Linking your favorite traveling artists across the globe
Shirts are a very important piece of equipment for the re-enactor and good shirts are hard to find. When I say good shirts, I mean good thick quality material that will endure the multiple abuses that we "the re-enactor" will put them through. And on top of that we need that material in the right color and pattern 18th. Thank god we have good references concerning the materials that were available at the time. A number of good sources showed us original samples of venders. Of this time period, there used to be a number of good books out there on the market, but most of them are out of print.
Nevertheless, I personally think that most of you out there are limiting yourselves way too much on your choice of colors and patterns. A lot of good and beautiful stuff were out there and we know that as a fact. So look around and go see those good sutlers, and don't be afraid to buy some screaming material, especially if you portray a French Canadian. We like screaming colors like mustard mix with reddish and a lot of stripes. By the way we can document that the trade shirt were striped blue in the 18th century. We do not mention white as a color but we know that it was white and blue for the thickness of the stripes. Let's look at what was around back then. We found that fine and larger lines were around. I personally go with a thinner line it gives a nice finish and we definitely know it was around.
In the 18th century, the King wanted something that would stand up to the colonial abuse, so it had to be reinforced; 2 gussets at the neck level, 2 under the arms, 2 at the bottom of the shirts wear it split and 2 pieces of material doubling the top of the shoulder. For the “company franche de la marine”, they had a hand-sown heart at the opening of the neck. All of those reinforcements take a lot of time to sow, but give it the right look and durability that we are looking for.
Back in the 18th century, the King was giving to his commissioned tailor a measurement of "1 aunes" (18th century found measurement that is equal to __ inch) but all of these gussets had to be taken somewhere, and if you look at the pattern of Diderot, you can see that the shirt is made out of scared parts that fits in the same big rectangle but the gusset was a problem so they resolved it be taking a piece of the front lower piece and cutting all of the gusset there, that is why the front is a little shorter than the back.
Most of the military shirts were very plane and probably with thread buttons that were cheap. We use a copy of an original found in Fort Quiatenon Region. It is a type D French dome button that has the tongue casted in instead of sodered in. This button is available in antique brass or antique silver that looks nearly polished pewter, all of them are metal plated.