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Booth, Draper is a family owned business supplying museums, state historic sites and historic reenactors with fabrics, patterns and notions to make historically correct garments. Although our main focus is the 18th and early 19th centuries people buy our goods for all time periods from historic car interiors to ancient Greek warriors. Many modern people use our fabrics for interior design, herbal medicinal healing and environmentally friendly applications.
A simple search for "18th Century Notebook" sends you to brilliant collections on various topics, mostly clothing. This is the collection on infant's & children's clothing.
18th Century Children's Clothing Clothing for children in the 18th century. Includes children's dresses, boys' suits, girls' gowns, children's stays, and children's shoes.
The 18th Century Material Culture is a brilliant collective work. If you haven't taken advantage of it there are literally hundreds of topics to choose from. This one is on aprons.
Brocade was expensive in the 18th century. Here's the production today.
28 colour silk weaving This man is making a short length of 28 colour silk velvet for the museum at Versailles. It is going to take him at least two years to go 4 metres.
Inspirational details from 1756 Mrs. Lionel Chalmers (Martha Logan) of Charleston, South Carolina at age 35 by Jeremiah Theüs. This is at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. https://collections.mfa.org/objects/33145
Are you a fabric geek? Do you know a fabric geek? These out of print books are now available at Wm. Booth, Draper & are really specific to c. 17th-18th century but only 1 of each are in the cart.
You can always support the Amazon monopoly, but I truly value you as individuals & give of my time to the community. I really value your patronage.
Besides those illustrated in this post I’ve added a number of other books. If you find Wm. Booth, Draper Facebook interesting you might like these titles. https://www.wmboothdraper.com/product/quilting/
Recently Wm. Booth, Draper has been delving into the 18th century tassel manufacture. But you can make your own tassels with https://www.wmboothdraper.com/product/terrific-tassels-fabulous-fringe/
Patchwork quilts were unusual in the 18th century but there is this 1! https://www.wmboothdraper.com/product/the-1718-coverlet/
Details of 1756 Dr. Lionel Chalmers of Charleston, South Carolina at age 44 by Jeremiah Theüs. Chalmers was born in Scotland but emigrated to the Carolinas when he was 22. This is at the Museum: Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. https://collections.mfa.org/objects/33144
Many like to portray working people so here we have large baskets found in Bowl's & Carver c. 1780-1790 & reprinted in Old English Wood Cuts & Illustrations, 1970 by Dover Books.
Please note Bowls & Carver compiled this, along with many other old prints in their office in the 1780s or 1790s. But the prints themselves had accumulated over many years. Bowls & Carver simply reused old prints as a stand alone picture book.
In Need of Valentine Ideas?
1. Keep me Warm—Wool Coating https://www.wmboothdraper.com/product-category/historic-fabrics/wool/broadcloth/
2. Harmony & Excitement--Mixed Flowers https://www.wmboothdraper.com/product/india-garden-chintz/
3. Hold me Close—Ready made or make it yourself housewife https://www.wmboothdraper.com/product/housewife-c-1750-1780/
4. Intimacy--Blue Flowers https://www.wmboothdraper.com/product/francis-open-floral/
5. I Love You--Red Flowers https://www.wmboothdraper.com/product/cascading-floral-stripe-calico/
6. You Make Me Laugh—Games https://www.wmboothdraper.com/product/a-brief-discourse-on-18th-century-games/
7. I’m Lost Without You—Needle Case https://www.wmboothdraper.com/product/beech-needle-case/
8. I’m Thinking of You—White Silk https://www.wmboothdraper.com/product/white-persian-wsv-102/
9. Passion—Serpentine Vine https://www.wmboothdraper.com/product/serpentine-vine-on-natural/
10. Trust—Gold Ribbon https://www.wmboothdraper.com/product/3-4-gold-silk-ribbon/
Flax preparation at George Washington's Mount Vernon.
How to Make Linen from Flax Deborah Colburn, our Historic Trades Interpreter Supervisor, shows us the 18th century method of harvesting Flax into fabric.
