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Author Topic: Wash Dress Fabrics  (Read 3326 times)
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Miss Emma
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« on: November 26, 2016, 03:32:53 PM »

I had a little windfall, and I'm hoping to spend it on making myself a decent work dress. I've looked around here and elsewhere, and found a few fabrics that I think might work. I wanted to see what you all thought of them, and hear any other suggestions you might have. My intention is to make a long-lasting cotton or linen dress that will work for a young lower to middle-class woman to wear around the house and to run to the neighbor's in. Target date is the American Civil War, preferably 1863 and earlier.

I found this pinstriped shirting: http://shop.originals-by-kay.com/product.sc?productId=1896&categoryId=6

A solid indigo cotton/linen blend: http://www.renaissancefabrics.net/product/cottonlinen-indigo/

The background of this cotton print looks a shade or two lighter in person: http://www.fatquartershop.com/alices-scrapbag-navy-aunties-fichu-yardage

fabrics-store.com has some other nice solid linens, but I feel like anything dark enough to hide dirt is going to be too dark for hot summer days. I am working on no more than 100 dollars, so I'm looking for something that's $10 or less per yard. Any and all suggestions are welcome. Thanks!

-Emma
« Last Edit: November 26, 2016, 03:34:41 PM by Miss Emma » Logged
Elizabeth
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« Reply #1 on: November 26, 2016, 06:21:40 PM »

Take linen off the list entirely. By the 1840s, "cotton is king" and the cheap cotton prints out of the New England mill towns are finding supremacy over linen for women's dresses.

Since you're working on a dress for a "young lady at home"--not doing heavy heavy labor, because a middle working class household will tend to hire in some help for the truly grimy stuff--you could absolutely go with a light shirting for a nice washable summer dress for puttering about the house and garden and trotting to the neighbors, and the blue and white will feel crisp and tidy.

The deep blue print would also be fine, though the weight and dark colors may be problematic in the summer heat, if you're prone to heat issues. That'll be more of a quilting weight, so heavier and warmer than a summer shirting. But, it's also a premium fabric, so the overall quality of goods is going to be nicer than what you'd find at JoAnns or Waldemort.

There's something about this... it's a very simple "neat" style of print, white and grey, in a shirting... good for a sedate young lady, and neutral enough to be paired with charming accessories for casual visiting: https://www.fabric.com/buy/0464417/windham-shirt-tie-stripe-grey-

This is a very small stripe, and with dress lengths, you'd be under $9 a yard https://www.fabric.com/buy/0441014/kaufman-sevenberry-petite-basics-mini-stripe-blue

How much dirty/grimy labor do you anticipate? If it's just everyday household stuff, you may not have to worry about all grime-hiding, like you would if you were a lower working class household. Middle working, upper working, and into the professional classes do things like hiring out their laundry, and hiring in day labor for heavy tasks as needed; uppermost working class and professional classes may even have someone in daily to handle heavier tasks (even if no one lives in.)

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Elizabeth
Miss Whitlock
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« Reply #2 on: November 28, 2016, 10:51:18 AM »

I am also interested in this question!

What about wool?
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Sherry Key
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« Reply #3 on: November 28, 2016, 11:28:53 AM »

I think a light weight wool would also work.  And, don't forget about an apron!  If the work is a bit grimier than normal, a work apron would be appropriate and would be removed for visiting.

Sherry Key.
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Sherry Key
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Elizabeth
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« Reply #4 on: November 28, 2016, 05:58:37 PM »

Wool is very, very good for hardworking clothing! Do consider a summer or tropical weight, all the way down into semi-sheer, for a long-lived everyday garment. A good airing, and spot-cleaning as needed, will see it through multiple seasons without any laundering at all. Look for worsted wool broadcloth in those light weights. Solid colors and plaids/stripes (so long as it's not a business suit pinstripe) are good.
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Elizabeth
Miss Emma
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« Reply #5 on: November 28, 2016, 09:00:56 PM »

I'm now looking at this gray windowpane wool: https://www.denverfabrics.com/p213275_47283-slate-black-windowpane-check-wool-suiting My main concern is that it's not a fine enough weave.
I would rather like a plain gray wool, no pattern, but I can't seem to find anything like that in the right weight. At least not at a price which won't make me faint. 

As it stands, I think I will use the gray windowpane wool to make something like one of these.
https://www.pinterest.com/pin/44684221282911253/
https://www.pinterest.com/pin/502644008393726283/
https://www.pinterest.com/pin/44684221279597054/
« Last Edit: November 29, 2016, 06:46:04 AM by Miss Emma » Logged
Jessamyn
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« Reply #6 on: December 08, 2016, 06:19:42 AM »

The idea of this is great. Your dress inspirations are sound (although the first link doesn't work for me). The fabric is described as tropical, so the weight is good. And the blue cross-barring (windowpane is a modern term) is very attractive. My only concern is the lighter "cross-hatch." We moderns think that's interesting visual texture. In period, those lighter threads would have been flaws.
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Miss Emma
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« Reply #7 on: December 15, 2016, 11:03:06 AM »

Thanks for your suggestions, everyone! I ended up buying 8 yards of this gray wool: https://www.denverfabrics.com/p214866_47946-dark-grey-lightweight-wool-suiting

And two yards of this blue wool for a shawl: https://www.fashionfabricsclub.com/p214871_47952-periwinkle-blue-wool-flannel

I've already started fringing the shawl according to Elizabeth's instructions in the Compendium, and I'm looking forward to starting the dress over winter break!
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EKorsmo
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« Reply #8 on: December 15, 2016, 05:08:14 PM »

Can't wait to see how it turns out!
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