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Date Made:1780-1820
Materials:textile: blue and white checked plain weave linen
Place Made:United States; Connecticut; Westport
Measurements:overall: 40 1/2 x 25 1/2 in.; 102.87 x 64.77 cm
Accession Number:  HD 1998.28
Credit Line:Museum Collections Fund
Museum Collection:  Historic Deerfield

Man's blue and white checked linen shirt which came from the Wakeman family of Westport, Conn. Cloth woven in checks is usually referred to as 'gingham' from an Indonesian word meaning a stripted cotton, which was adopted by the Dutch in the 17th century. By the time the term was adopted in Europe and the west, it was associated with cotton. Officially, this linen shirt is not gingham, but is woven in a gingham design. The style is of a type that originated in the 16th century and remained unchanged in form for the next several hundred years. This shirt has thread button, is entirely sewn by hand, and has a rather tall collar, which would have been worn turned-down, but allowed room for a neck scarf or kerchief of some sort. The neck's 4" high collar is secured with two white thread (crocheted?) buttons, each 1/4" in diameter. The shirt opens with a center front placket at the neck, extending 9 1/2" down. The body of the shirt is made up of a width of fabric, 25 1/2" wide, that extends 39 1/2" down the front, 40 1/2" down the back; thus there are no shoulder seams. The material is gathered all around into the collar, and there is one triangular gusset at each shoulder, also gathered into the collar. The piece forming the shirt body is sewn together at the side, and each side seam is slit up 11" from the bottom. Each sleeve has an upper and lower seam, and is gathered into the armscye only at the top. Each sleeve ends by gathering into a 2" wide cuff, each secured by a matching button. Each sleeve opens up at the cuff 5 1/2".

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