I’m afraid I don’t have great pictures of the small bits of this ensemble yet–the neck handkerchief, apron, and cap. I do have a good shot of my favorite accessory, the tie-on pocket:

You’ve probably heard the Mother Goose rhyme “Lucy Locket lost her pocket,” and perhaps even been perplexed by it. Puzzle no more! During the 18th Century, women’s pockets were separate garments of their own–not integral parts of other garments as they are today. They were worn singly (as mine) or in matched pairs, they were often highly decorated (with embroidery, trimwork, etc), and they were popular gift items. My pocket is made of linen (the same linen as the shift), with linen tape for the ties. It’s worn around the waist, above the underpetticoat but beneath the petticoat, and is accessed through those open seams in the side of the petticoat. For more information on tie-on pockets (including incredible photographs of existing period pockets), check out the online exhibition at Pockets of History.

Here you can more or less see the other accessories–cap, apron, and neck handkerchief, all made from the same linen as the shift and pocket. Caps were a ubiquitous item of women’s dress-worn by all classes of women, young and old, everywhere, for almost every occasion. All known examples of period caps are white (though if you’ve peeked at The Chocolate Girl, you’ll see that her headpiece is pink, a fact that stumps costumers). I am not completely satisfied with mine; I hope to make another I like better.

Aprons were another universal garment, worn for both utilitarian and fashionable reasons. During the middle part of the century, there was a French fad for dressing like shepherdesses, and aprons found their way from working dress to formalwear. The Chocolate Girl is wearing a “pinner” apron (or “pinner form”), which partially covers her chest; this style became more popular in the 19th Century, when straps were added and it became known as a pinafore.

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