The sign of the unicorn. A fabric shop for 18th century reenactors and historians.

Silks | Cottons

Silks

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100% Silk, 55" wide
Stripe Silk WSV 128
$22/yd

Striped silk of this weight is great for gentlemen’s waistcoats and coats as well as lady's petticoats, gowns and jackets. Silk garments were in the possesion of the poor as well as the wealthy such as in this Virginia Gazette ad of 1773, "RUN away . . .  a Convict Servant . . .  an Englishman; by Trade a Bricklayer . . .  with sundry other Clothes which he stole, namely . . .  a striped Silk Waistcoat." Tan silk thread will work well for hand sewing this silk.

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100% Silk, 55" wide
Stripe Silk WSV 120
$20/yd

Striped silk of this weight is great for gentlemen’s waistcoats and coats as well as lady's petticoats, gowns and jackets. Silk garments were in the possesion of the poor as well as the wealthy such as in this Pennsylvania Gazette ad of 1781, "Ran Away . . .  a Negroe Woman . . .  She had a variety of clothes, among which are . . .  a striped silk jacket" as cited in Wenches, Wives and Servant Girls. Ivory silk thread will work well for hand sewing this silk.

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100% Silk, 55" wide
Brown Striped Silk WSV 122
$20/yd

Silk with 1/16" Stripes of this weight is great for gentlemen’s waistcoats and coats as well as lady's petticoats, gowns and jackets. For example The Proceedings of the Old Bailey, London a theft trial in 1765 recorded, "she described them very particularly, and told where they were pawned: (a dimity gown, a brown damask gown, a striped silk gown . . .  ); these she owned she had taken unknown to her master". Ivory silk thread will work well for hand sewing this silk.

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100% Silk, 55" wide
Yellow Striped Silk WSV 121
$20/yd

Silk with 1/16" Stripes of this weight is great for gentlemen’s waistcoats and coats as well as lady's petticoats, gowns and jackets. For example The Proceedings of the Old Bailey, London a theft trial in 1761 recorded, "one of them had on a loose stuff-gown; the other a striped silk". Ivory silk thread will work well for hand sewing this silk.

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100% Silk, 55" wide
Red Black Changeable Lutestring WSV 134
$22/yd

new New!

Lutestring is one of the types of taffeta available during the 17th and 18th centuries. Lutestring was often changeable as is this plain weave red black changeable silk. Throughout the 18th century taffeta was used for women's gowns, jackets, and petticoats. Men wore taffeta as jackets, coats and waistcoats. In the 1775 Boston News-Letter an advertisment included "To Be Sold . . .  A fine Assortment of Ducapes, plain and changeable Lutestrings, some nice grey and bloom Ditto, India Taffities, Silk and Sattins for Cloaks, of all Prices" as cited in personal communication with Mike Barbieri. For hand sewing red or black quilter's silk matches this fabric.

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Pure silk taffeta for 17th century to the present reenactors, nautical historians and museum interpreters.

Changeable Orange Silk Taffeta, 100% Silk, 55" wide, $22/yd.
WSV 126

Taffeta included a number of silks especially early but this plain weave changeable silk is of a stunning orange (almost coral) color that changes to light gray. Throughout the 18th century taffeta was used for women's gowns, jackets, and petticoats. Men wore taffeta as jackets, coats and waistcoats. In The Pennsylvania Evening Post, of 1776, "Ran away . . .  an Irish servant girl . . .  She also took with her a changeable mantua gown" is cited in Wenches, Wives and Servant Girls. For hand sewing light brown quilter's silk will blend with this fabric.

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100% Silk, 54" wide
Blue Brown Changeable Lutestring WSV 132
$22/yd

new New!

Lutestring is one of the many types of taffeta available during the 17th and 18th centuries. This plain weave changeable silk is of a stunning teal blue color that changes to light cinnamon brown. Throughout the 18th century taffeta was used for women's gowns, jackets, and petticoats. Men wore taffeta as jackets, coats and waistcoats. In The Pennsylvania Evening Post, of 1776, "Ran away . . .  an Irish servant girl . . .  She also took with her a changeable mantua gown" is cited in Wenches, Wives and Servant Girls. For hand sewing cinnamon brown silk quilter's thread and silk buttonhole twist will match the brown of this fabric fairly well.

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Pure silk taffeta for 17th century to the present reenactors, nautical historians and museum interpreters.

