Monday, October 12, 2009

Put on Your Best Bib and Tucker!

For a week I've been handling this pattern. Scanning, writing, listing, etc.........and every time I look at View D, that phrase pops in my mind. The tucked bib, just screams "Put on your Best Bib and Tucker" I decided to look up Bib and Tucker and find out exactly what that means.

Of course all of us of a certain age, remember the phrase, we grew up with it and it translated to "Put on your Sunday Go to Meetin' clothes". But where did the phrase originate and what did it originally mean?

I found several references.

On The Phrase Finder , I found this definition:

This term originated not in any figurative sense, but literally - both bibs and tuckers were items of women's clothing from the 17th to late 19th centuries.

Early bibs were somewhat like modern day bibs, although they weren't specifically used to protect clothes from spilled food as they are now. Tuckers were lace pieces fitted over the bodice - sometimes called 'pinners' or 'modesty pieces'. These were known by the late 17th century and were described by Randle Holme in The Academy of Armory, or a Storehouse of Armory and Blazon, 1688:

"A Pinner or Tucker, is a narrow piece of Cloth - which compasseth the top of a Womans Gown about the Neck part."

Tuckers, as the name suggests, were originally tucked in. Pinners differed by being pinned rather than tucked. Pinner is clearly the precursor of pinafore - originally pin-a-fore, i.e. pinned on the front.

On World Wide Word I found this which says roughly the same thing:

A tucker was a bit of lace worn around the neck and top of the bodice by 17th-18th century women, presumably something that was tucked in; the bib was closely related to our modern term — a shirt-front or covering for the breast. The expression is first recorded from the middle of the eighteenth century, initially only for women and girls, as you might expect, but later on also to men, when the words had become a fixed phrase and disengaged from their real meanings. Before then, the common expression seems to have been best bib and band (band meaning collar), also commonly used for men as well as women, which continued after the new term had come into use, though it seems to have died out at the end of the eighteenth century. The word derives from the same source as the tucker of food, but is unconnected in meaning.

Now you know all about Bibs and Tuckers.

You can find this and many more fabulous blouse patterns at cemetarian