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Women's Clothing at Colonial Michilimackinac

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Getting ready for the day in the 18th Century was a bit different from what we are used to today. Historic Interpreter LeeAnn shows us the stepsby-step of getting dressed for a lady at Colonial Michilimackinac in the 1770s.
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Text Comments (144)
Zoof Fooz (20 days ago)
That's nice. But what about women's period??? Flowed through the legs and dress???
Val5085 M (2 months ago)
Do you know how to make the garters?
cartoonygothica (2 months ago)
This might sound like a dumb question, but do the re-enactors wear their regular undergarments when in costume?
Megan Lange (4 months ago)
I’m so into these silhouettes, I wish it was socially acceptable (but not required) to still dress like this.
MsAjg2011 (5 months ago)
Thank you for this descriptive, yet accessible explanation for my students.
carolyn anzueto (7 months ago)
the pockets are interesting lol
James Richardson (7 months ago)
She is very beautiful😍!!🔥
Stephanie Backs (8 months ago)
Gasp! No! You broke the golden rule: SHOES BEFORE CORSET. (but lols aside, educational, thank you).
Куча юбок еще и фартук сверху
Vick Clark (8 months ago)
This just made research 100x easier for me. Thank you!!!
macroevolve (8 months ago)
18th century England dress and Colonial America dress are pretty much the same.
josh robinson (8 months ago)
I can see Mackinac Island and Mackinaw City from my front porch.
B B (8 months ago)
I work as an interpretor in the same time period as she does (in canada though) and I can vouch for the fact that your body adjusts itself much better temperature wise than you would think. The clothes are uncomfortable for the first few days but that's it! After a while you actually start feeling uncomfortable not having a stay (or corset) on during the work day.. And sometimes we actually start feeling cold after we change out into modern clothing at the end of the day because of being so used to our interpretor uniforms
Santa Bracero (9 months ago)
Thank God I'm not from that era its too much 😁😂😅
Liz (9 months ago)
Must be hard to scratch your titties wearing that. My titties feel itchy now.
Grace USA (11 months ago)
I wish we can dress like this, it’s beautiful. Clothes nowadays look like underwear.
Sarah Hamilfan (9 months ago)
Je Suis Un Imbécile well I own 1950s ondergarments and I can wear it as a regular summer dress😂 so it's not that big of a stretch
Crab Gal (9 months ago)
Grace USA that's a bit of an overstatement
Beth G. (1 year ago)
Straight pins. Gawd.
Angie S (1 year ago)
Omg you look so beautiful!!!. 😍
I G (1 year ago)
So this is what common women wore? Is there nothing with less layers? It just seems like a lot.
Walrus Latte (1 month ago)
+Sarah Hamilfan I think all those layers is the only thing that would have prevented you from smelling ppl. Antiperspirant was only invented in the 1930s-40s.
Sarah Hamilfan (9 months ago)
Indiana Gatchell Haha this is the very least amount of clothing women wore
andré rasemont (1 year ago)
Bravo, tu est fort belle.
KHTimeProtecter (1 year ago)
Question: What was the purpose of the pockets between the skirts? To help women look like they had wider hips? Or did they have a more practical function?
john Mullholand (9 months ago)
Mackinac State Historic Parks Did the women in the 1700s use a chatelaine to carry housekeys, small scissors, and geegaws and fooforaws, or is that later, like 1800s?
Thank you for watching and for your question! For what she is wearing in this video, the pockets were designed to be just that - pockets.
Marialla (1 year ago)
If pinning clothes had to do with allowing for variations in figure due to pregnancy or whatever, wouldn't the jacket have had more overlap at the front when pinned to a slender/nonpregnant figure like yours? Or were there different jackets/stays for pregnancy?
Walrus Latte (1 month ago)
I think that's where stomacher's came in
shockvaluecola (8 months ago)
Mostly the jacket was just left open and the stays partially laced.
in time (1 year ago)
Wish to god we still dressed like this. We look ridiculous today🙄
Walrus Latte (1 month ago)
+S Cler So true! Historical clothing is only romantic because we have a choice.
