I have also found that by starting to read about costume history alongside this it has made me interrogate the garment differently. A good example of this is that I read about a shirt in a museum collection being made from one piece of cloth for the body, folded at the shoulders. Now I had assumed (crucial error!) that the shirt was made from a front and back piece joined at the shoulder because I had seen a line of stitching there. On closer inspection after reading this I have ascertained that sure enough the main shirt body is one piece of fabric. The stitching across the shoulders is the addition of a narrow strip of fabric, stitched to the inside of the shirt, possibly this would have strengthened the garment.
So I feel more than ever that although it is good to look, study and record without bias, we already have bias and assumption. What is needed sometimes is further information to help us frame relevant questions.
Below are some more details that help to unpick the form and function of the shirt.
|Button and buttonhole at cuff|
|Triangular neck gusset|
There is a very good reference to this neck gusset and other elements of the shirt in 'Cut My Cote' by Dorothy K. Burnham.