Friday, March 4, 2011

Forever in Blue Jeans...Well, at Least Back to the 1600's

This would come under the category of "Everything Old is New Again", Where did denim fabric originate? Most claim it's appearance was around settlement times, in the days of cowboys and the wild, wild west in the late 1800's.

Not so my acid washed, bell bottomed, bikini top wearin' friends, (Oh yeah, you may not wear them now, but you did then and I know it!).

Even the poor had fashionable split sleeves of the day!
Turns out Denim has been the durable fabric choice of the masses for Centuries as this anonymous Painter aptly named, "The Master of Blue Jean" illustrates in his wonderful painting of ordinary people of the 17 Century.

There are more paintings to study on the link I have provided.

Here's a stray thought on the worn clothing that hasn't been mended by a woman who obviously can sew, do you think it was actually the style to wear them frayed and worn as it was in our day? This family is shown street begging in another painting, the torn denim sorta completes the look, if you get my drift! I love her homemade "French" hood!

Since it was denim, it was never worn by more affluent folks and then handed down, this was "ready to wear" made for regular folks, note the fashionable "Split Sleeves" of the time! Being poor didn't mean you had to be out of step with fashion!

What a treasure these paintings are to those of us who portray the past and struggle because so few ordinary, everyday people are shown in paintings, and we can't all the Queen or her Royal Court...we are mostly portraying Merchants, Musicians and Explorers with small means with which to clothe ourselves.

Not to say the everyday people who first came to this continent didn't dress themselves well, many of them were paid to come here, and a rich supply of clothing was part of the deal. "Two Centuries of Costume in America" Volume 1 (1620-1820) is a fantastic reference that includes ship manifests and letters of communication between Settlers and Continental Kin on the most pressing subject of the time: "What Are They Wearing Back Home and Can You Send Me Some?"

I have provided the link to the free download of this book, which can be read on your computer or your favorite reading device, complete with illustrations! Just click on the link provided and surprise yourself at the extent Women and Men made to dress themselves well even in the "Wilds of America"!

Here is a dress I especially like and hope to endeavour to make myself soon: The Petticoat was actually quilted! I'VE GOT TO HAVE THIS DRESS!
Not Exactly the Pious Pilgrim Wear we have been told about!
Note how the basic pattern of the dress goes back to the middle ages, with very little change to the bodice through the centuries, mostly changes were made to sleeves and collar lines. but you'll find that out for yourself when you download the book.....happy research!

Oh, just in case you need your illusions completely shattered about what women wore in the 1800's, you'll want to get the book, "They Saw The Elephant", which sadly is not free, but a priceless look at the Hardy Women who went west to pan for gold and..(GASP)...wore pants. Thank you to "Snakes" Lady Lauri for lending me her copy!


joe billy said...

Been trying to find you two and find out how you eagles are faring Your brother Joe Billy

Joe Billy said...


Doyle and Terri Johnson said...

Good to hear from you Joe, will email soon!

Gabbana Jeans suppliers said...

Very nice post, truely blue jeans have been in fashion for way too long! :)

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