FlyingMonkies325 (1 month ago)
+val Fletcher LOL i hope it's a comfortable corset cos it might start to chafe or dig in i guess have it tied on a little bit looser but i can't imagine trying to bend over with one on guess you'd have to like bend your knees standing up straight then grab the buckets and other stuff on the floor.
val Fletcher (1 month ago)
+FlyingMonkies325 Really in all honesty It was the first thing that crossed my mind! I want to do some historical reenacting this summer at a site which was at its prime in this period of American History....I just thought I would skip that petticoat...after all...why? Then I saw the corset and said," oh no, it will be so hot.....".ha still pondering this one.
val Fletcher (1 month ago)
+S Cler Yes ut is wonderful to have a choice in all aspects of historic reenactment! We can go back in time and have the best of both worlds! I agree! I only get aggravated when people with today's perspective look back and JUDGE the past while using a modern day lens, and then think it is perfectly fine to tear down and otherwise desecrate historic culture (including the monuments thereof) and feel that they are doing a favor when all they are doing is taking the same degree of choice that we now enjoy AWAY from the generations to follow us. One day, our own standards will be judged by those in the future and it is inevitable that we will "fail their tests" because now we have started allowing such things. Nuf said, I agree with you 100%.
FlyingMonkies325 (1 month ago)
+val Fletcher They still wore stuff like this even during the labor days more comfortable but nevertheless they still had to wear corsets :P and in the 17th and 18th century women were still carrying buckets around to get water and milk for their cooking, can you imagine doing that while wearing a corset and all those layers? even just the lighter layers, i mean the cotton is supposed to be a lot more breathable but i don't think it will with me lol.
Jennifer Wolfe (1 year ago)
Love this video. I am finally doing my first event on Saturday with a re-enactment group! I’m trying to figure out if I want to try to purchase stays or take the time and make them. My question is what materials are yours made of and I can’t tell in the video if they were half boned or fully boned?
spacelove 13 (1 year ago)
She showed us her shemise oh my how scaldelous
val Fletcher (1 month ago)
+Sarah Hamilfan Thank you. That was bugging me! I try not to be petty but DANG people need to read or something! Today I saw Illinois spelled :Illinoise"....and just had to SMH.
john Mullholand (9 months ago)
spacelove 13 Even more scandalous when you consider that by the standards of the day she would be considered "naked"! LOL
Sarah Hamilfan (9 months ago)
spacelove 13 *chemise
Anna (1 year ago)
this is my dream job
jaclyn Richmond (2 months ago)
Me too but I've noticed they want masters degrees for a lot of these places.
Madeline Edgar (1 year ago)
Uuuugh I want to work there
jaclyn Richmond (2 months ago)
Me too!
Conyshi EG (1 year ago)
Lol you had to carry a pocket in order to carry stuff 😂
john Mullholand (9 months ago)
Conyshi EG They also used baskets, bags, and the like. The pocket would probably be used to keep your money and small stuff in. Like housekeys for instance.
BeckyLambers (1 year ago)
Where did you get your shoes? I really like them and want a pair for myself.
Sarah Hamilfan (2 months ago)
They're very expensive though
Sarah Hamilfan (2 months ago)
You can get shoes like that at American Duchess!
riffsbitch (1 year ago)
It makes the argument from the show 1776 about needing pins make a lot more sense now :) thank you!
Felix Catta (1 year ago)
Lol I was totally thinking that too
Star Cherry (1 year ago)
LOL what do 21st women wear for modesty?
Crystal Saling (27 days ago)
The tears of prudes everywhere! That’s what we wear. 😅
jaclyn Richmond (2 months ago)
We have our own version of these things. Bras come to mind and undershirts to prevent over cleavage.
shockvaluecola (8 months ago)
panties, camisoles, slips, scarves, tights/hose/leggings, shorts. all of these are or can be used as modesty garments. this is even before one gets into cultural wear like head coverings, which are common to many religions and cultures and just as "21st century" as any of those other things.
MegaKaitouKID1412 (1 year ago)
Clothes. We cover our bits in public and that's as modest as we need to be-- and that's absolutely okay, there's nothing wrong with it.
