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Man’s Long Underwear

Curated Submission
Quebec, Canada
1870 - 1890s
DIMENSIONS in centimetres
98 x 55
Materials & techniques
Wool, cotton; Hand-spun, twill woven, machine-sewn
Gift of Greta Ferguson
Textile Museum of Canada T96.0189
This pair of long underwear from rural Quebec is an extremely rare piece of clothing because such undergarments would most often have deteriorated, or would have been reused in the making of rugs and mats. Made of high-quality wool that is finely spun and densely woven, the pants were certainly durable. They are generous in size and have a string on the back to adjust the waistline. On both the back and front are cotton loops for suspenders, as it was customary in rural areas, when no strangers were around, for the long underwear to be worn as trousers.

The pants are made from a scratchy wool that is rich in lanolin and resistant to stains. They still bear evidence of many years of use, and were probably worn by several generations of men in the family. Looking at this clothing, one cannot doubt the importance of the textile skills that kept Canada’s settlers warm indoors and out while they confronted early Canadian life.
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