Friday Photo: Headless Hester

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Our Museum Store recently received a redesign and a mannequin that had been in the store modelling a tricorn hat no longer fit. So it has been repurposed as a way to show children participating in our educational programs how colonial ladies wore their clothing. I christened her Headless Hester, and started planning a new outfit for her, but in the meantime she had to wear something. So this is what Headless was garbed in:

While Headless does look lovely in her lace-trimmed gown, it is not at all accurate to the 18th century. So now, Headless looks like this:

While this is quite immodest for an 18th-century lady, as she is only wearing her underwear, it is more accurate than her previous attire. Headless is wearing a shift, stays, a pocket, and an underpetticoat. The shift would be worn closest to the body, to protect her clothes from her bodily oils, and would serve as both underwear and nightgown. The stays come next, to give her body the proper conical shape and to support the layers of clothing on top. Headless’s stays were hand-sewn by one of our volunteers using materials and techniques straight out of the 1700’s. Headless’s pocket is tied on over her stays; it would not usually show over her petticoat, but I wanted you to be able to see it in its silken, hand-sewn glory. I made it myself, and it’s pretty rare for me to sew anything by hand… Finally, Headless has on an underpetticoat so that her skirts will have the appropriate volume. I have more plans for Headless’s wardrobe, so maybe someday she’ll be wearing more than just 18th century underwear!

Posted on Apr 20, 2012 in by Hammond-Harwood House



Hammond-Harwood House

The mission of the Hammond-Harwood House Association is to preserve and to interpret the architecturally significant Hammond-Harwood House Museum and its collection of fine and decorative arts, and to explore the diverse social history associated with its occupants, both free and enslaved, for the purposes of education and appreciation.
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