Sunday, 20 May 2012


   A French working shirt for everyday use, beside an English smock!  Was the English one kept for high days and holidays only?  The elaborate smocking on the front and back were works of skill and art and must surely have been only for 'best'.   There is more smocking on the cuffs at the wrists and the linen is fine and white.  They say that these were known as round collar shirts, with one side to the front all week and the other clean side turned round on Sundays.    I have a picture painted by my Welsh grandmother of my father and his brother dressed up in long smocks in a country landscape with sheep nearby.  I have an idea this was a romantic vision and that this was not a common sight in North Wales;  The Ladies of Llangollen are often accused of reviving and inventing old Welsh costume for the benefit of ladies who liked to dress up for social events, concerts and the like;  it consisted of checked woollen shawls, frilly white blouses, 'swallow-tail' striped black and red tweed jackets, red flannel petticoats and tweed skirts and of course, the distinctive tall hats, with a lacy frill round the face.  I have owned and sold several of these costumes, complete with little black lace-up boots; and my Welsh grandmother used to employ a harpist (called Telinores - spelling?) to come and play for parties at her home above Tremadoc, dressed accordingly.


  1. wonderful night shirts, and they always seem to be so small wouldn't fit a good size woman like me LOL

  2. This is an interesting bit of information. The garments are wonderful and beautiful. The workmanship is above description. TFS.

  3. I have several plain French shirts (no embroidery, but usually all hand stitched which were made for broad chested men and might be good night shirts for larger ladies -- they are only £20/25, pure linen and in good condition.They are outsize and cut as nightdresses with short sleeve and a little decoration round the neck. Hope this helps. Elizabeth