Tuesday, May 17, 2016

The HSM 2016: Challenge No. 6: Travel

For the June Historical Sew Monthly Challenge (Due the last day of the month. Ish.), the subject of "Travel" was chosen; Make a garment for travel, or inspired by traveling. The original idea stated "Clothes and accessories worn or useful during travel, on foot, riding, in a carriage, on a ship.”.  A rather broad, and possibly tricky theme.  Throughout history--more in some periods than others--special clothing or accessories might have been used for traveling, by carriage (or automobile), boat, foot, or horse; a number of these items could overlap with the Protection Challenge (March).  You might also get ideas from The Great Outdoors challenge of 2014.

For definition from the OED--which was really, not helpful--the primary definition of Travel was "The action of traveling or journeying"....very helpful indeed--eventually I saw the definition of "to move: to pass from one point or place to another".  So, to me, riding apparel would count as traveling clothing....but apparel specifically for the hunt would not (just as an example).

Unfortunately for those who tend towards medieval and earlier clothing, special clothing for traveling didn't come about until later--maybe the 18th century--but there are still some ideas like cloaks and hood, packs and bags, and other practical items. In the case of /very/ early periods, such as Roman, you might interpret it as the changes necessary in your wardrobe to handle the change in climate after moving to the frontier of Britain.

Things which come to mind for the challenge are, of course, specific clothing for riding, cycling, or driving.  The clothing or uniforms worn by sailors, or themed on it.  Pilgrims, explorers, pioneers, and stuff to carry your....stuff when traveling (whether long distance, or to the next village to sell your product).  I suppose even tents would qualify, if you feel froggy.  Or, if those are too....practical...for you, taking a cruise or ocean-liner does count as travel--I'll leave that at that, for you to figure out.

So, without further ado, and in no particular order, some examples I and your other mods thought of.  Further examples from each may be found in the pinterest board I created specifically for this challenge: Travel HSM Board


When the automobile came about (and a while before--you start to see them in the 1880s, and maybe a couple decades earlier), special overclothing was needed to protect your gown or suit from the dust of the road; this was typically a fairly plain, long jacket or overgown, of a naturally coloured linen--hence the name.  On the menswear front of related garments, there are also things like Chauffeurs or driving coats--typically long and warm uniforms.

1860s Sleeved linen cloak, found in the Metropolitan Museum.  The capelet and hood are both removable, and there is a small, scalloped collar lying flat against the cloak.

1877-1880 Linen Duster

A men's duster from the 1880s (supposedly) sold by Augusta Auctions.

Maybe a full motoring ensemble, including duster, hood, broad hat, and goggles will do. This example is from 19010 and resides in the FIDM Museum.

And this example in raw silk (see?  I found you a use for that raw silk we've been buying), with a satin driving hood, and purple dyed fur trim on the goggles.  Not sure where this resides, but photo is from HERE, along with a couple other examples of driving attire.

As I said....chauffeurs and professional drivers often had specific coats and uniforms of heavy wool.  This one was made by Patterson and Co. in 1925, but I have seen examples of driver's overfrock coats in an 1890s drafting manual as well (haven't looked for earlier yet).  It resides in the Met.


For those who prefer the medieval periods, perhaps Pilgrims clothing (or accessories) will meet the requirements for the challenge.  Common things you see are longer, loosely robe-like garments of wool, hoods and hats, costrels (leather water bottles), and the distinctive satchels and walking sticks (with knobs on), and not much of a difference between men's and women's clothing beyond hem length.  For more images (a lot more, assuming non-broken links), try the Larsdatter page for Pilgrim's Clothing.

 The Church of "Madonna del Parto" in Spain, and possibly from the 1200s.

These two are from a 14th century something or other.  The page says "La légende des pèlérins de Saint-Jacques : pélérin   Regnault André (20e siècle)"

Note the satchels, and hooded cloaks, which are pretty much only seen on pilgrims--travelers. Not sure of the source--it isn't stated, and a reverse image search didn't turn it up.  But it's from the later 1300s.

