from the cold. Collars were always owned by those who owned trimmed shirts.
o    (b) Cravate
o    The cravate, a rectangle of muslin, [36] was worn tied around the neck. At Louisbourg, cravates were more rare than collars, from which they did not differ greatly, since they were sometimes confused: "cravate or collar': [37] There were cravates of white toile [38]and even of black taffeta (taffetas noire) belonging to a merchant-broker. [39] Curiously, the fishermen who had neither trimmed shirts nor collars, sometimes had cravates since one of them had a muslin cravate [40] and another had two in rough white toile. [41]
o    (c) Hooks and Buttons
o    Possibly buttons were used to attach the collar, since collars had button-holes. Some however used hooks (agrafes), as noted by a merchant's inventory which included ten "tin hooks for collars". [42]
o    The sleeves were closed by buttons made from various qualities of metal. Some were so refined that they were virtually jewels. Governor Duquesnel had golden sleeve buttons [43] as did a merchant-broker [44] and a ship captain. [45] Others, including the clerk of the Superior Council, [46] a ship's carpenter, [47] a merchant [48] and the bailiff of the Superior Counci1,[49] had silver sleeve buttons. A merchant even had "shirt buttons: stone mounted in silver". [50] However copper was less expensive and sold in greater quantities: there are records of one hundred and fifty-one pairs for as little as 16 livres in the merchandise inventoried in 1756. [51]
o    The men's wardrobe included underclothes, drawers and camisoles, as well as garments which were only worn indoors, called robes de chambre but their use does not seem to have been widespread.
o    1. DRAWERS (caleçon)
o    It is difficult to give the precise meaning of the term "caleçon" in the 18th century. Diderot gives no definition for the term, but refers the word to "skinner" (peaussier) for, he says, "Master 'skinners and tanners of leather' become 'drawer-makers' because their laws permit them to send good leather for the making of drawers, which they could also make and sell themselves" .[52] It was the custom of the period to line breeches (culottes) with leather. Hence it is a strong possibility that drawers were some part of under clothing. At Louisbourg, there are about twenty documentary references to them, and in the two cases where the material is specified, they are drawers made of toile [53]
o    2. CAMISOLE
o    Camisoles or undervests are mentioned even less frequently, and it is not certain that they were always worn as undergarments. We have seen above that it was customary to wear a shirt directly against the skin, and it is known that the term "camisole" also can refer to a type of waistcoat (gilet). When made of flannel, as is the case with two camisoles in Duquesnel's inventory, [54] they were worn under a shirt. Besides two other camisoles, made of dimity (basin) listed in the same inventory, we do not know what other fabrics were used for camisoles.
o    As the name (robe de chambre) indicates, the dressing-gowns were probably worn indoors. They were only found in the well furnished wardrobes of the governor, ship or schooner captains or rich merchant-brokers. The gown sometimes had a matching vest which suggests that it was a fairly formal garment, though it would only be worn in private. Those recorded at Louisbourg were made of calamance (en calmande), a cloth of wool or wool and silk; [55] of various kinds of cotton (cotonnadeindienne); or of "satinette" (satinade). They were sometimes lined. We have not found a description of this garment in the documents, but Diderot, who included it among tailor-made articles, ("articles confectionnés par le tailleur") gives an illustration, reproduced at the end of the text. Also, several examples explain more precisely the types of fabrics used and show the differences in quality:
o    "...a dressing-gown of damasked calamanco lined with light-weight striped camlet..." (1744, ship's captain) [56]
o    "...an old dressing-gown of Indian cotton...3# ..." 1750, boat captains[57]
o    "a man's dressing-gown with its small satin vest ...31#...
o    another cotton fabric dressing gown with its half vest ... 13#10s... a man's Indian chintz dressing gown with its vest ...70#
...(1757, merchant-broker, possibly part of his stock) [58]
o    BY

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