Period Dress Project – