Today was Lace Day for the Lacemakers of Puget Sound. It was held at the Kent Commons – Green River room, Kent, Washington. It was a lovely presentation.
Tames Alan is a performer and historical consultant living in Washington. She has about 25 presentations available and today she presented From the Streets of Shakespeare to the Court of Elizabeth.
Here she talks of the daily life of a lower middle class woman. Between costumes, she took a few minutes to answer any questions. Of course, I had to ask about the fabric of the clothing they wore during this period. Wool or wool/linen. I want to know more because I cannot imagine everyone had a weaving loom within their cottage to clothe their family. Tames said as a lower middle class woman, you would have two shifts. One you wore for the first six days of the week and on Sunday, when you attended church services, you wore your second one that was to be clean or you would be fined. Very little clothing, very poor conditions. Fleas, vermin, bed bugs, eck! You bathed twice in your life then, once when born and the other time when you were married, but that was more of a sprinkling. They wore caps to keep their head warm since their hair fell out due to not bathing. They were afraid that they would die from bathing since they would have to do so in the river and it was contaminated with waste. I would have taken my chances by collecting rainwater and boiling it in my one kettle.
Then she changed into the following attire in front of us, always wearing the white shift.
You would wear 14 skirts with your clothing weighing in around 80 pounds. She told us of the conditions of the time and it made me thankful that I live when I do.
It was a wonderful performance. Please check out her website, Living History Lectures to learn more.