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On shirts for Infantry soldiers of 1779.

Posted by sharpiefan on Jan.6th.2010 at 12:50
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I was looking at the instructions for the period shirt pattern I bought a while back (from Patterns of Time - you should check them out!), and I thought this was worth quoting here:

Contemporary Documentation of Interest
Cuthberston, Bennet. A System for the Complete Interior Management and Oeconomy of a Battalion of Infantry, London; J. Millas, 1779, p 58-59:

"The shirts given to the Non-commission-officers and Soldiers, as small mounting, on the British establishment, fromt the indifference of the work, can be of little use, unless taken to pieces and made up properly, with a ruffle at the bosom, which is an ornament, that should always be added to a Soldier's shirt:..."; "It is a mistaken oeconomy in Officers, to buy very coarse linen for their Soldiers shirts; that of one shilling and four pence a yard, is the cheapest, from which any material service can be expected; four shirts (three of which should be perfectly good_ are as few as a Soldier can dispense with, to support that neatness which at all times should distinguish him:... care must be taken, that they are worked both neat and strong, with buttons at the collar, which should not be allowed to turn over the stock, above half an inch; the ruffle at the bosom, need not exceed two inches in breadth, and it will be an addition to the look of the sleeves (which otherwise appear quite naked) to ornament their slits, with half and inch ruffle; eight pence a piece is a sufficient allowance for shirts made agreeable to these directions, nor should the women be ever suffered to demand a farthing more."

Here's a close-up from a screencap of Mary Bryant, showing a Marine with a ruffled shirt:
Lakey, David


ylla at 2010-01-06 13:41 (UTC) (Link)
Of course you couldn't be a soldier without a ruffle on your shirt :)

This reminds me a bit of O'Brian's sailors sitting resewing their shirts, in order to avoid insults from their peers, except that here the criticism seems to be coming from further up.
Keiju is a Panda
wayward_shadows at 2010-01-06 21:54 (UTC) (Link)
Eeee. I don't have a ruffled shirt. x.x
sharpiefan at 2010-01-06 21:58 (UTC) (Link)
I can't remember what Osprey book it was, but I do remember seeing a pic with a soldier who's got a ruffle buttoned to his shirt, to show at the collar of his jacket. So maybe that's an option?

Edited at 2010-01-06 09:59 pm (UTC)
Keiju is a Panda
wayward_shadows at 2010-01-06 22:03 (UTC) (Link)
That's not something I've heard of (which is not to say it doesn't exist) but it's interesting. I have no idea where to find such a thing, though. Whee.
sharpiefan at 2010-01-06 22:11 (UTC) (Link)
Men-at-Arms: The King's German Legion (2) 1812-1816 (Osprey). Plate F shoas a soldier in his drill jacket (undress rig), which is unbuttoned, and there's a ruffle buttoned to his shirt button. (It's upside down, in the picture.)

I'm sure you could rig something like that up - looks a bit like a cockle-shell shape. I'd say it's a rectangle of fabric, gathered at one end to make the ruffle shape, and with a buttonhole put in.
Keiju is a Panda
wayward_shadows at 2010-01-06 22:12 (UTC) (Link)
Ah. That's one Osprey I haven't got. :P

I'll have to see about getting fabric for that. It'd be a fun project.
Märchen schreibt die Zeit
lokisday at 2010-02-15 03:50 (UTC) (Link)
I think mine has too much lace. It's COVERED in the stuff. I'm obviously not a soldier, so what am I, a prince? XD
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