Violet Brown Changeable Lutestring, 100% Silk, 54" wide, $22/yd.
WSV 133

new New!

Lutestring is one of the types of taffeta available during the 17th and 18th centuries. Lutestring was often changeable as is this plain weave changeable silk. Although the end threads reveal this to be a pink that changes to black the overall look is of a violet that changes to cinnamon brown. Throughout the 18th century taffeta was used for women's gowns, jackets, and petticoats. Men wore taffeta as jackets, coats and waistcoats. In the 1775 Essex Gazette published in Salem Massachusetts an advertisment informed "just imported in the last Ships from London, A large and beautiful Assortment of . . .  English & India Taffaties, 3-4 and half-ell changeable Lutestrings, black ditto, Mantua Silks" as cited in personal communication with Mike Barbieri. For hand sewing light brown quilter's silk will blend with this fabric.

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100% Silk, 45" wide
Red Persian WSV 109
$16/yd

Back in stock!

Scarlet red silk as fine as this was used for neck handkerchiefs, and linings. Cited in Wenches, Wives and Servant Girls The Pennsylvania Packet, of 1771, "Run away . . .  an Irish servant woman . . .  talks a little on the brogue, is full of impudence, loves strong liquor, and will get drunk, when she has an opportunity; she is a good seamstress, and professes to be a mantua maker; had on, and took with her . . .  red silk handkerchief".

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100% Silk, 45" wide
Brown Persian WSV 108
$16/yd

Brown silk as fine as this was used for neck handkerchiefs, linings and sometimes bonnets. Cited in Wenches, Wives and Servant Girls The Pennsylvania Packet, of 1778, "Ran Away . . .  an indented girl . . .  country born . . .  had on and took with her, a brown silk bonnet".

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100% Silk, 45" wide
Gold Persian WSV 104
$16/yd

Gold silk as fine as this was used for neck handkerchiefs and as a lining. In The Proceedings of the Old Bailey, London of 1767, "Richard Griffiths, and Mary his wife, otherwise Mary Pitt, spinster, otherwise Anne Taylor, spinster, were indicted for burglariously breaking and entering the dwelling-house of Anne Nevell, widow . . .  and stealing . . .  a coloured silk handkerchief, the property of the said Anne Nevell".

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50% Silk/50% Cotton, 44" wide
Ivory Gauze WSV 130
$10/yd

This fine creamy white silk and cotton blend may be used as a lining, neck and hand handkerchiefs, neck cloths and neck stocks. Occasionally white silk/cottons like this were used to make women's bonnets. In the early 19th century the very fine empire style gowns were made of fine fabrics like this. In the picture the penny is placed behind the fabric to show how sheer this fabric is. Cited in Wenches, Wives and Servant Girls is a description from the 1776 Pennsylvania Packet which includes, "Ran away . . .  [a] servant girl . . .  she wears mostly gauze caps." For hand sewing try fine white silk thread.

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100% Silk, 45" wide
White Persian WSV 102
$16/yd

This fine white silk was primarily used as a lining and hem facinings on women's gowns. White silk as fine as this can also be used for neck handkerchiefs, and men's cravats (aka neck cloths) and neck stocks. Sometimes Persian was used for women's bonnets. In The Proceedings of the Old Bailey, London in 1758, "Arthur Hambleton was indicted for stealing . . .  one white silk lining to a gown".

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100% Silk, 45" wide
Black Persian WSV 100
$16/yd

Fine black silk was commonly used as a lining material but may also be used for neck handkerchiefs, women's bonnets, and to cover chip (straw) hats. It may also be used for men's cravats (aka neck cloths) and neck stocks. In The Proceedings of the Old Bailey, London of 1775, "CHARLES M'GINNIS and ANN his wife, were indicted for stealing . . .  a piece of black silk lining, value two pence; a piece of black silk, value six-pence".

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Silks | Cottons

Cottons

100% Cotton, Gray Corduroy, 62" wide, WCC 104
$10/yd

Corduroy was first produced in about the 1770s but did not bocome popular until the late 1780s. From the late 1780s and into the 19th century corduroy was commonly used for working class men’s waistcoats breeches and tousers and children's clothing. For example in The Proceedings of the Old Bailey, London in 1788 it was recorded that a man "was indicted for burglariously and feloniously breaking and entering . . .  and burglariously stealing therein . . .  a pair of corduroy breeches, value 10 s." Gray 35/2 linen thread for hand sewing will match this fabric as will gray silk quilter's thread for sewing button holes.

