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

Books: Textiles

On this page we cater to aficionados who want to know more about the fabrics and techniques involved in authentic costume-design. Here are historic, scholarly and contemporary works on textiles, weaving, embroidery, and lace-making.

Costume | Accessories | Zeitgeist | Re-enacting | Textiles | Techniques

The Exeter Cloth Dispatch Book, 1763-1765

Edited by Todd Gray

new Now in stock!

This book reproduces a newly discovered manuscript detailing the exports of Claude Passavant, a Swiss émigré merchant. Passavant's dispatch book comprises the most extensive surviving collection of Devon cloth with 2,475 surviving cloth samples died in many colors and including many weaves. Thirteen chapters discuss the local and wider contexts of 18th century cloth making. This study explores the quality, range, and vibrancy of cloth that lead to Exeter becoming an internationally renowned center for the manufacture and trade of woolen cloth.


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The Exeter Cloth Dispatch Book, 1763-1765 edited by Todd Gray book cover

Threads of Feeling: The London Foundling Hospital's Textile Tokens, 1740-1770

By John Styles

What has become recognized as Britain's largest collection of everyday textiles from the mid 18th century, Threads of Feeling illustrates and describes an overview of the textiles. From 1742 to 1760 over 4000 babies were left by their mothers at the Foundling Hospital. Samples were taken of the mother's or baby's garments for identification records. This book sheds a revealing light on the type of clothing worn by ordinary people of the mid 18th century. Threads of Feeling is the museum exhibit catalogue by the curator John Styles who is also the author of The Dress of the People. If you like this book you might consider Fate, Hope and Charity

Costume | Accessories | Zeitgeist | Re-enacting | Textiles | Techniques