photo of Grayhill Farm, reconstructed early 17th century farm

Clothes of the Common People In Elizabethan and Early Stuart England

Volume 22: Women's Garments: Petticoats, Kirtles, Frocks and Safeguards.


Volume 21 covered womens garments with overbodies, those generally worn next out from the shift. This volume covers garments generally worn further out. These can be full length such as the gown, which appears as a form of woman's overcoat, or the cassock which appears to be worn more loosely. Alternatively they can cover only the upper body such as the waistcoat or the jerkin or, outermost of all, the short woman's cloak.

In some cases legislation limited the fabrics or decoration of many of these garments for servants:

“no maidservant or woman servant whatsoever dwelling or shall hereafter dwell within the city of London or the liberties thereof, which shall take any wages or be hired or agree for ...[was not allowed to]... wear any gown, kirtle, waistcoat or petticoat of any kind of silk or stuff mingled with silk, nor any other stuff exceeding the price of 2s 6d [30d] a yard, nor any kersey exceeding the price of 5s [60d] a yard nor broad cloth exceeding the price of 10s [120d] a yard. Nor any lace or guard upon her gown, kirtle, waistcoat or petticoat, or any other garment, save only a cape [collar] of velvet: nor any “fardingale” at all, either little or great, nor any body or sleeves of wyer whalebones or with other stiffening, save canvas or buckram only”


Chapter Title Page
Women's Garments part 2
Gowns 3
Cassocks 20
Waistcoats 30
Jerkins 48
Cloaks 50
Constructing Replicas 55
Series Contents 56

Historical Management Associates Ltd. makes a range of historically-correct fabrics such as frieze, kersey, russet, cotton and say.