Terry Dresbach

Outlander Costume Designer

Claire's stockings

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  • #7748
    Photomom
    Participant

    I love Claire’s stockings with the little ribbon but I have to ask; does that ribbon actually hold them up or do you use something else like elastic? I can never get my stockings to stay up no matter what I use, so I have abandoned them for the dreaded nylons.

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    • #7753
      lawrencji
      Participant

      Those caught my eye too. Love them! But yes, keeping them up, although notice they only showed when she was lying down.
      🙂

      • #7756
        Photomom
        Participant

        Very true, even with a garter belt, which I’m not sure was out then, they still sag. The 18th century ladies must have had a trick to it. Maybe Terry or one of her staff could clue us in. @draiochta14

    • #7755
      rachely
      Participant

      just the tie, no such thing as elastic. but you’ve hit on one of the historic costuming world’s biggest internal fight: to tie above or below the knee. but as with most historical dressing we really haven’t a clue because there isn’t much evidence to go on. you can google it and see the debate.

      i tie mine below the knee because although above the knee is sexier it doesn’t make sense to me; like a martingale collar on a greyhound if you tie above the knee they just fall down since the thigh is bigger than the knee. and silk ribbon doesn’t work b/c it’s too slippery. mine are made of twill tape. but you can buy leather ones that work like a teeny little belt.

      (replying to try and figure out how to stop these stupid notifications by clicking every button in the reply field. I’m hoping if I beg the forum gods they will stop sending me emails for a show i stopped watching.)

    • #7958
      celticlily
      Participant

      There are many resources to help you find an answer to how women kept their stockings up: Nancy Bush (Very well known knitting teacher and author) wrote an excellent book, “Folk Socks, The History and Technique of Hand-Knitted Footwear”. There are also many historic knit groups to consult: The Knitting History Forum (They are on Facebook). Here is a link to their website: http://knittinghistory.co.uk/resources/ There is also an online Historic Knitting group on Yahoo: http://knittinghistory.co.uk/resources/. Richard Rutt, “The Knitting Bishop” wrote an excellent and comprehensive book on the history of knitting, “A History of Hand Knitting”. Finally, the latest contribution to historic knitting is “Knitting Unraveled 1450 – 1983” by Ruth Gilbert. Here is a little intro to the book: Ruth Gilbert’s new book, “Knitting Unravelled 1450-1983”, covers knitting and its uses from medieval to almost modern. It is, uniquely, aimed primarily at re-enactors, living historians, historical interpreters and all involved in period textile demonstrations. Described as “a practical guide” it answers fundamental questions for re-enactors such as “1. Should I be knitting? 2. What should I knit? 3. How should I knit? 4. Does it matter?” It’s obvious that I am a fanatical knitter myself!! I hope this information is helpful. Best wishes!!

      • #7959
        celticlily
        Participant

        Being a knitter, I should also add that “garter stitch” got its name because it was knitted at the top of stockings to hold them up. Ribbing at the top of a stocking does the same thing; it’s generally made on needles at least two-times smaller than those used for the main stocking so that the ribbing or garter stitch grips around the leg. There were no elastic nor garter belts (that I know of), etc. at this time. Ribbons on women’s stockings undoubtedly helped to hold them in place and also added a bit of ornamentation. Traditionally, Scotsmen wear “flashes” (garters) with their kilt hose. These help to keep the socks up as well as being decorative. One other note of interest, in the days before machine knitting and the industrial revolution, wearing stockings was a sign of being well-off. Not everyone could afford the wool to make them. All stockings and other knitted garments were all made by hand and not readily available in shops. The number of clothes a person owned was also a sign of wealth. Poorer people wore the same clothes everyday because they couldn’t afford more than just one outfit. As an example of this phenomenon: there is a pair of trousers from approximately the 18th century in a Swedish museum that is basically all patches and no original material left!

        • This reply was modified 7 years ago by celticlily.
      • #7964
        Draper
        Participant

        Wow! Thank you! There’s a lot of information there, I’ll have to get reading those sources you’ve given. You wouldn’t happen to know anything about ‘clocking’/’chevening’ stockings, would you? I can find loads of finished examples of embroidered stockings in museums but not much written down at all about it.
        Cassie

    • #7987
      celticlily
      Participant

      Here is an answer to how women in the 18th century held up their stockings. I will also provide a link to the blog on Historic Costuming.

      Link: http://augustintytar.blogspot.fr/2011/09/late-18th-century-stockings-2011.html

      zui30. joulukuuta 2012 klo 8.30
      Thank you
      And how to call the things with which you hold the stockings? Did they use the same things in the 18th century? Because it seems to me that they had not elastic in this time.