This is an hour long silent movie but fascinating!
HOW TO MAKE A SPINNING WHEEL This 1964 German documentary shows in impressive detail how a spinning wheel was made by this craftsman. Each woodturner made his products in his (sometimes ...
Although this is of Chinese brocade, it's interesting to see how the fabric is still made by hand.
The Elaborate Art of Weaving Nanjing Yunjin Silk Brocade It takes skill, patience and a massive loom to make Nanjing yunjin. The luxurious silk brocade dates back nearly 2,000 years in China. Designer Liu Junzheng ...
Details of De Yndia y Negro, Loba (From an Indian & an African, a Wolf is born), 1 of 4 Casta Paintings 1770 by an unknown artist. This is at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. It doesn’t appear as though this painting has been added to the online database yet but here’s a young poet who found inspiration in the paintings. https://www.facebook.com/share/srkTexjefDEr7PzA/?mibextid=WC7FNe
Details of Daniel, Peter & Andrew Oliver of Boston, Massachusetts in 1732 by John Smibert. This is at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. One interesting aspect is Daniel died 5 years before this was painted, Smibert used a miniature portrait of Daniel to reunite the brothers. https://collections.mfa.org/objects/33500
Today we associate baskets as being feminine, yet in the 18th century men appear to use baskets as frequently as women. Instead of looking specifically at a certain garment, it might help for context to look at larger settings centered around men using large baskets. These all come from The Cries of Dublin Drawn from the Life by Hugh Douglas Hamilton, 1760 edited by William Laffan published in Dublin 2003. https://shop.igs.ie/products/the-cries-of-dublin-drawn-from-the-life-by-hugh-douglas-hamilton
What stands out to you? Instead of looking specifically at a certain garment, I thought it might help for context to look at larger settings centered around women using large baskets. These all come from The Cries of Dublin Drawn from the Life by Hugh Douglas Hamilton, 1760 edited by William Laffan published in Dublin 2003. https://shop.igs.ie/products/the-cries-of-dublin-drawn-from-the-life-by-hugh-douglas-hamilton
Wm. Booth, Draper has been documenting clothing & sharing it for over 10 years. Here’s an early post. https://www.facebook.com/share/s6r22CXJb6P2ZkmB/?mibextid=WC7FNe
This style of French pack basket doesn’t change all the way up to photographs. A question was asked about pack baskets & it’s been a while since I’ve posted something non fabric/fashion/notion related. All these details come from Grafik von Jean-Baptist Sevestre-Le Blond (um 1775). I hope I have the spelling right it is taken from a print of the cries of Paris published in c. 1775. I have the book called Handlerrufe aus europaischen Stadten Ubersetzung aus dem Franzosischen Ulrike Bergweiler by Massin 1978 which is filled with very hard to find prints of street criers from 1500 to 1900.
If anyone would like to take a crack at translating the text, I’d appreciate it.
Details of c. 1755 Elegant Young Lady by circle of Arthur Devis at auction by Period Portraits Nick Cox. https://www.periodportraits.com/portrait-of-an-elegant-lady-circle-of-devis
The styles of clothing change greatly by decade throughout the 18th century. It’s helpful to familiarize yourself with these differences. Therefore, here are details of 1731 Sir Wolstan Dixie, 4th Baronet by English school, sold at 1stDibs. https://www.1stdibs.com/art/paintings/figurative-paintings/english-old-master-huge-antique-english-aristocratic-portrait-baronet-fine-ancestral-portrait/id-a_11066802/
Details of several of Thomas Jefferson’s stocks. Made of cotton body’s with linen tabs, these are washable garments & are therefore marked, some in silk & others in ink. From the numbers on the stocks it appears Jefferson had about 19 stocks, all white, c. 1790-1820 later in his life.
Laundry in the 18th century by Anna Kiefer, this is an hour long video presentation but includes a lot of good quotes.
