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

Wool Broadcloth

Broadcloth in the 18th century was a 100% wool, plain weave fabric made from the best carded wool and used to make men's breeches, waistcoats, jackets, coats and greatcoats and women's cloaks. We always keep a selection of broadcloths in stock because of the demand for them. In addition to our permanent stock, we keep a large rotating selection of fabrics. For amounts over 10 yards please ask us for availability. We have 100% linen and silk thread to match most colors in different weights. Much of the information on these pages is gathered from Swatches: A Guide to Choosing 21st Century Fabrics for 18th Century Clothing which has swatches you can feel and for a wider view of fabrics imported to the Americas try Textiles in America 1650-1870.

Broadcloth | Worsted Fabric | Flannel | Bay | Jean Cloth/Virginia Cloth | Specialty Weaves

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Wool broadcloth for 14th century, 15th century, 16th century, 17th century, 18th century, and 19th century reenactors, nautical historians and museum interpreters.

Broadcloth, 100% wool, Navy Blue, 24 oz., 60" wide, $27/yd.
WWB 750

This wool was intended for the New York City police department which has very strict quality standards. Every yard of this fabric has been stamped with chalk once inspected but it will easily brush out. Navy Blue was a very common color for wool throughout the 18th and 19th centuries. For example in The Virginia Gazette of 1774, "Run away . . .  an Irish Servant Man . . .  wears . . .  a blue Broadcloth Coat". For hand sewing, navy blue 35/2 linen thread would work very well. For sewing button holes try navy blue silk button hole twist or quilter's thread.

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Wool broadcloth for 14th century, 15th century, 16th century, 17th century, 18th century, and 19th century reenactors, nautical historians and museum interpreters.

Broadcloth, 100% wool, Navy Blue, ~15 oz., 60" wide, $25/yd.
WWB 850

This fabric is slightly lighter in weight and color than WWB 750. Navy blue was a very common color for wool throughout the 18th and 19th centuries. For example in The Virginia Gazette of 1774, "Run away . . .  an Irish Servant Man . . .  wears . . .  a blue Broadcloth Coat". For hand sewing, navy blue 35/2 linen thread would work very well. For sewing button holes try navy blue silk button hole twist or quilter's thread.

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Wool broadcloth fabric swatch for 14th century, 15th century, 16th century, 17th century, 18th century, and 19th century re-enactors, military historians, and museum interpreters.

Broadcloth, 85% wool/15% nylon, Sky Blue, 21 oz., 60" wide, $34.95/yd.
WWW 108

This sky blue broadcloth is often used for the 1862-1871 US army infantry trousers but can be used for civilian clothing as well. For example in The Kentucky Gazette of 1794, "Run away . . .  a negro fellow . . .  had on when he went away, a half worn sky blue broad cloath coat". Hand sewing in 50/3 pale blue linen thread is a good weight and color match. For sewing button holes try blue silk button hole twist or quilter's thread.

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Wool broadcloth for 18th century, and early 19th century reenactors, nautical historians and museum interpreters.

Broadcloth, 100% wool, Mixed Blue, 60" wide, ~17 oz., $27.50/yd.
WWB 810

Mixed blue is the color of some modern cadet's coats but was sometimes used in the 18th century for working class garments. As advertised in The Virginia Gazette of 1775 "RUN away . . .  two indented SERVANTS, one a Scotchman . . .  by Trade a Gardener . . .  had on, and took with him . . .  a mixed blue Cloth Coat and Jacket, lined and trimmed with black". Medium blue 50/3 linen thread is a bit lighter than this wool but is the best match.

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Wool broadcloth for 18th century, and early 19th century reenactors, nautical historians and museum interpreters.

Broadcloth, 100% wool, Mixt Grey, 60" wide, ~17 oz., $25/yd.
WWB 807

Mixt gray broadcloth was used for hundreds of years by farmers, sailors and other laboring people up to and including the 19th century. This wool was used to make English civil war army coats, some Continental regimentals such as the 3rd New York Reg't of 1775, late War of 1812 US Rifle Regiment Coatees and War of 1812 British Army enlisted trousers. The use of this cloth continued in both armys well into the 1830s. For example advertised in The Virginia Gazette of 1775 "RUN away . . .  two Irish Servant Men . . .  [one] had on, when he went away, a gray Mixture Broadcloth Coat trimmed with black". Unbleached linen thread 35/2 for hand sewing matches this fabric best and for sewing button holes you might try gray silk button hole twist.

