Pages: [1]   Go Down
  Print  
Author Topic: Cotton flannel: invented by mid-century? Useful at all?  (Read 1817 times)
0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.
Vicki
Guest
« on: April 15, 2010, 05:26:56 PM »

Would cotton flannel be used for anything in mid-century? A blanket, perhaps?  Quilt? Or had it even been invented yet? (Maybe not?)

It took me about two years into reenacting to realize that 'flannel' meant 'wool flannel'  Embarrassed but I did eventually get that misunderstanding straightened out!  Roll Eyes Roll Eyes

But, do I have any use for cotton flannel at all?

(Or is it like a wooden button- a silly, useless thing entirely inappropriate for anything approaching period-correct?)
Logged
joni
Guest
« Reply #1 on: April 16, 2010, 07:19:50 AM »

Oh, wooden buttons aren't correct?  Silly me, I thought they would be, since they are a "natural" medium.  Then I guess that makes my entire, beautiful red flannel petticoat incorrect.  It's cotton flannel too.   Tongue

edited to add that I made my cotton flannel petticoat with wooden buttons several years ago... I didn't make it incorrect on purpose.    But no one ever sees it so I haven't replaced it with wool yet.  Huh   
« Last Edit: April 16, 2010, 07:37:13 AM by joni » Logged
vmescher
Senior Research
Veteran Scribbler
*
Offline Offline

Posts: 703


« Reply #2 on: April 16, 2010, 12:29:47 PM »

Would cotton flannel be used for anything in mid-century? A blanket, perhaps?  Quilt? Or had it even been invented yet? (Maybe not?)

It took me about two years into reenacting to realize that 'flannel' meant 'wool flannel'  Embarrassed but I did eventually get that misunderstanding straightened out!  Roll Eyes Roll Eyes

But, do I have any use for cotton flannel at all?


They did have cotton flannel but it was not like the cotton flannel that we have. 

From Scissors and Yardstick   by Brown and Gates (1872)

"Canton or Cotton Flannel.  A heavy cotton drill, bearing a soft, downy nap upon one side.  This nap is produced the teasling operation.  Single fold.  Width, about 3-4." 

Before the caton flannel is washed it is stiff and the backside is twilled and the napped side is fuzzy.  After washing, it softens quite a bit and the napped side feels like a bunny. 

In the 1860s it cost $ .25 per yard and was used to make men's drawers and undershirts used for women's drawers.  When you see "flannel petticoat" it refers to a wool flannel petticoat.  I have made a red flannel one and it is warm. 

I would hesitate to use modern cotton flannel. 
Logged

Virginia Mescher
Please Visit us at
Ragged Soldier Sutlery or Vintage Volumes at
www.raggedsoldier.com
Elaine Kessinger
Veteran Scribbler
*****
Offline Offline

Posts: 830



WWW
« Reply #3 on: April 16, 2010, 01:01:05 PM »

Wood buttons are not used on anything that gets washed in our time. Period laundry soaps would dissolve the wood fibers. Wood cracks and warps when wet, then dry, then wet, then dry. They found thread, shell, china, and glass much more wash-friendly. Wood molds are used for fabric covered buttons, but not on anything washed regularly, and they're removed before and replaced after a laundry. Wood buttons do show up on short/shell jackets made for the Confederate army in the later war years, the theory being they would not be washed before needing replaced.
Logged

Cheryl Dalehodges
Guest
« Reply #4 on: April 16, 2010, 01:20:08 PM »

I'm going to Shanghi this thread for a miniute.  (Is that the correct term???  Smiley  )

Re: wooden buttons...and just for intellectual consumption...I have buttons made from black walnuts and cherry pits.  These buttons were made by my Great-Great Granddaddy Bishop towards the end of the War Between the States, and although I don't know specifically on what the walnut buttons were used, the cherry pit buttons were used on a dress for his daughter.  Unfortunately, the dress was used to make clothes for my Mama and one of her sisters during the Great Depression...but they saved the buttons because they were "special".

Because of this, in the past I made walnut buttons for my husband.  True they do not like like repeated washing, but I made a number of them and replace the damaged ones as needed.  I like using them because they are good for educational events.
Logged
Vicki
Guest
« Reply #5 on: April 16, 2010, 09:14:04 PM »

Sorry, I didn't mean to denigrate wooden buttons at all; its just that 'way back when' I bought a whole bunch of them, thinking they were okay, and later learned from this site that they weren't.  Tongue  So I feel your pain on the wood buttons front, Joni!  Wink

And I did make a lovely cotton flannel shirt with wood buttons for my dh several years ago before realizing my mistake...  Roll Eyes Grin (Now it hangs in the closet mocking me; I don't want to donate it to our site, b/c then volunteers will be running around in a cotton flannel shirt....but dh isn't going to wear it, either...what to do, what to do.... Cheesy )

