CAROLYN'S COMPOSITIONS

August 28, 2014

A Glossary of 1800s Fabrics

CAROLYN’S COMPOSITIONS

A GLOSSERY OF 1800s FABRICS

When Adam and Eve after they sinned in the Garden of Eden God had compassion on them, and offered them garments made of fig leaves. Ouch! The underside of the leaves were like rough sandpaper. Later they made garments from something more sturdy: animal skins.

Fast-forward to the early 1700s. One of my ancestors, Patrick Googins, tradition says, came from Ireland at an early age, about 1720 A woolen weaver by trade he entered the service of William Pepperrell, at Kittery, Maine.

Fast-forward again to the late 18th century and early 19th century. By this time the assortment of garment fabrics had proliferated.

The Diary of Martha Ballard, 1785-1812* mentions many of the fabrics used in Maine during this time period. A glossary at the end of a modern-day reproduction of Martha Ballard’s diary lists many—if not all—the different fabrics Mrs. Ballard mentioned in the 27 years of her written history. How many of these fabrics have names that are foreign to you? I was surprised to find 15 fabric names I never heard of, even through my many years of sewing.

The terms below, most frequently used by Mrs. Ballard, was compiled through a variety of printed sources.

FABRICS MENTIONED BY MARTHA BALLARD IN HER (more…)

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