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Wool broadcloth for 14th century, 15th century, 16th century, 17th century, 18th century, and 19th century reenactors, nautical historians and museum interpreters.

Broadcloth, 100% wool, black, 60" wide, 15-18 oz., $25/yd.
WWB 849

Black broadcloth was nice to wear before modern laundry since it does not show the dirt. This black coating has a full nap on both sides and is tightly woven. An example from London's Proceedings of the Old Bailey in 1732 includes "the Prosecutor came in, dress'd in a black Coat, a white Waistcoat, and black Breeches". Black linen thread 35/2 for hand sewing matches this fabric best. For sewing button holes try black silk button hole twist or quilter's thread. The black worsted wool tape is very close in color to this fabric. Matching tape is sometimes what is seen for ties of women's cloaks.

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Wool broadcloth for 14th century, 15th century, 16th century, 17th century, 18th century, and 19th century reenactors, nautical historians and museum interpreters.

Broadcloth, 100% wool, black, 60" wide, 15-18 oz., $25/yd.
WWV 559

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Black broadcloth was nice to wear before modern laundry since it does not show dirt. This black coating has a full nap on the outside and has a coarser feel than WWB 849. An example from The Providence Gazette in 1777 includes "Deserted from Capt. Tew’s Company, in Col. Angell’s regiment . . .  [the first man] says he was born in Philadelphia: Had on, when he went away, a black Broadcloth Jacket with Sleeves [the other] . . .  has on, when he went away, a black Broadcloth Jacket, with Sleeves" as cited in personal communication with Mike Barbieri. Black linen thread 35/2 for hand sewing matches this fabric best. For sewing button holes try black silk button hole twist or quilter's thread. The black worsted wool tape is very close in color to this fabric. Matching tape is sometimes what is seen for ties of women's cloaks.

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Wool broadcloth for 18th century, and early 19th century reenactors, nautical historians and museum interpreters.

Broadcloth, 100% wool, Mix'd Olive, 60" wide, 15-18 oz., $27.50/yd.
WWB 836

The easiest green to dye are shades of olive. This would make a very nice man's coat, waistcoats, breeches, jacket or woman's cloak. For example in a London trial of two house theives recorded in The Proceedings of the Old Bailey of 1731 one of the theives was described as wearing a number of items but "sometimes an olive-colour'd Suit." Unbleached 35/2 linen thread will blend with the mixed color for hand sewing.

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Broadcloth, 90% wool, 5% cashmere, 5% nylon, Olive Green, 59" wide, ~17 oz., $25.00/yd.
WWV 554

This is a soft woolen with a full nap on one side and a good nap on the other. Olive broadcloths are commonly described in the 18th and early 19th centuries. An example from London's Proceedings of the Old Bailey in 1784 the jury asked a witness was asked "What coloured coat had he on at that time? - I think it was an olive green." Light green linen thread is too light but is the best match for hand sewing. For hand sewing button holes green is too dark so buff buttonhole twist might be better.

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Wool broadcloth for 18th century, and early 19th century reenactors, nautical historians and museum interpreters.
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Wool broadcloth for 18th century, and early 19th century reenactors, nautical historians and museum interpreters.

Broadcloth, 90% wool, 5% cashmere, 5% nylon, Olive Colour'd, 59" wide, ~17 oz., $25.00/yd.
WWV 553

This is a soft woolen with a full nap on one side and a good nap on the other. Olive broadcloths are commonly described in the 18th and early 19th centuries. An example from London's Proceedings of the Old Bailey in 1760 a servant was asked to "fetch me a coat from thence, saying, he would find an olive-colour coat there" Green linen thread will be the best match for hand sewing. For hand sewing button holes try the nothing matches so the best option would likely be buff buttonhole twist.

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Wool broadcloth for 18th century, and early 19th century reenactors, nautical historians and museum interpreters.

Broadcloth, 100% wool, Greyish Olive, 59" wide, ~20 oz., $25.00/yd.
WWB 883

This thick wool broadcloth has a full nap on both sides but one side has a soft smooth finish. The easiest green to dye are shades of olive but this has considerable grey in the dye. This would make an earthy man's coat, waistcoats, breeches, jacket or greatcoat. For example (thanks to the work of Mike Barbieri) advertised in The Boston Post Boy of 1767 "Ran away . . .  an Irish indented Servant . . .  had on when he went away . . .  a greyish colour’d thick Jacket". Black 35/2 linen thread is the best match for hand sewing. For sewing button holes try black silk quilter's thread or buttonhole twist.

