Carolyn Smith-Kizer - French Colonial Habitante

French Colonial Womens' Dress,


In order of wearing.

Chemise or Shift Basic under garment of the 18thC, worn next to skin, usually linen, white or off-white. Used as nightgown, as well. French Style from Garsault's instructions (c)

Jumps/corset Worn over chemise - may take the place of stays around the house. When worn out in public, sleeves were tied on, or for warmth. corset blanc (white corset), from M. Garsault's Description des Arts et Métiers, 1769. Waugh: "This is usually made in white linen and lined, it is only boned each side of the centre front. The centre back can be sewn together, or open and laced. The fronts can be laced, buttoned, or tied with ribbon ties. The sleeve «O» may either be sewn in, or just laced on top of the shoulder." (Cut of Women's Clothes, p. 107). Click to order a pair of jumps.

Stays or corps is the basic foundation/support garment, worn over chemise. Could have straps, and various lacing styles. The tabs at the waist help to hold up the layers of petticoats so your waist is not pinched. Instructions for making 18thC stays (c)

Pockets are worn on a string over the underpetticoats and just under the topmost petticoat. They held all manner of things from eating utensils to dice and money.

Jupes or Petticoats come next, usually two or more depending upon the weather. Sometimes quilted jupes were worn over panniers to avoid ridges from boning.

Ferreted edge binding on jupe/petticoat hem Notice ferreted edge for hem.

Various Jackets and Robes

Casaque Fashionable jacket in the first half of the 18th century. Features the larger sleeve and deep cuff. Often worn in undress. Perfect for maternity wear.

Pet-en-Lair or Demi-Robe worn as a jacket with a stomacher; jupe may not have been matching. Was also worn lengthened as a Robe-a-la-Française, usually with a matching jupe.

Mantelets and Juste au Corps were jackets fastened in various ways and with several skirt and cuff treatments. A favorite look was affectionately known as the "Chocolate Girl" jacket.

Camisole is less fitting than a corset and usually ties in front with ribbons, also known as a quilted waistcoat--worn for warmth and support at night or déshabillé under a bed jacket or casaque.

Manteau-de-lit or bed jacket, worn open over stays, corset, camisole or tied shut with 2 ties above nipple height or closed with apron and strings.