I ended up offering the buttons to a friend who makes cute modern blouses.......I also happen to have probably two bolts of modern cotton flannel and was wondering if I have any period use for them.  I think they will be turning into quilts for the kids, but I wanted to check first to see if there were any mid century options, just in case!
Logged
Brooke Whitaker
Scribblor Infinitus
*
Offline Offline

Posts: 3031


♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦Me♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦


WWW
« Reply #6 on: April 17, 2010, 06:35:45 AM »

but dh isn't going to wear it, either...what to do, what to do.... Cheesy )
Sell it on e-bay. Smiley
Logged

Cool-Born a Yankee, but a Rebel by choice- Cool
                      -Brooke-

My blog: http://stitchesofthepast.blogspot.com/
My Etsy Shop:  www.stitchesofthepast.etsy.com
joni
Guest
« Reply #7 on: April 17, 2010, 07:39:38 AM »

I also happen to have probably two bolts of modern cotton flannel and was wondering if I have any period use for them.

This would be great warm, fuzzy modern pajama material that you could make for Christmas gifts.  Almost like re-gifting, but not exactly.  LOL   Grin
Logged
Elizabeth
Administrator
Scribblor Infinitus
*
Offline Offline

Posts: 7980


WWW
« Reply #8 on: April 17, 2010, 08:09:24 AM »

There are mentions of things like persimmon-seed buttons and other vegetative substitutes, particularly in the South toward the end of the war; they seem to have been a "make it work" thing, rather than a "preferred option" thing. For educational use, they're ideal. For day-to-day laundering, less than ideal, as were the originals. Smiley

Cotton flannel *can* be used for warm interlinings, but it tends to be too loosely woven for hard-wearing warm undies, and if the cold is accompanied by damp, wool flannel is much safer.
Logged

Regards,
Elizabeth
Marta Vincent
Scribblor Infinitus
*
Offline Offline

Posts: 3209


Occupational Tintype by Todd Harrington 8/09


WWW
« Reply #9 on: April 17, 2010, 08:25:10 AM »

Do check the flannels at your local fabric store though.  I was fortunate enough to find some cotton canton flannel at JoAnnes a couple of years ago.  It is plaid on one side & striped on the other.  I didn't buy much because it was a bit pricey, but they do occasionally have it.  It is significantly more substantial than your typical flannel. 

Logged

Chip
Dedicated Scribbler
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 363



« Reply #10 on: April 18, 2010, 07:58:44 AM »


They did have cotton flannel but it was not like the cotton flannel that we have. 


There is a type of cotton flannel that is currently being manufactured in Germany that is similar to the cotton flannel of the 1860s.

It is primarily being used for making light bed blankets.
Logged
vmescher
Senior Research
Veteran Scribbler
*
Offline Offline

Posts: 703


« Reply #11 on: April 18, 2010, 08:44:36 AM »

Here is a link to an image of canton flannel.  http://www.njsekela.com/OSCommerce/catalog/images/cantonflannel.jpg

The darker part is the twilled side and the lighter part of the image is the softer napped side of the fabric.  Drawers made from it are very warm.  Needle and Thread in Gettysburg usually has it and I have also found it at some Amish mail order places also such as Gohn Brothers. 

It is not the most inexpensive fabric but also it is not the most expensive.   

Logged

Virginia Mescher
Please Visit us at
Ragged Soldier Sutlery or Vintage Volumes at
www.raggedsoldier.com
John Peterson
Developing Scribbler
**
Offline Offline

Posts: 73



WWW
« Reply #12 on: April 18, 2010, 01:46:24 PM »

Quote
I made my cotton flannel petticoat with wooden buttons several years ago
Joni,
last I knew you had a handful of mother of pearl buttons! Smiley (Hope they were what you wanted/needed for your project.)
John Peterson
Logged

Vicki
Guest
« Reply #13 on: April 18, 2010, 02:52:25 PM »

On the button topic.....I know this has been mentioned many, many times before, but just to reiterate- you can find GREAT deals on antique white china buttons on Ebay, and they work perfectly on the many white shirts and underclothes we/you have.   Smiley

I was just contemplating using the flannel (I have a bolt of white and a bolt of natural/ cream) to make blankets or quilts, and wondering if they would be terribly inappropriate to then use those blankets at events.  (Thinking, maybe just use some cotton batting in between two layers of flannel.) 
Logged
mmescher
Dedicated Scribbler
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 325


« Reply #14 on: April 18, 2010, 05:40:47 PM »

If the flannel is modern flannel (which I gather it is) it would be inappropriate to make anything seen by spectators because showing the fabric is an unspoken statement that whatever the fabric is was used by people of the time period. 

