The old carters smock-frock or round frock, still lingering, but on its way to becoming extinct, is centuries old. No better thing has ever been devised for any kind of outdoor wear that admits of the use of an outer garment. It turns an astonishing amount of wet, especially when of the ordinary local pattern. . . that has a wide turn-over collar, something like a sailor's, but coming square over the shoulders in front and behind. The frock is-cut quite square; of two whole widths of the stuff, with side seams only. The shaping is made by the close gathering, either over the whole back and front, or in two panels on the breast and back near the buttons.
It can be worn either way about: back and front are alike. It sits just as well either way. The sleeves are put in very low; not on the shoulder, but some inches diiMii the arm. There is a worked gathering at their in-icrtion, and also at the wristband, to bring the greater width of the sleeve into the size of the wrist. The material is a strong, tough, closely-woven linen. It was in four colourings; light and dark grey, olive green and white.
A best frock, and a tall hat with long nap, or the usual felt hat, was the Sunday dress, unless a man had a suit of cloth wedding clothes, which would be his Sunday suit for life. For in the old days clothes were made to last, and if a man had such a suit it would never be worn to work in, and a lifetime of Sundays would scarcely wear it out.
It was an old custom for a girl engaged to be married to work a round frock for her future, husband, and one can well imagine with what care and pleasure the beautiful patterns would tie stitched by the loving fingers. [258-60]
Jekyll, Gertrude Old West Surrey. London: Longmans, Green, & Co, 1904.
Last modified 30 January 2009