Allegory of Wolves (1 year ago)
I've been a reenactor here in Germany myself, for the medieval time periods, though. Loads of fun! :-) I also love to sew and make old costumes. I've been looking at especially 17th century clothing lately, thinking about attempting to make such a costume. However, I've noticed how lots of pieces of the garments in 17th and 18th century clothing are pinned together with straight pins, as you have done here for your working dress. Perhaps I'll rather opt to use hooks instead (no matter if that's historically accurate or not), because I'm worried about pricking myself with the pins if they slip halfway out of the fabric. Now, does that happen? Do the pins ever come loose, or do you sometimes lose them entirely, when moving about in these clothes a lot? In 17th century clothing, I've also seen the pins being pinned directly into the stays, to keep the gown, which is worn over them, in place. While stays are somewhat stiff, you can still bend in them a bit, and I'd imagine the pins would not stay in place properly then. What's your experience with this?
shockvaluecola (9 months ago)
it helped when you were used to pinning your clothing. as a comparison, zippers can get stuck, and if they're on a jacket you have to feed them in and line them up properly -- a woman from the 18th century would probably struggle with zippered clothing, but we can handle them because we've been doing them from the age of 3 or 4. likewise, women were wearing long skirts and pinned jackets from the age of 3 or 4, so they were good at placement and didn't need to lift skirts to walk most of the time. it would be very uncommon to prick yourself with jacket pins, since you tucked the point in toward the stays, which were too thick to be jabbed through.
Allegory of Wolves (1 year ago)
Interesting! Thank you for the reply! :-) So it does actually happen, that the pins sometimes move, bend, fall out or prick you. I was really wondering, because I can't imagine them all staying in place, when someone, for exapmle, has to work really hard in their clothes, no matter how careful the pins might be placed (though I'm sure that helps). Now I imagine all the maids or farmers wives of old yelling: "Darn, it happened again!" throughout the day. XD
Karen Foster (1 year ago)
I volunteer in clothing like this. I sometimes pin my shortgown or jacket closed and often wear an apron with a bib that is pinned to my clothing. I have occasionally lost or bent pins. I've only rarely jabbed myself when one moved out of place. You learn to place the pins carefully.
Teresa Simpson (1 year ago)
I wonder how women survived the summer with all those layers on?
Another NPC (6 months ago)
The weather was much colder in those days due to the Little Ice Age. Tenperatures would have been around 1 degree lower than today. So count on an average summer tenperature of around 16 to 18 degrees Celcius in the case of the Netherlands. I don't believe that this particular part of the U.S would have been very different.
*•. .•* (9 months ago)
Air con isn’t that common in the UK, not sure if we just adjusted to the temperature differences lol. It’s only in some big stores and businesses that can add it. We only felt we needed air con when had about 3 weeks of heatwave which probably was the temp it is during a normal US summer, 35 Celsius at the most, now it’s 23 Celsius, but back then global warming wasn’t happening like it is now.
Liz (9 months ago)
Europe and America went through a mini Ice Age at the time.
AkashaOConnell (1 year ago)
To add to that, people didn't have air conditioning back then, so their bodies adjusted more naturally to the rise and fall of the temperature during the seasons. Today, we go from an air conditioned house to the the blazing heat of the summer sun and it's a huge contrast that our bodies can't easily adjust to.
Allegory of Wolves (1 year ago)
Those garments back then were made from natural materials, like cotton or linen, which are very breathable. They actually "channel" your body heat out, and they protect somewhat from the outside heat (sun) as well. So even with lots of layers, oftentimes you don't feel much different in them, than you would in jeans and t-shirt. Think of the beduins in the desert, who wrap up in (often several) layers of long robes as well. It really wards off the heat. I used to do medieval reenactment, and I never felt too hot in my dresses, either (I wore ones made from cotton, wool or raw silk). :-)
Maeve Cook (1 year ago)
I liked the butterfly at the end :P Interesting how I randomly found this video - I'm planning to visit Mackinac with my family in July!
Nesseire (1 year ago)
She also did forgot the cushion that coes at her back, over the buttom, so the skirt appears fuller. She had it on the bed.