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Wool broadcloth for 18th century, and early 19th century reenactors, nautical historians and museum interpreters.

Broadcloth, 90% wool, 5% cashmere, 5% nylon, Green, 59" wide, ~17 oz., $25.00/yd.
WWV 555

This is a soft woolen with a full nap on one side and a good nap on the other. This is a hunter green similar to WWB 187 but thicker and softer. For example (thanks to the work of Mike Barbieri) advertised in The Boston Gazette of 1770 "RAN-away . . .  an indented Servant Boy . . .  He went away in Company with a short thick sett Fellow, who wore a green Coat and a green Jacket double breasted". Green linen thread matches this for hand sewing. For hand sewing buttonholes green buttonhole twist or quilter's thread matches well.

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Wool broadcloth fabric swatch for 14th century, 15th century, 16th century, 17th century, 18th century, and 19th century re-enactors, military historians, and museum interpreters.

Broadcloth, 85% wool/15% nylon, Green, 21 oz., 60" wide, $34.95/yd.
WWW 107

This green is used by the loyalist regiments including 1st Americans and Butler's Rangers. Green was also sometimes worn by civilians. For example in New Jersey in 1780 a man broke out of jail wearing "a green coat". Hand sewing in 50/3 dark green linen thread is a good weight. For sewing button holes try green silk button hole twist or quilter's thread.

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Wool fabric.

Woolen, 100% wool, Green, ~15 oz., 57" wide, $25.00/yd.
WWB 187

This is a true green twill wool with little nap on either side but a bit tight to call a broadcloth. This woolen will make a nice man's coat, waistcoat, breeches, or jacket. For example taken from personal communication with Mike Barbieri in the The Connecticut Courant of 1775, "RAN-away . . .  who has stolen several bags and other things . . .  Had on when he went away a green or brown surtout coat, green double breasted jacket, green trowsers, and commonly wears a green cap.". Green linen thread is a good match for hand sewing. For sewing button holes try green silk buttonhole twist.

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Woolen beaver coating for 18th century, and early 19th century reenactors, nautical historians and museum interpreters.

Broadcloth, 100% wool, Drab Coloured, 59" wide, 15-18 oz., $25/yd.
WWB 184

Drab broadcloth was another common color used for men's coats, greatcoats, waistcoats, breeches, jackets and for women's cloaks. For example "RAN away . . .  a Convict Boy . . .  He had on and took away with him . . .  a drab coloured Jacket and Breeches" advertised in The Virginia Gazette of 1767. Unbleached linen thread 35/2 for hand sewing matches this fabric best. For hand sewing button holes try the beigh quilter's thread or drab buttonhole twist.

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Wool fabric for colonial costume

Broadcloth, 100% wool, Brown, 61" wide, ~15 oz., $25/yd.
WWB 880

This is a thinly woven, firm dark chocolate colored woolen with a goog nap on both sides. This might be called a superfine although it is not as tight and firm. Brown broadcloths are very commonly described in the 18th and early 19th centuries. In The Providence Gazette in 1772 Rhode Island, "RAN away . . .  a bound Servant . . .  had on, and took with him . . .  a dark brown Broadcloth double-brested short Jacket . . .  He can work at Farming Business, has worked in a Forge, and is given to Gaming, mostly Hustlecap." cited in Taylor, Runaways, Deserters, and Notorious Villains From Rhode Island Newspapers Volume 1, 2001. Black linen thread 50/3 will be the best match for hand sewing. For hand sewing button holes try the brown quilter's thread or dark brown buttonhole twist.

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Wool fabric.

Kersey, 100% wool, Mixed Brown, ~15 oz., 62" wide, $25.00/yd.
WWN 194

This is a firm, twill, mixed chocolate colored woolen with a good nap on one side. Brown kerseys are very commonly described in the 18th and early 19th centuries. For example from personal communication with Mike Barbieri in The Newport Mercury in 1764 there were "ran-away . . .  three Servants, viz. . . .  both Irishmen, and [a man from] New-England . . .  They had on brown Kersey Jackets." Black 35/2 linen thread is the best match for hand sewing. For hand sewing button holes try the brown quilter's thread or dark brown buttonhole twist.