      Vastaa
      Vastaukset

      Augustintytär30. joulukuuta 2012 klo 9.48
      They are called garters and they were most commonly long ribbons you tied around your legs. Elastic garters came in late 18th century but instead of rubber elastic, they were made from metal springs. Like these: http://coraginsburg.com/antique_accessories.htm#garters

    • #7990
      celticlily
      Participant

      Have someone make you some hand-knitted stockings (Be very, very good and knit-worthy!!!) 🙂 I promise, you will never buy ready-made stockings at the store again.

      Best wishes,

      Celticlily

    • #8045
      Draper
      Participant

      Hello Celticlily

      Hadn’t logged in until today and was amazed to see all the resources you’ve listed. It’s very generous and I shall be busy for a long time making my way through them. Thank you, I really do appreciate it. It’s far more than I’ve struggled to find over the years and I’ve asked (pestered) lots of people including museum curators.

      Had a look at http://knittinghistory.co.uk/publications/knitting-unravelled-1450-1983/ for Ruth Gilbert’s book and lo and behold there’s a mention of Kentwell! Never been there but family friends went each summer through the 80’s and if ever there’s a place to get introduced to historical recreations in Britain then that’s the one. I was bemused and then fascinated by their attention to detail while listening to discussions about why certain colours of linen were okay and others weren’t. Maybe one day I’ll spend the summer there as as a wandering vagrant or strumpet – complete with raggedy edges and stunningly beautiful knitted and clocked stockings. Fingers crossed!

      Thank you again, Cassie

      • #8048
        celticlily
        Participant

        Hi, Cassie!

        You are most welcome 🙂 I have undoubtedly overwhelmed you. Just have fun with it! I really like your idea of dressing up as a vagrant or strumpet (though that could pose some serious problems!) complete with beautiful stockings!! What about a traveling entertainer/minstrel/gypsy? Can you recite poetry or sing songs? Maybe tell fortunes? Please post some pictures of your costume and adventures, if you do go wandering in Kentwell – or anywhere else you choose. I, and I am sure others, would love to see them (especially photos of your stockings!!). Take good care. Please don’t hesitate to post or message me if I can help you with anything knitting related. It’s my passion and I am always glad to help.

        Warmest best wishes,

        Mary (Celticlily)

      • #8049
        Draper
        Participant

        I’m afraid it will probably be a case of ‘if wishes were horses then beggars would ride’ – couldn’t live further away from Kentwell now if I tried (Australia). Probably spend my summer hiding in the bakehouse if I did go, stubbornly pretending to be mute and making countless loaves!

      • #8058
        celticlily
        Participant

        Ha!Ha!Ha!Ha! Hiding in the bake house pretending to be mute….. Oh, I LOVE it!!!! Australia must have something like Kentwell. Have you researched it? Would you consider starting something like it yourself? Maybe just dress up and wander about anyway….:) There is a fun poem I remember about the raggle-taggle gypsies, oh: a lady of the upper class leaves her wealthy husband and comfortable life to go live with the gypsies. Are you familiar with the British folk group, Steeleye Span (They were very popular in the 1970’s)? They put that poem to music. It’s wonderful! In anycase, make yourself a fantastic, awesome pair of 18th century stockings and WEAR them out in public! You are sure to start some fun conversations 🙂 Take good care! Please post pictures of your stockings!! I really want to see them!! (I’ll have to make a pair and I will post mine!)

        Warmest best wishes,

        Mary (Celticlily)

      • #8063
        celticlily
        Participant

        Hi, Cassie! Would you be interested in doing a knit-along with me? We could knit some 18th century stockings together. Perhaps there are others who follow this blog who would be interested, too. I need to finish a couple of projects I already have on my needles, but knitting a pair of vintage stockings would be very fun! Let me know if you are interested.

        Best wishes,

        Mary (Celticlily)

    • #8134
      Draper
      Participant

      Hi Mary, I really can’t start any new projects, much as I’m tempted.

      Yes certainly are re-enactment societies in Australia. Possible to be a Viking, Roman or medieval damsel etc in the middle of an Australian summer (no cold draughts – always a positive) but think I got ruined by seeing Kentwellian attention to detail. The National Trust people dress their staff up every now and then but no corsets allowed so the clothes hang wrong. Apparently corsets aren’t allowed under Occ Health & Safety rules (?!) Here’s a link for Kentwell in case you want a look: http://www.kentwell.co.uk/events/tudor The clothes look a lot cleaner in these photos than I remember!

      And I do remember the raggle taggle gypsy song! Remember Steeleye Span too but only their Christmas song, didn’t realise they’d sung the Raggle Taggle gypsies too. I’ll have to haul out the vinyl and have a listen.

      Take care, Cassie.

      • #8135
        Draper
        Participant

        Found it on ‘All around my hat’: ‘Black Jack Davy’!