The Newlin Series: "'The Power of the Sun was Extremely Apparent': Washing in the 18th Century" “They were dirty back then.” “They just didn’t understand germs.” “Too clean!” These are just a few of the phrases that one may think, hear, or even say, as ...
A 1795 British Regimental coat on Antiques Road Show.
Watch Appraisal: British 125th Regimental Officer's Coat, ca. 1795 on PBS Wisconsin Appraisal: British 125th Regimental Officer's Coat, ca. 1795
Men’s straw hats pre 1700-1790 are rare at best but were wore by some young boys, the lower sort & enslaved. But just round, not cocked. Read the long version below.
Some Notes on Straw Hats in 18th century North America
Over the years, I've frequently been asked about the prevalence of straw hats for men in the eighteenth century. We know hats made of palm and straw of various sorts became quite popular in the 19th century, and their use from the 1790s onwards is well attested in both the pictorial and documentary record. So what about the preceding century?
Women, of course, had been wearing straw hats variously decorated for most of the 18th century. But these hats were of a distinctive form, typically having a relatively wide brim (sometimes very wide, indeed), and a shallow, almost pancake-like crown. This form is unlike anything worn by men and can be considered a purely feminine style.
There are no British or American images from the period before the 1790s that unequivocally show men wearing straw hats. There are a few tiny figures that might be wearing straws, but might just as likely be wearing felt hats. So without much in the way of pictorial evidence, we have to turn to documentary sources. Luckily, these prove a little more fruitful. For example, when Nathaniel Goddard and his three brothers ran from Brookline to Cambridge, Massachusetts in 1777 to view the Germans captured at Saratoga, he remembered “we were principally barefoot, with long jackets and long trousers, and mostly had straw hats.” His brother Jonathan “ran with his straw hat in his hand, having little if any rim to it.” [Nathaniel Goddard, Boston Merchant, 1767-1853, pp.62-63].
Newspaper advertisements for runaways and deserters are another important source. A cursory search of American newspaper databases between 1765 and 1783 reveals about 40 individuals described as wearing straw hats. Most of these descriptions simply say that the man had on a “straw hat” without further remark, but occasionally more detail is given. In 1777, English convict servant Thomas Gummer ran from the Maryland plantation of William Goodwin wearing “a country made straw hat” [The Maryland Journal And Baltimore Advertiser, 22 July 1777]. The same year, Scottish convict servant John Spencer had a “straw hat, lined with blue” [The Maryland Journal And Baltimore Advertiser, 21 May 1777]. The following year, another English convict servant absconded from the Patuxent Iron Works wearing “a straw hat, covered in wool” [The Maryland Journal And Baltimore Advertiser, 21 July 1778]. An enslaved teenager named Charles left William Holt wearing “a straw hat bound with black” in 1779 [Virginia Gazette, 19 Mar. 1779]. Sam, an enslaved teenager, wore “a straw hat with a blue ribband for a band around it” [The Pennsylvania Packet or the General Advertiser, 24 Aug. 1779]. An enslaved man named Stepney, who was last seen in Baltimore, sported “a straw hat, covered with tow or flax” [The Maryland Journal And Baltimore Advertiser, 2 Oct. 1781]. Perhaps most remarkable of all was “William Sutliff, lately a soldier in the British service, who wears a red coat without facings, straw hat lined with black snakes skin, and a band round it of the same” [The Pennsylvania Packet or the General Advertiser, 5 Sept. 1778].
If we’ve established that straw hats were worn with some regularity by men in North America, now we must ask what form they took. As I mentioned above, there are no definitive images from America or Britain (that I’ve ever found, at least) of anyone wearing straw hats in the 1720-1780 period. Even in Agostino Brunias’ detailed scenes of life in Dominica and other islands in the British West Indies, not a single figure, free or enslaved, is wearing a straw hat. But then suddenly in the 1790s, straw hats show up everywhere in art. They appear principally on the heads of sailors, but also on a smattering of agricultural workers and other laboring sorts. Invariably, these hats are styled just like fashionable felts hats of the period- for the 1790s that usually meant hats with tallish square crowns and curled or saddled brims. Perhaps it is not too much of a leap to imagine that in the 1770s or 1760s, straw hats took the form of round hats popular then: fairly low, domed crowns, with moderately wide brims.