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Wool broadcloth for colonial costume

Broadcloth, 90% wool, 5% cashmere, 5% nylon, Chocolate Brown, 59" wide, ~17 oz., $25/yd.
WWV 549

This is a soft woolen with a full nap. Brown broadcloths are very commonly described in the 18th and early 19th centuries. In the 1775 The Connecticut Journal it is advertised, "Run away . . .  an apprentice lad . . .  had on and took with him a . . .  brown broadcloth jacket, homespun ditto with sleeves" by personal communication with Mike Barbieri. Cinnamon brown 35/2 linen thread will be the best match for hand sewing. For hand sewing button holes try the brown buttonhole twist.

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Melton wool for colonial costume

Broadcloth, 90% wool, 5% cashmere, 5% nylon, Brown, 59" wide, ~17 oz., $25/yd.
WWV 551

This medium brown woolen has a full nap. Brown broadcloths are very commonly described in the 18th and early 19th centuries. This wool coating could be used to make a man's coat, greatcoat, waistcoat, breeches or jacket. It could also be used for a woman's cloak. For example from personal communication with Mike Barbieri in the 1772 Boston Evening Post an ad included, "Ran away . . .  an indented Man Servant . . .  had when he went away . . .  one Suit of Brown Cloaths . . .  carried with him . . .  two old brown Jackets.". Brown linen threadwill be the best match for hand sewing. For hand sewing button holes try the brown quilter's thread or dark brown buttonhole twist.

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Wool broadcloth for colonial costume

Broadcloth, 90% wool, 5% cashmere, 5% nylon, Light Brown, 59" wide, ~17 oz., $25/yd.
WWV 552

This is a soft woolen with a full nap. Brown broadcloths are very commonly described in the 18th and early 19th centuries. In the 1772 The Connecticut Courant it is advertised, "run away . . .  an Apprentice . . .  has with him . . .  a light brown coating Surtout" by personal communication with Mike Barbieri. Cinnamon brown 35/2 linen thread will be the best match for hand sewing. For hand sewing button holes try the buff buttonhole twist.

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Woolen broadcloth fabric swatch for 14th century, 15th century, 16th century, 17th century, 18th century, and 19th century re-enactors, military historians, and museum interpreters.

Broadcloth, 85% wool/15% nylon, natural white, 21 oz., 60" wide, $34.95/yd.
WWW 104

White wool was used for the small clothes of many military regiments and is a common color for civilian clothes. This is a good choice for clothing the lower sort since no expense was spent on dye. For example in 1776 an apprentice from New Jersey ran away with "a white cloth coat". Off white linen thread 60/2, 50/3, and 35/2 for hand sewing and 1/2" and 7/8" white worsted wool tape matches this fabric. Matching tape is usually what is seen for ties of cloaks. For sewing button holes try ivory silk button hole twist or quilter's thread.

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Broadcloth, Wine Colour'd, 80% Wool, 10% Cashmere, 10% Nylon, 59" Wide, $25.00/yd.
WWV 558

Wool with a full very soft nap on one side is well suited to a man's coat, jacket or breeches or woman's cloak. For example from personal communication with Mike Barbieri in The New-London Gazette of 1772, "Run away . . .  [a] round favor’d, thick set [man] . . .  Wore away . . .  wine colour’d woollen breeches". Claret linen thread and claret quilter's thread both match this fabric.

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Wool flannel fabric swatch for 14th century, 15th century, 16th century, 17th century, 18th century, and 19th century re-enactors, military historians, and museum interpreters.
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Broadcloth, Crimson, 80% Wool/10% Cashmere/10% Nylon, 59" Wide, $25.00/yd.
WWV 545

Wool with a full very soft nap on one side is well suited to a man's coat, jacket or breeches or woman's cloak. For example in The New-London Gazette of 1773, "Run away . . .  two Negro Men, one . . .  [wore a] red Broadcloth Waistcoat, crimson trim’d" by personal communication with Mike Barbieri. Claret linen thread and crimson quilter's thread both match this fabric well.

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Wool flannel fabric swatch for 14th century, 15th century, 16th century, 17th century, 18th century, and 19th century re-enactors, military historians, and museum interpreters.
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Scarlet wool broadcloth swatch for 14th century, 15th century, 16th century, 17th century, 18th century, and 19th century reenactors, nautical historians and museum interpreters.