Renesmee Orlin (1 year ago)
the background sounds like spongebob's i love it haha
Katherine Broberg (1 year ago)
Looking at these traditional outfits I always wonder...How the heck did women breast-feed in these???
nekhmet (1 month ago)
I've seen pictures of stays that had flaps over the breasts, so they could just open those and not take off the whole garment.
JustAnotherPotato (11 months ago)
Katherine Broberg working women would untie their corset, at the front, rich women never breastfed. they hired wet nurses
Karen Foster (1 year ago)
Some stays had laces in the front so they could be opened to nurse.
Zsófi Szücs (1 year ago)
Gosh even putting my clothes on would have been a chore for me those days, and I moan while I'm trying to button my jeans... Although putting my phone in my pocket is always difficult so these clothes have that going for them 😂 And also: if putting clothes on is this much work, I would've never even gotten to the ACTUAL work a woman had to do - raising children, making food, carrying firewood, washing clothes and all the myriad other things they had to do... I don't even do the dishes most days.
kitty winters (1 year ago)
where is this at?
Karen Foster (1 year ago)
She's at Colonial Fort Michilimackinac in Mackinaw City, Michigan. Another Mackinac State Historic Park, Fort Mackinaw, is on Mackinaw Island.
emma j (1 year ago)
Jazmin Grimes Mackinac island in Michigan
RedWolfSaver (1 year ago)
I want to work there now! XD
Lea Zoeph (1 year ago)
This is such an interesting video! Thank you for uploading it! I do have one question: How hot is it under all those layers? Does it get uncomfortable or are you pretty much used to it?
hopegirl518 Ashlynn (1 year ago)
Lea Zoeph Plenty of historical reanacters say it isn't to bad.Keep in mind all of this was made of natural fabrics thar breathed well.
Sumsum HUI [10U03M] (1 year ago)
those pins would absolutely kill me. i am so clumsy. and um.. what did women do again in those days?
Walrus Latte (1 month ago)
+john Mullholand Even the upper middle class women would have been running after kids. Being so rich that you don't have to mind your own children is like being a Kardashian today.
john Mullholand (9 months ago)
Sumsum HUI [10U03M] That would have to do with your social status. If you were a poor woman such as the young lady was demonstrating, you'd have to take care of kids, get the meals, tend the livestock, milking, laundry, etc, much like today. If you were a high class rich lady, not much physical labor at all. You'd have servants for that, after all.
Mustafa (1 year ago)
She looks more decent in her underwear than what most women today wear as casual outerwear
procion2009 (1 year ago)
Oh do me a favor, try to study history a little bit harder. If you did you would see that "sexual objectification" has existed all the way back in time. And that fashion is and has always been for both women and men. If any "blame" is to be placed, place it on the media, which you apperently uses with no concern.
ravenzyblack (1 year ago)
ta daaa- Congratulations you nitwit. You just proved his point.🤦‍♀️😐
Mustafa (1 year ago)
+ta daaa​ You sound like a delinquent child throwing a one line tantrum. Be more constructive and lay off the entertainment. It helps to expand ones attention span. Perhaps you aught to try Gardening?
ta daaa (1 year ago)
oh my god shut the fuck up, grandpa, how are you alive today and still so ignorant
ZoeKitten84 (2 years ago)
Never heard fischu pronounced that way--always heard it said as "fee-shoe" (long I/e sound)
Pntngbrn (2 years ago)
When did women start having buttons on their clothes. Did rich ladies have buttons. I just never knew about the straight pins
shockvaluecola (8 months ago)
buttons are in evidence from at least the mid-middle ages! but the problem is your clothes needed to cope with pregnancy and the return of your figure without you needing new clothes -- you could only afford one or two sets to begin with unless you were very wealthy. so buttons aren't really good for that the way pins are.
Alexis T (8 months ago)
I know too, a lot of womens clothes we ment to be worn during pregnancy too, and are unable to keep buying new clothes. So when it is pinned, you have the ability to grow without needing a new jacket.