This one, on the other hand, I know more about, since I wrote an article on the image.  You can clearly see a costrel around the boy's neck, and a different form of satchel known as a shepherds bag.  The older man also has a different form of satchel, which is known as a fassing, I believe.  They were used up until recently in Sweden, but I will look at them later.  Folio 102r, in Le Livre des faiz monseigneur St. Loys.

 Santa Croce from an altarpiece for a Dominican cloister in Augsburg, by Hans Burgkmair the Elder.

Sailing or Nautical Clothing:

Those too bland for you?  How about Sailing or Nautical themed clothing?  Not only is sailing a quintessential form of travel, but often the nautical themed dresses were worn for a day at the seaside....which, odds are, would require traveling to get to.  For a whole lot more examples, The Dreamstress has a pinterest board devoted to them HERE.

 1920s Middy Tops from a Sears Catalogue.

A lovely, though slightly battered, 1880s young lady's walking dress, with the blue and white nautical theme.  The trim is eyelet (perfect for the Holes Challenge!), and the rest is described as blue chambray by Augusta Auctions.

An early bathing dress, again with a nautical theme, from the late 1890s.  And it's even cotton, rather than wool! From the Met.

An absolutely gorgeous, embroidered, sailor's jumper (menswear), believed to be from the 1860s by the auction site (James D. Julia), and is considered to be "folk art" done on ship.

 Or, for something completely different, you could scrimshaw a bone busk with nautical scenes, as in the case of these from the first half of the 1800s.  From HERE.

 Or we could go earlier, with this woodcut of an English sailor from the end of the Elizabeth I's reign.  He's wearing galligaskins, a cossack (or Dutch coat), and a thrummed hat--a quintessentially item for 1500s English sailors.
You could also look at other hats worn by sailors in later periods.

Riding Apparel (but not Hunting!):

Of course, riding clothing is certainly an option.  Again, you don't see riding specific clothing until the late 1600s--much before that and you would wear normal clothing.

 1770s Riding Habit, English.  From the V and A Collections.

 1827, Riding habit in cotton from the Museum of London.

A French Fashion plate, from 1808.

Guide Books?:

An interesting thought I had was that there is the existence of what is essentially a 1500s guide book to local fashions.  The only one I can think of is a German example, Kostüme und Sittenbilder des 16. Jahrhunderts aus West- und Osteuropa, Orient, der Neuen Welt und Afrika - BSB Cod.icon. 361.  A book of fashions from around the world--both accurate, inaccurate, and completely imaginary (drawings of Monopods and such are included).  They are labeled, but I am having difficulties reading the writing.

If you know of any other examples of this kind of book, from any period pre-WWII, let me know in the comments at the bottom of the page.

 Cologne (according to someone else)

 Maybe Poland?
I have no idea....Brunswick?

Explorers and Travelers:

One of the ideas The Dreamstress came up with was to look at images of explorers for lady's clothing--these are a few that I found.  One of the things I found--especially in Middle Eastern regions--was that they would at least occasionally adopt local dress....even local men's clothing on occasion.

 Ida Pfeiffer dressed for a collection foray with an insect net and a specimen container slung over her shoulder.  Either 1850, or 1860.

A photograph taken by the New York newspaper to promote Nellie Bly's 1889 attempt to turn Around the World in 80 Days by Jules Verne into reality.  Note the traveling bag and practical clothing.

Gertrude Bell, in 1909, visiting archaeological sites in Iraq.

Cycling Clothing:

Especially once the "safety bicycle" was invented in the 1880s, you start to see clothing specifically designed for riding.  These typically consisted of either a shorter skirt (often divided) or bloomers.
 1896 Cycling suit in wool, consisting of a split skirt, gaiters, and a bodice which seems to have some interesting engineering going on for movement (I'm looking at those elbows!).  The Met.