Broadcloth, 85% wool/15% nylon, scarlet red, 21 oz., 60" wide, $34.95/yd.
WWW 102

Scarlet red was a more expensive dye obtained from an insect called Cochineal. Because of this scarlet was usually used in more expensive garments and officer's uniforms. Nonetheless it was used by the poor as well. For example in 1775 in The Virginia Gazette, "RUN away . . .  a servant man, by trade a joiner . . .  had on a . . .  scarlet waistcoat, and crimson breeches". Scarlet red linen thread 50/3 for hand sewing and 1/2" and 7/8" red worsted wool tape matches this fabric. Matching tape is usually what is seen on women's cloaks which were commonly red in England and Virginia and probably other areas. For sewing button holes try scarlet silk button hole twist or quilter's thread.

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Wool broadcloth for 14th century, 15th century, 16th century, 17th century, 18th century, and 19th century reenactors, nautical historians and museum interpreters.

Broadcloth, 80% Wool/10% Cashmere/10% Nylon, Red, 61" wide, ~16 oz., $25/yd.
WWV 547

This wool is wonderfully soft with a full nap on one side. This would make a very nice man's coat, jacket, breeches or greatcoat or woman's cloak. For example in The New-Hampshire Gazette of 1775, "Deserted from the Brig Unity . . .  a Sailor . . .  had on when he went away a short red Jacket" by personal communication with Mike Barbieri. Red 35/2 linen thread and both 1/2" and 7/8" worsted wool tape matches this fabric. For sewing button holes try scarlet silk button hole twist or quilter's thread.

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Madder red wool swatch for 14th century, 15th century, 16th century, 17th century, 18th century, and 19th century reenactors, nautical historians and museum interpreters.

Broadcloth, 85% wool/15% nylon, madder red, 21 oz., 60" wide, $34.95/yd.
WWW 103

Madder red comes from a dye extracted from the root of a plant and was therefore much less expensive than red obtained form Cochineal. Because of this, madder was the red of choice for British enlisted soldiers and of the poor. Although red broadcloth could be used for any garment it seems to be common to find red waistcoats. For example in 1770 in The Virginia Gazette, "RUN away . . .  an English servant man . . .  a plaisterer by trade, and a very artful sensible fellow. He had on a . . .  red cloth waistcoat". Madder red 50/3 linen thread is an almost perfect match and for sewing button holes try madder red silk button hole twist.

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Wool broadcloth for 14th century, 15th century, 16th century, 17th century, 18th century, and 19th century reenactors, nautical historians and museum interpreters.

Broadcloth, 80% wool/10% cashmere/10% nylon, Medium Madder Red, 59" wide, ~16 oz., $25/yd.
WWV 546

Wool with a very soft nap on one side but not too thick is well suited to a man's coat, jacket, waistcoats or breeches or woman's cloak. For example in The Providence Gazette of 1771, "RUN away . . .  an Apprentice Lad . . .  had on a took with him . . .  a red Jacket" by personal communication with Mike Barbieri. Madder red linen thread matches this fabric. For sewing button holes try madder red silk button hole twist.

Add Medium Madder Red Broadcloth WWV 546 to Cart

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Wool broadcloth for 14th century, 15th century, 16th century, 17th century, 18th century, and 19th century reenactors, nautical historians and museum interpreters.

Broadcloth, 80% wool/10% cashmere/10% nylon, Light Madder Red, 59" wide, ~16 oz., $25/yd.
WWV 548

Madder red comes from a dye extracted from the root of a plant and was therefore much less expensive than red obtained form Cochineal but this cheaper dye is an orangey red rather than a true red. Because of this, madder was the red of choice for British enlisted soldiers and of the poor. This madder is a lighter shade than that used for British infantry uniforms but will work well for someone who wants an inexpensive red for their impression but does not want to look like a British soldier. Wool with a very soft nap on one side but not too thick is well suited to men's coats, jackets, breeches or greatcoats or women's cloaks. For example in The Virginia Gazette of 1751, "The said Runaway went off with the Wife of the Subscriber . . .  She is a neat Woman in Sewing, Spinning, and knitting Stockngs, and can do almost any Manner of Taylors Work, but is oblig'd to use Spectacles when at Work. She took with her . . .  a red Cloak". Madder red 50/3 linen thread matches this fabric. For sewing button holes try madder red silk button hole twist.

Add Light Madder Red Broadcloth WWV 548 to Cart

Broadcloth | Worsted Fabric | Flannel | Bay | Jean Cloth/Virginia Cloth | Specialty Weaves

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