Daniel Valencia (8 months ago)
In the Middle Ages you had what was called "the sumptuary laws" which defined who can wear what depending on your status and wealth. It was during this time that garments became more fitting to the body with the invention of the button/ buttonhole. Back then only royalty and nobility could use buttons and button holes and actually the number of buttons were a distinguished mark of your status well up to the early 18th century. However It was only in the middle ages and up to the renaissance that it was actually really enforced by law. Things started to shift and by the 18th century everyone had the same cut essentially, the only thing that would differentiate class would be the materials used in clothing as well as the embellishments. But Even a working class man/ woman could have a huge amount of buttons and button holes on their garments without repercussions. It did of course take more money and time. With women's clothing however even the Queen of France would pin close her bodice's to her stays for practicality, the stomacher would be pined as well sometimes. This was done as to not include buttons that disrupt the overall design of the gown. So pins weren't just used by one class. It depends on the garment. Like Redingotes were fastened with buttons at the front while a robe a la francaise might be pined close. Remember that even monarchs wore the same cut of chemise or undershirt as peasants. Theirs was cleaned with blueing dye to keep it white and was probably very well sewn with the best fabrics and lots of ruffles....more than the common man could afford.
Karen Foster (1 year ago)
Pinning is more adjustable than buttons.
Emma Elizabeth Davis (1 year ago)
Just adding my two cents as someone who sews: making buttonholes without a sewing machine is time consuming & hard! I don't blame them for just pinning to tying their clothes shut instead :)
When you were putting the jacket on, what was the cord that came from the sleeve?
Lillie George (8 months ago)
+Mackinac State Historic Parks THATS AMAZING! I try stuff like holding the ends, but you can't do that with a 3/4 sleeve dress! great tip!
: Since the sleeves on this style of jacket are well-fitted, I use the string to keep my shift sleeve from getting bunched up. It works like a dream. I loop the string through my shift sleeve, hold the string in my hand and then put on the jacket. No bunches. Pro tip.
Shannon Gibney (2 years ago)
I recognize the song in the beginning of this video as being in the "Secret of Roan Inish" soundtrack
deadheadmarie (19 days ago)
It's a slipjig!
TheAutumnSimmer (2 years ago)
i knew it was familiar. Celtic Women plays that song :) It's a popular Irish band. ^_^ check them out if you haven't!
We call it “The Butterfly”, but it likely goes by other names.
Rebekah-Chris S-K (2 years ago)
awesome video thanks for sharing
marie elena (2 years ago)
very beautiful clothes,thanks!
FrostyJake3 (3 years ago)
FrostyJake3 (3 years ago)
Josi Scholes (3 years ago)
this was very helpful. thank you so much!
HorrorBeautyFX (3 years ago)
Where can you get Colonial clothing like the corset ?
Karen Ingram (1 year ago)
Oh forgot to add all in all supplies cost less the $50
Karen Ingram (1 year ago)
I made my own using a pattern that I modified, it called for standard boning and I wanted to use zip ties that I already had on hand the pattern was for partially boned and I wanted them fully boned. I did they by hand when I sat to watch tv and it took me about 2 weeks with a 5 month old taking most of my attention. They weren't hard at all just took some time. I wish I would have gotten a pattern in a size or two smaller though as the stays just fit leaving no room to adjust so keep that in mind. But it was easy enough and I don't see much. Can't wait to make another pair of stays.
They are usually called stays during the 1770s, so if you search for supplies to make stays you will get better results. There are a ton of resources out there to make your own, which is what we usually do. Each pair can take up to 60-70 hours to make by hand, but considerably less if you use a machine for sewing the boning channels. Try atthesignofthegoldenscissors.com to start. Keep in mind that historically, most people would have purchased a large portion of their wardrobe from professional tailors and seamstresses and actually not have made their own garments, especially something as complicated as stays.
HorrorBeautyFX (2 years ago)
Thank you!
Kathryn Rogers (2 years ago)
This is the site that I've ordered corset supplies from. http://corsetmaking.com/category/corset-coutil.html You can find coutil a little bit cheaper on Etsy.
neolexington (4 years ago)
Great information, thank you for sharing! Hope to be up there this summer!
+neolexington Thanks! Hope you're able to visit Colonial Michilimackinac for the tricentennial!

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