Monday, October 22, 2012

The Tailor's New Apprentice

Monday, October 22, 2012
Isabella reporting:

There's always something new in the Margaret Hunter shop in Colonial Williamsburg. This time what's new isn't a gown or hat, but a new apprentice tailor. Michael McCarty. left, joined the staff in August as a member of Colonial Williamsburg's historic trades program. Already a skilled modern costumer, he is now learning the craft of a tailor in much the same way as his 18th century counterparts would have done, using only traditional methods, materials, and tools.

Under the expert guidance of tailor Mark Hutter, Michael is beginning with relatively simple projects. (He is taking Mark's measurements, right, the way a Georgian tailor would measure his customer.) Most recently Michael has completed several men's linen shirts. His next project will be a sleeved waistcoat (we'd think of it as a light jacket), made from the striped worsted wool on the counter beside him. The body of the waistcoat will be lined with wool flannel or fustian, with the sleeves lined with linen. He's planning red-and-white striped death's head buttons to match, too.

In the Nerdy History Girl equivalent to red-carpet interrogation, I can also report what Michael was wearing today: a linen shirt, waistcoat, and nightcap. His breeches were white sheepskin leather, in a style much like these of buckskin. Around his throat was a blue printed cotton kerchief, patterned with a resist print and imported from India, exactly as an 18th c. apprentice with an eye for fashion would have worn.

Photographs copyright 2012 Susan Holloway Scott.


Samantha said...

thank you for such a lovely write up on mike! and what great pictures! i'm so glad he got a chance to meet you, and i must admit i'm sad i didn't get a chance to do the same when i was interning in the shop this summer. hope to make your acquaintance in the future!


Isabella Bradford/Susan Holloway Scott said...

Thank YOU, Samantha, for the kind words. I'm sorry I missed meeting you, too - I'm sure our paths will cross in the future. All (historic dress) paths lead to the Margaret Hunter shop. :)

And congratulations to you and Mike!

Connie said...

So glad you are featuring Colonial Williamsburg. I lived in Yorktown, Virginia most of my life and know Williamsburg very well. The history of the area is wonderful and it's always so great to see so many people visit the area to learn about it. Lots of great restaurants too that give people an idea of the food that was served back in Colonial times.

Anonymous said...

Whatever the era, the girls go crazy for a sharp-dressed man. Michael is learning all the right stuff!

Isabella Bradford/Susan Holloway Scott said...

Must add that if you fancy Mr. McCarty's indigo spot'd resist neck-handkerchief, it's available from Burnley & Trowbridge:

carolyntbj said...

Thanks for the dress notes on the fashionable apprentice! :-) Must admit that my first thought on closer inspection of the pictures was "Mark's cut his hair!" (last I saw his braid was waist-length) and the second thought was "Check out his feet! Such excellent 18th c. posture/foot positioning!)

Love the blog!

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