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100% Cotton, Black Corduroy, 62" wide, WCC 105
$10/yd

Corduroy was first produced in about the 1770s but did not bocome popular until the late 1780s. From the late 1780s and into the 19th century corduroy was commonly used for working class men’s waistcoats breeches and tousers and children's clothing. For example in The Proceedings of the Old Bailey, London in 1791 it was recorded that two men "were severally indicted . . .  for feloniously stealing . . .  a pair of corduroy breeches, value 12 d." Black 35/2 linen thread for hand sewing will match this fabric as will black silk quilter's thread for sewing button holes.

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100% Cotton, Brown Stripe Manchester Velvet, 42" wide, WCV 202
$10/yd

new New!

Manchester velvets first appear in American runaway descriptions starting in the late 1760s but they really don’t become common until the late 1780s. From the late 1780s and into the early 19th century Manchester velvets were commonly used for working class men’s waistcoats and breeches. This velvet is brown with off white pin stripes. From personal communication with Mike Barbieri in the 1775 Boston Evening-Post, an ad included "New Auction-Room, Cornhill. To-Morrow Morning at Ten o'Clock, Will be Sold by Public Vendue, At Greenleaf's Auction Room, A Large Assortment of Goods, consisting of . . .  Manchester Velvets & Velverets half ell & half yard wide". Cinnamon brown 35/2 linen thread for hand sewing will match this fabric as will brown silk quilter's thread for sewing button holes.

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100% Cotton Ticking, Blue and White Stripe, 56" wide
WCC 101
$10/yd

Remnant only!

Ticking (also ticken) for most of the 18th century was made of linen but beginning in the late 1770s in England and the early 1790s in America large cotton mills were established. These quickly grew in scale and by the early 19th century cotton ticking was cheep and available. For example in The Proceedings of the Old Bailey, London in 1810 it was recorded that "WILLIAM LEE was indicted for feloniously stealing . . .  two remnants of ticking, value 3 s." For those of you who shoot this fabric is 6.5 - 7 microns thick.

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White Cotton Satinette, 56" wide
WCC 112
$15/yd

"Manchester cotton satinettes" are advertised for sale in the Massachuesetts Centinal in 1786 by personal communication with Hallie Larkin. Satinettes are used as a lining in the bodice of empire style gowns and in women's under garments. Off white 60/2 linen thread will match this fabric when hand sewing.

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Ivory Striped Cotton Gauze, 45" wide
WCC 107
$10/yd

Very sheer cotton gauze was used in the 18th century for lady's aprons and handkerchiefs. Later it was used for the lightweight empire style gowns of the Napolionic period. For example in The New York Gazette, of 1775, "Run away . . .  in the city of New York . . .  a servant girl . . .  born in Scotland, and came from there thirteen months ago . . .  had on and took with her . . .  four handkerchiefs, one a red and white speckled cotton, a gauze, a linen, and one a lawn" is cited in Wenches, Wives and Servant Girls. Off white 60/2 linen thread will match this fabric when hand sewing. The picture is taken on a black background with the penny on top and a slight fold to give you an idea of how sheer this cotton is.

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White Striped Cotton Gauze, 46" wide
WCC 108
$10/yd

Very sheer cotton gauze was used in the 18th century for lady's aprons and handkerchiefs. Later it was used for the lightweight empire style gowns of the Napolionic period. For example in The New York Gazette, of 1775, "On Saturday the 7th of June, 1777, was stolen and carried away from the house . . .  one gauze apron" is cited in Wenches, Wives and Servant Girls. White 60/2 or 90/2 linen thread will match this fabric when hand sewing. The picture is taken on a black background with the penny on top and a slight fold to give you an idea of how sheer this cotton is.

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100% Cotton Organdy, White, 45" wide
WCV 200 Not pictured
$5.50/yd.

Organdy was a type of muslin often referred to as book muslin in the 18th century. This fine crisp cotton was used to make shirt and shift ruffles, women's caps, aprons, and handkerchiefs starting in the 1760s and continuing to the present. Organdy is stiff and holds its shape well. In The Proceedings of the Old Bailey in London of 1771, "I lost two aprons a book muslin and a stript one".

Silks | Cottons

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