      • #8136
        celticlily
        Participant

        Cassie, you are a woman after my heart!- a knitter and a Steeleye Span fan!! 🙂 “All Around My Hat” is a wonderful album (All their albums are wonderful albums!).

        No problem on the knit-along; maybe we can do it at a later date. It would be fun to knit a pair of genuine 18th century stockings. Mara Riley has a wonderful, and free, pattern on her website. I have many projects going on that I need to finish first. Thank you for the link to Kentwell. I will definitely take a look at it. It seems a little over-the-top to me that the Australia Occ Health and Safety doesn’t allow corsets. Corsets in their day DID wreak havoc on a woman’s body (drawn so tight that rib bones punctured vital organs, etc.). It just depends on how tightly the ties are drawn in and modern women prefer to be comfortable and not just sofa ornaments.

        Please stay in touch! Let me know if you want to start a knit-along sometime. If you do decide to just wander around in costume (tell people you’re just off the boat!! 🙂 ), please, PLEASE, post pictures!! That would be so much fun! You take care, too!!

        Warmest best wishes,

        Mary (Celticlily)

      • #8144
        celticlily
        Participant

        Dear Cassie,

        Thank you very much for the link to Kentwell; I really enjoyed looking at that! By any chance, are you a “Poldark” fan? The BBC has made a new 2015 version and I am looking forward to it. It will air where I live a little later this month. Just in case you are a fan, here is a link to an excellent documentary about the original series that aired in the mid-1970s with excellent interviews with the writers and actors.

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g83FJkqAxSY

        There are some very interesting parallels with the “Outlander” series, both in the stories themselves as well as in the creation of the two shows.

        One last remark, as beautiful and well-researched as the “Outlander” costumes are, did it bother you as much as it bothered me to see chunky modern knits on Claire and some of the other characters? Chunky knits did not exist in that time period; everything was done in very fine gauges. It made me twitch a little… I will probably be critcized for being too persickety, but the knitting-style just doesn’t fit with the time period. It would be like seeing Jaime dressed in a white t-shirt and combat boots with his kilt!

        Take care and best wishes,

        Mary (Celticlily)

      • #8148
        Draper
        Participant

        Ah. Think I might know some of the ones you’re talking about, Mary. A short shawl and a snood/cowl – both worn by Claire and in sort of dark greeny brown colours, loose knitted on big needles? Made me twitch too. Noticed them and thought, I like them but didn’t know they did that sort of thing then. Never seen anything like them in museum collections, books or paintings from that time. (Maybe they did make some things that way but it hasn’t survived, don’t know. Or maybe just haven’t seen any.)

        Always thought Scottish knitted garments then were usually made close knitted, lots of stiches to the inch, sometimes fulled or felted after completion. Thought the whole point was that they were warm, hardwearing and weatherproof for wind and rain. So yes, I did a double take for a couple of things!

        I’ve put in a couple of links you might be interested in. The first is a paper written ages ago about the clothing found on an 18th century body discovered in a peat bog on the Isle of Lewis in the 60s. They did a detailed analysis of how the clothes had been made including a man’s knitted blue bonnet – in case you’re looking to make an authentic 18th century one. In case the link doesn’t work the paper is by Helen Bennett ‘A murder victim discovered: clothing and other finds from an early 18th century grave on Arnish Moor, Lewis’. (Shows up on a google search).

        http://archaeologydataservice.ac.uk/archiveDS/archiveDownload?t=arch-352-1/dissemination/pdf/vol_106/106_172_182.pdf

        The other link is to the National Museum of Scotland and it shows the bonnet described in the paper in really clear detail. It’s in no way definitive but it’s the sort of everyday knitting that might have been common at that time.
        http://www.nms.ac.uk/explore/search-our-collections/collection-item/?item_id=616061&search=description=’bonnet’&startfrom=1

        I’ll keep an eye out for Poldark. Thank you once again! (Liked the comment about combat boots and white tshirt too!)

      • #8150
        celticlily
        Participant

        Hi, Cassie!

        Thank you so much for the links; I will definitely look at those. They both appear very, very interesting! I am nerdy and like that sort of thing. You are absolutely right: knitting in the 18th century was all fine gauge. Mara Riley has some information all about that and needle sizes on her website (She’s a gold mine of information and has links to more sites and books, as well.) I’m glad I’m not the only one bothered by modern knits being mixed in with period costumes. It just took away from the believability of the production – which is, on the whole, excellent. (I’m glad you liked my t-shirt and combat boots comment!)