If the blankets are to be used only in your tent and the flaps kept closed, this falls in the category of what modern stuff you allow yourself to use.  But that means if your children want to drag a blanket out to sit on, they would have to understand that the blankets stay in the tent.

I know that isn't the answer you wanted since you have two bolts of the stuff.

Michael Mescher
Logged
Vicki
Guest
« Reply #15 on: April 18, 2010, 06:15:04 PM »

Actually, it's okay; I just thought I'd check. It's just sitting in the sewing closet taking up space.....

I'm sure I'll find a use for it somewhere......... Cheesy
Logged
Elizabeth
Administrator
Scribblor Infinitus
*
Offline Offline

Posts: 7980


WWW
« Reply #16 on: April 19, 2010, 08:13:26 AM »

The other downside to a cotton flannel blanket is that it is sort of warm, but not when damp, so it's far, far less than ideal for a camping situation. Even if it doesn't rain, the rising damp in the early morning will get everyone chilled, and the cotton doesn't recover quickly. Adding cotton batting would make it worse.

White and cream, though: if you have churches near you, or a charity quilting group, consider offering it to them (or sell it off on-line); many churches use cotton flannel to back cotton prints when making modern baby receiving blankets for charitable purposes, and they'd be delighted to have more backings. (When I do them, I start with 45" squares, so you can just imagine how many modern babies would be cuddled by the stuff clogging up your closet. Smiley )
Logged

Regards,
Elizabeth
Anna G.
Scribblor Infinitus
*
Offline Offline

Posts: 1933



WWW
« Reply #17 on: April 19, 2010, 02:24:01 PM »

Another possible use for it would be to use it for a toile for outerwear. I had the same problem as you and I used some extra red cotton flannel I had to mock up my 1850s coat, since it's a bit neavier than regular muslin. I've found that the flannel will give you a better idea of how your coat/outwear will wear over your actually dress. Plus, it's easy to work with/iron/mark up, and great to keep as a final pattern. Smiley
Logged

Sue Leurgans
Veteran Scribbler
*****
Offline Offline

Posts: 689



« Reply #18 on: April 21, 2010, 04:10:05 PM »

In these two places cotton flannil shirts are mentioned.
http://thesewingacademy.org/index.php?topic=6421.0    3rd line - cut up Caleb's cotton flannil shirts
http://www.raggedsoldier.com/soldiers_boxes.pdf           3rd line -  14 flannil shirts

were these under shirts?

http://images.library.pitt.edu/cgi-bin/i/image/image-idx?sid=b29ed8e820ca0dd55108837cfcf05781;g=imls;med=1;q1=lysh;rgn1=lysh_all;size=20;c=lysh;lasttype=boolean;view=entry;lastview=thumbnail;subview=detail;cc=lysh;entryid=x-pss6.b002.i04;viewid=LYSH2312.TIF;start=21;resnum=30

the name is Joseph Reine if I didn't get all of the hyperlink.

Is he wearing a flannil undershirt maybe?
« Last Edit: April 21, 2010, 05:42:43 PM by Sue Leurgans » Logged

Sue Leurgans
AKA Miss Lawrence
"The secret of happiness is something to do" - John Burroughs
vmescher
Senior Research
Veteran Scribbler
*
Offline Offline

Posts: 703


« Reply #19 on: April 21, 2010, 04:36:07 PM »

In these two place cotton flannil shirts are mentioned.
http://thesewingacademy.org/index.php?topic=6421.0    3rd line - cut up Caleb's cotton flannil shirts
http://www.raggedsoldier.com/soldiers_boxes.pdf           3rd line -  14 flannil shirts

were these under shirts?

http://images.library.pitt.edu/cgi-bin/i/image/image-idx?sid=b29ed8e820ca0dd55108837cfcf05781;g=imls;med=1;q1=lysh;rgn1=lysh_all;size=20;c=lysh;lasttype=boolean;view=entry;lastview=thumbnail;subview=detail;cc=lysh;entryid=x-pss6.b002.i04;viewid=LYSH2312.TIF;start=21;resnum=30

the name is Joseph Reine if I didn't get all of the hyperlink.

Is he wearing a flannil undershirt maybe?

The first quotes referred to the canton/cotton flannel with the twill on one side and napped on the other side.  I think that the ones that were referred to in these quotes were worn as undershirts, especially those sent to the hospitals during the war.  The undershirts were also worn by men for warmth during the winter. 

I think that the light colored shirt in the image was an overshirt, worn over a man's regular shirt to keep it cleaner.  I've not studied men's clothing so I could be wrong.   Maybe someone who knows more about the subject can answer better than I can. 
Logged

Virginia Mescher
Please Visit us at
Ragged Soldier Sutlery or Vintage Volumes at
www.raggedsoldier.com
Pages: [1]   Go Up
  Print  
 
Jump to:  

Powered by SMF 1.1.15 | SMF © 2011, Simple Machines