And a fully bifurcated (love that word) pair of cycling bloomers.  1902, and at the Met.

A plate from 1894 of a party of male and female cyclists.  The Met (didn't find the source page, but that is what is claimed).

Stuff to Carry Your Junk In:

And of course, if you're going to travel, you do need a way to carry your stuff.  This might be full on baggage, a sturdy carry-on bag (carpet bag, anyone?), or how you carry your goods to a market.

This (and the image below) are of a fassing bag--essentially a tube with an opening in the center, and carried over the shoulders.  There is an excellent article on this piece on Whilja's Corner (where I snagged the above image).  The image is of a Traveling salesman in 1912.

 Martebo Church, Gotland, Sweden.  14th Century.

 Naturally, you would need some way to carry your headwear--the blasted things are so delicate they need their own boxes.  These were often bentwood or pasteboard, and could be made or decorated at home.  1825-50, Winterthur Museum.

An then there's this lovely, leather example for a men's topper.  The Met, 1840s.

 A watercolour of a man selling "bonnet boxes". 1804, by William Marshall Craig.  The V and A museum.

Or, of course, there's the famous carpet bag.  These were made on a wood and/or metal framework with the odd ends of imported knotted carpeting (usually silk on a heavy linen ground).  This example is from 1865 and is in the V and A museum.  Always kinda wanted one of them, personally--that or the similar, leather, Gladstone bag.

 And, if you are traveling, a portable sewing kit--a hussif or housewife--might be a useful thing to carry for working on handiwork, or making repairs.  Not just carried by women but also soldiers up through WWI.
1780-1800, Winterthur Museum.
Still really need to make myself one as well--thing is, I would have to go out and buy scraps (my stash tends towards solids, drab plaids, and similar). 

Late 1700's.  MFA.

By no means is this the limit of themes--a couple others that come to mind are pioneers on the Oregon trail, or similar Migratory travels; or maybe an outfit based on the impressions of foreigners traveling to your country (I'm thinking of that 16th century Japanese silk painting of the Portuguese, personally).  So if you aren't certain whether your brilliant idea qualifies, contact myself or another moderator of the HSM group--personally, I'm fairly easy going, but it it isn't obvious....I want you to argue your logic ;) .  Feel free to link your blog post in the comments when you finish your own HSM Travel Challenge project.

© John Frey, 2016. The Author of this work retains full copyright for this material. Permission is granted to make and distribute verbatim copies of this document for non-commercial private research or educational purposes provided the copyright notice and this permission notice are preserved on all copies.  


  1. Brann, that was epic! What a great post. Something for everyone, from elaborate outfits to simple bags. I'd never heard of a fassing bag. Very sensible and easy to make, if a bit greedy of fabric. The same thing in tiny crocheted form was used for money purses over quite a long period. You could use your fassing bag as a kind of saddle bag for horses, too.

    I love Ida Pfeiffer hunting insects - she's got layers nailed! And that embroidered jumper for a sailor is a real find.

    Lynne McDonald

  2. I think I've also seen such pictures of different local costumes from around the same time by none other than Albrecht Dürer. Alas, I've forgotten where. :P
    And there's an album of watercolour pictures to the same effect from cca mid-18th century in the Bunka Gakuen library, on whose site you can see high-res pictures of it. Lots of apparently Dutch costumes in that one...

  3. I interpreted the theme I think more like the "guide book"... our SCA royalty picked a number of different places for a "royal progress" and I took one of the locations on that progress to inspire my costume - so I'd have something thematic to wear at an event. https://dawnsdressdiary.wordpress.com/2016/06/22/june-2016-historical-sew-monthly-ottoman-costume/

    1. Interesting interpretation. I've done that as well--the main reason I have a full suit of 14th Cen. Russian is because I was captain for a Russian personaed Princess.

  4. And mine is finally done and published. I went with the planned 1860s Canvas Topcoat.