        I do hope “Outlander” will be recognized at some of the award ceremonies, but I know it will face some serious competition from “Downton Abbey” (I am also a HUGE fan of “Downton” – the writing is superb and the cast is fantastic, but Maggie Smith is my favorite! How can she not be! Her one-line quips are fantastic and so dead-on! 🙂 ) and from the new “Poldark”. I just learned that Aidan Turner was cast without even submitting a screen test! They just wanted him and contacted his agent directly. From the preview, I can see why, he’s great in that role. I’m not so sure that 18th century men had such well developed, beautiful bodies as Jamie Fraser and Ross Poldark, but they are nice to stare at ;). Their beautiful bodies keep the ladies tuning in – Good for ratings :). You probably can access Masterpiece Theater (PBS in America) and the BBC on your computer and watch it online. Here is a link to the “Poldark” preview:

        The BBC is also airing another great show, “Jonathon Strange and Mr. Norrell”. It has just begun airing here in the U.S. and it’s fantastic! It’s about two magicians during the Napoleonic age and they want to bring magic back to England and use it to help defeat Napoleon. However, not all goes well… It’s based on an excellent novel (which I have but have not read yet) by Susanna Clarke. I’ve seen the first episode and it’s wonderful. Another serious contender at the award shows. This is a link to the BBC America with the first episode loaded, if you are interested:

        http://www.bbcamerica.com/jonathan-strange-and-mr-norrell/

        I really enjoy classic literature and historic dramas. Thomas Vinterberg made a new version of “Far From the Madding Crowd” with Carrie Mulligan and I would really like to see it. However, John Schlesinger’s 1967 version with Julie Christie, Alan Bates, Peter Finch, and Terence Stamp and a wonderful ensemble of actors will forever remain one of my favorite films. I love the way John Schlesinger uses his camera to make the viewer see through the eyes of the various characters: Joseph Poorgrass is driving home drunk and everything is blurred and the cow lows are like fog horns…. or when Mr. Boldwood first falls in love with Bathsheba at the Corn Exchange and everything moves in slow motion – it’s pure genius and all pre-CGI. Directors, producers and studios don’t make movies like that now. I think the world moves too fast these days to appreciate that film and how great it is. One critic recently said that Schlesinger’s version is dull. Oh, that sent me to the computer to fire off and email telling him how WRONG he was!!!! 🙂

        Well, I’ve blathered on for quite some time. I hope I haven’t bored you. It’s nice to find someone to talk with who shares some of my interests. Please, if you find any more interesting links, do post them. I would love to see them. Australia must be having milder weather now that it’s winter for you. When I was in high school, I had a friend who was an exchange student from Australia; she was from New South Wales. Her mother once wrote to her that she had to find a new pen in order to finish her letter as all the ink in the one she was using had evaporated! I live in Michigan, and as it was our winter at the time, I told her to write back that she had to change pens because her ink had frozen :). Sadly, we have lost touch.

        Take good care and warmest best wishes,

        Mary (Celticlily)

      • #8219
        celticlily
        Participant

        Hi, Cassie!

        Hopefully, you will read this before the end of July: here is a great resource on historic costume from the Knitting History Forum. They are offering many article for free (they usually aren’t) until the end of the month. Enjoy! http://knittinghistory.co.uk/publications/costume-journal-free-access/ Tell me what you think.

        warmest best wishes,

        Mary (Celticlily)

    • #8220
      AllisonL
      Participant

      Hi, another fellow obsessed historical re-enactor and knitter here. Regarding the earlier comment about Claire’s chunky knits, yes, many other people were bothered by that, it created an online historical knitter’s revolt so loud and angry that Terry herself addressed it. I don’t know if her comments are still somewhere on this site, but it was a pretty huge at the time. It started when the first few episodes aired in August 2014.

      • #8233
        celticlily
        Participant

        Thank you, Allison! 🙂 It’s so nice to meet another obsessed knitter (Yeah, us!). I had heard about the Knitter’s Revolt (I LOVE that term! He, he 🙂 We are, afterall, armed with pointed sticks that can do considerable dammage…). I’ll look for Terry Dresbach’s comments on the site. The real problem lies in that Ms. Dresbach was so careful and precise in her research of the sewn clothing and so careless about the knitwear. Unfortunately, knitting, and even more so for crochet, don’t receive the respect they should. Generally, those arts are dismissed. The chunky knits just took away from the believability of the story and of Claire actually living in the 18th century. You have probably already perused my very lengthy list of historical resources above, but the one you REALLY, REALLY want to look at as a serious historical knitter is Mara Riley’s site. It is a goldmine of information and has wonderful, generously free patterns: stockings, mitts, a Scot’s bonnet…..
        It’s very nice to meet you! Would you be interested in doing an 18th century women’s stockings knit-a-long? I can’t begin it right away (too many UFOs on the needles already), but perhaps in the future? Let me know if you are interested.

        Take care and warmest best wishes,

        Mary (Celticlily)

        • This reply was modified 6 years, 10 months ago by celticlily.
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