One important note: what we don’t see are straw hats cocked up into the proverbial “tricorn.” Besides negating the benefits a wide brim provides, I think the reason for this is that in the hierarchy of hats in the period, the cocked hat was considered more formal than a round hat, and if a hat was made of straw- the most informal of all materials in their minds- then it would be a round hat.
Despite all this talk about straw hats, I can’t close this discussion without stressing that hats made of felt (wool, fur, and combinations thereof) were far, far more common among English speaking people of even the lowest means in the eighteenth century. So why weren't straw hats more common? They were certainly cheap enough. They may have cost as little as 1/20th of a shilling, and if you could plait straw yourself, well then they’d be cheaper still. But felt hat making was a major industry in Britain and many of its colonies, and the coarsest felt hats were also quite inexpensive. Wool felt hats of low quality could be had for as little as a shilling (as a handy comparison, sailors in the Royal Navy made 24 shillings a month before deductions). Felt hats were the socially acceptable thing to wear. They were genteel, and if wearing them promoted British industry, they were also patriotic. It is perhaps not a coincidence that the majority of our descriptions of straw hats were worn by young boys, convict or indentured servants and the enslaved. Like trousers, they may have started off as an exclusively lower-class accessory, only to move up the social ladder as fashions shifted in the 19th century.
Obviously, this only scratches the surface of this subject, and a great deal of research still needs to be done. As the 1827 Book of English Trades summed up the subject of straw hat making, “the history of this trade is involved in the same obscurity as the generality of those trades whose commonness excites no attention from mankind; and where although, both for ornament and use, they become a source both for profit, convenience, and pleasure, yet their trivial nature are esteemed below the dignity of the historian and the philosopher.”
Finally, I should stress that so far my research into this topic has focused primarily on English-speaking North America, and to a lesser extent the British Isles, so if your interest is in the Spanish colonies of South America, or Italy, or Africa, or anywhere else in the world, then these conclusions may not apply.
PS: This prototype straw hat “bound in black” is for sale. It’s size 7 ¼ (23 in) and is lined in linen. The price is $85 plus shipping. Message me if you’re interested. [Edit- the hat is sold!]
Free shipping for domestic orders over $100! This is valid starting January 5-19. On US orders.
When walking outside, many reenactors take their coat off so they only have a shirt & waistcoat on. This is a modern look! If you're out walking, shopping visiting friends you should wear your coat or jacket. Only wearing a waistcoat is something you do when doing heavy manual labor, but if it's hot, you can just wear your shirt if you'd like. Yes, even when women are working with you or are in the vicinity. Here are some examples of working men just wearing their shirt from 1738-1779 in England & Pennsylvania.
As a side note, how many of these pictures wear the shirt sleeves rolled up. Modern reenactors often like to wear their shirt sleeves rolled up yet in period artwork they only roll up their shirt sleeves if their sleeves may be soiled or burned. https://www.facebook.com/story.php/?id=104341549602334&story_fbid=951108928258921
Sleeve details of a c. 1770s silk gown lined in unbleached linen with various modifications for sale at Antique & Vintage Dress Gallery. http://www.antiquedress.com/item5092.htm?fbclid=IwAR1IRPvBsziki21wieRvRhTWc7uBJr8-1ytbNBdPQKNFjjkIiB92s4wsgvU_aem_AR267qPIaO2NLfJOtOAjYYF008VRL-eX2iyoULAsug1avFS19M6_64HNI0bIWVNcpwA
Details of a Dutch c. 1770s Portrait of a Lady Holding an Orange Blossom by Jeremias Schultz who worked in Amsterdam & the nearby city of Deventer. This is at The Art Gallery of Ontario. https://ago.ca/collection/portrait-of-a-lady-holding-an-orange-blossom
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