- Greetins, All!
This is Clarissa's husband Coinneach, temporarily hijacking her
email to pose a query to those who may be able to provide an answer.
Several things I've read, recently and not-so-recently, say that
garments in the Elizabethan period and later were cleaned by
taking them apart, washing the pieces, and reaqssembling the garment.
In modern garment construction, the outer shell (the "fashion
fabric") is assembled as a unit, the lining is assembled as a
unit, then the two are combined. This would make the
disassembly/reassembly procedure quite cumbersome.
It seems to me a more plausible construction technique, for a
garment you know will be disassembled many times over its
lifetime, would be to sew together the fashion fabric and the
lining of each piece (left front, back, sleeve, etc.) right sides
together, turn and close the seam, then assemble the pieces.
Does anyone know if this technique makes sense, or was actually
used in period?
Thanks in advance for your answers!
I tried answering this once, but it looks like it's been eaten.
What you're describing in the first instance is called flat lining.
The usual practice now is to use a bag lining (i.e., what looks like
a separate garment which is then felled in whole, as opposed to linng
the individual pieces of the garment). Flat lining was known in
period. I honestly can't say if it was more or less prevalent than
bag lining, but I can imagine that for some garments it simply made
more sense, and may have been employed more frequently than we see
The thing is - the sort of garments that needed to be picked apart to
be cleaned were picked apart because the laundering technology of the
time wouldn't have done well on a highly constructed garment. Even
now to some extent this is true, although in the last few decades
clothing has become less constructed. For instance, you wouldn't
toss the jacket from one of your business suits in the washer, would
you? It may ruin the fabric, but aside from that it would simply be
rather hard on the suit itself and never look right again.
Also - keep in mind that people were as clean as they could be under
the circumstances (and that 'clean' is relative - go camping for a
few days) but rarely laundered outer garments. Body linen, yes, but
not doublets and petticoats and the like, except rarely. Much can be
accomplished with brushing and spot cleaning.
So, yes, there were garments that were unpicked to be cleaned, and
they may well have been flat lined. Just remember that they didn't
throw something in the wash after every wearing, only when it really
needed it. If you need to know why, do laundry by hand sometime :)
in this year of 1590
- Thank you for your input on this subject.. I like how you related it
to the mundane... it makes a clear-er point.. to me at least.. And yes
hand washing your laundry is a pain... even with modern detergents.
Reminds me of when I had my two weeks of training for National Guard
last summer. I have found that trying to pack 2 weeks worth of clothes
is next to near impossible... I also was one of few women (the guys
probably didn't.. we could tell) who did launder at least our
undergarments and that was a daunting task... I did try to wash my
outer clothes, ACUs or previously were known BDUs, but it seemed
pointless as it was going to get dirty again and took a long time to
dry. Long hot shower and intensive scrubbing were in order when i got
home! So after that it is no wonder and I can completely understand
your argument.... and to think I was just doing mine.. imagine if you
were doing others as well which might have been the case in time
period! Cleanliness really is next to Godliness!!