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Ursula's Alcove

Catalog : Patterns : Folkwear

Missouri River Boatman's Shirt

Missouri River Boatman's Shirt

Pattern No. 204
Misses 6-20; Men's 34-48

This loosely fitted knee-length shirt was worn by raftsmen and fur traders on the Missouri, Mississippi, and Ohio Rivers in the mid-19th century. It is frequently depicted in the paintings of George Caleb Bingham.

Full sleeves with underarm gussets are gathered and attached into a shoulder yoke. A narrow or convertible cuff may be used. A neck gusset set into the shoulders gathers into a simple turned-back collar, which is loosely fastened with a tape tie. The bottom of the front opening was often strengthened with a needle-lace godet and decorated with the wearer's initials in cross-stitch. The long side openings were also reinforced.

Our Boatman's Shirt can be worn today by men as an overshirt, or shortened to tuck in. The original length is tunic length on women.

Folkwear sends thanks to the Missouri Historical Society costume collection for assistance in research for this pattern. The original is in the Society's collection in St. Louis.

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