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Like nearly all 18th c women's clothing, regardless of cost, Abby's gown is pinned closed in front (see detail, left). While men's clothing fastened with buttons and ties, women pinned their clothes together with straight pins; the points of the pins were safely buried in the multiple layers of gown and stays. Pinning was not only a neat finish, but also offered an endless, practical range of adjustments to a woman's changing body.

How to make a corset, including using heavy-duty zip ties for the boning. (Brilliant! Stiff yet flexible both front-to-back and side-to-side, holds up well, cheap & readily available!)

from V and A Collections


1750-1800. The shirt was an item of underwear in the 18th century. Its purpose was to protect the outer clothing from the body in an age when daily bathing was not a common practice. Shirts were purchased in the dozens if the owner could afford them, so that a clean one could be worn every day. They were usually made of linen, a washable and durable fabric.

Woman's quilted waistcoat or jumps, in linen embroidered in red silk with a fish-scale like pattern, figures wearing turbans, cranes and floral sprays, low v-neckline at front, broad shoulder straps with eyelets for fastening front to back, sleeveless, centre front fastening with three linen ties, hip-length with flared skirt with slit openings at each side and centre back: possibly English, c. 1730 - 1760.