Friday, July 20, 2018

Friday Video: 18thC Working Women in Summer

Friday, July 20, 2018

Susan reporting,

Here's another short video from our friends at Crow's Eye Productions, featuring two young rural women from 18thc Britain and how they dress for their day as harvest workers. I have to admit that they don't seem to be working particularly hard, but then they'll be working from dawn to dusk, so maybe they're pacing themselves.

Thanks to producer/costume designer Pauline Loven for sharing with us!

If you received this post via email, you may be seeing an empty space or a black box where the video should be. Click here to view the video.


Pauline Loven said...

Thank you for sharing our short video, and no they are not working hard! We couldn’t damage the crop in anyway so we were limited as to what we could do. The hay harvest was due to be brought in by machine a few days later, and we couldn’t even film the raking as it was to be baled, but I hope they get the gist!

Unknown said...

Thanks for sharing!

Lucy said...

What I find interesting is that their petticoats are noticeably shorter than those of more formally dressed women--at least for the early part of the 18th century, before skirts got a bit shorter in general. This would have practical, of course, but it's not a detail usually pointed out. Additionally, they are not wearing hoops of any sort.

Pauline, if you're still reading this thread, what sort of underlayers were used here? I know that one or more layers of quilted or stiffened under-petticoats could be used to add shape to a silhouette, but I don't see a hint of much except a shift, and perhaps a dickey and single under-petticoat.

Thanks for a good view of the clothing, and to Loretta and Susan for sharing!

Pauline Loven said...

Hi Lucy - working women kept their petticoat hems short enough so they could ascend stairs with their arms full and not risk tripping.

We experimented a bit with the clothing for the film, the women just wore shift, stays, two linen petticoats, apron etc. We didn’t work them hard as we couldn’t actually cut the crop, but we did interview them afterwards to find out how comfortable they were in the conditions ( a typical English July day) and they felt just right.

Michael Henchard said...


If you would like to read a realistic and truthful account of women at work in the hay-making, and what they wore, try chapter 14 of 'Tess of the d'Urbervilles'. Thomas Hardy would have witnessed these scenes many times in his childhood and adolescence near his home.


Two Nerdy History Girls. Design by Pocket