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Overalls, Sussex style




Last post from the country fair. We found this guy wandering around in his grandpappy’s nightshirt.

Just kidding! This is the uniform farmers wore here from about the 18th C, well into the 20th. And it’s not dissimilar to what Medieval peasant wore, so…since forever, really.

This was the inspiration for the smock tops girls wore in the Seventies. If you don’t remember that, perhaps you weren’t a girl in the Seventies.

There is, not surprisingly, a whole study of these things…regional designs, embroidery, fabric, colors. Here is a nice post about it from Lincolnshire.

This fellow told us this smock was his great-grandfather’s. Not really visible here, he’s also wearing a boffo pair of leather gaiters that were his grandfather’s. The rest of the costume is spot on, also.

Not much like the good ol’ boys I remember (though that expression started here, don’tcha know).

Good weekend, y’all!






Comment from Uncle Al
Time: August 14, 2015, 11:34 pm

Thanks – great photo!

The clothes may look silly to us now but I’m sure they were practical when worn by working farmers. Plus, his grin is literally infectious!

Comment from OldFert
Time: August 15, 2015, 3:22 am

Kinda looks like a Ferengi with his lobes hidden. Hmm. Is one Ferengi a Ferengus?

Comment from Feynmangroupie
Time: August 15, 2015, 4:39 am

The embroidery is gorgeous. I wonder if it the amount and level of complexity was a reflection of the wife’s pride in her husband, or if it was more a reflection of prosperity. As in, see all this threat I can waste on frippery and don’t you wish your man looked as stylin’ as mine?

Comment from Surly Ermine
Time: August 15, 2015, 5:01 am

Damn fine bowler. Is that great-grand pappy’s crook too?

Comment from As If I Cared (Now With Caps!)
Time: August 15, 2015, 12:27 pm

Bernie! Bernie Sanders! Is that you?

Comment from Deborah HH
Time: August 15, 2015, 2:36 pm

Splendid photo. What a legacy—the smock and gaiters. I followed the link, and the link’s links, and bookmarked ’em. Grist to the mill for me. The illustrations were stunning.

I was a girl in the 70s! And I had a smocked top! Made of white tissue linen smocked in red and blue, with a peasant neckline and trumpet-bell sleeves. I wore it through five Houston summers. Eventually the tissue linen washed away to cellophane and I had to give it up. By then it was the softest fabric ever; I cut it apart and hemmed the pieces to make facial wash cloths.

I never learned to smock—no daughters. Though I suppose I could still learn and make something for the granddaughters.

Comment from GenghisJohn
Time: August 15, 2015, 2:41 pm

Thanks Stoaty! Interesting stuff.

Comment from Mr. Dave
Time: August 15, 2015, 5:18 pm

A lot of beautiful craftwork can be done when you don’t have TV distracting you.

Comment from mojo
Time: August 15, 2015, 8:31 pm

I dunno. He looks like the sort to keep a murder shack, yannow?

Comment from bad cat robot
Time: August 16, 2015, 10:32 pm

I do smocking! It is surprisingly easy, actually. The hard part is modifying an existing fabric pattern to adjust for the gathered materials. Fun stuff.

Comment from Davem123
Time: August 17, 2015, 2:50 am

I’m with As If, I thought that was Bernie Sanders. The smock is for stopping tomatoes thrown by the Black Lives Matter crowd?

I had to share – I came across a posting on Sarah Hoyt’s site featuring old pulp magazine covers. Behold, the attack of the killer weasels!


Comment from Nina
Time: August 17, 2015, 7:55 am

I love old stuff, which is probably why I dress up as a sixteenth century peasant for fun.

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: August 17, 2015, 7:53 pm

Where do you get your stuff, Nina? Do you make it?

I’ve been wanting a Medieval housewife’s kit, but not sure where to start. Not surprising, there’s a big trade show here that caters to the re-enactment crowd, but I don’t think it’s anywhere near me.

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