TAMH: Source Material
Fisher dress in Arbroath and Auchmithie from 1860 - 1| 2

Blue Coats, Skate-Mooed Pooches and Strippet Brots

Margaret King article (continued) - Women's Working Clothes

The main item was the navy blue, heavy thick woollen skirt called a blue coat sometimes abbreviated to coat which comes from the French cote. These skirts are wide and the cloth is pleated and hangs from a basque made of a differnt material, usually a heavy twilled cotton, around the waist. About eight inches from the hem are a series of up to six horizontal tucks of material which makes a very heavy bottom for the skirt. This may have served a practical purpose in that it weighed the skirt down in the winds which buffet this coastline. It made a very warm garment. Frequently a second skirt was worn above the main skirt. This was bunched at the back to form a support for the heavy baskets when the woman was out selling her fish, while at the front this second skirt was folded up to form a kind of pouch which was useful for putting things in.

On top of the skirt, an apron was usually worn. When doing messy tasks such as shelling mussels for bait and baiting lines, making smokies and cleaning fish etc, apron made from a hessian or woven tow sack known as a harn brot was used. When out selling fish, a striped heavy cotton apron in navy, lilac, dark grey, or blue with white stripes of varying thicknesses was worn. This was know as a strippet brot. These aprons are almost as long as the skirts and also have the distinctive hemline tucks, though usually of a lesser number than the skirt. Most aprons have a concealed pocket sewn on to the inner side. Some women wore another apron which hung underneath their fish creels on their backs presumably to take the drips of the wet fish and some also tied a pad to support the two heavy rips (baskets) on their backs.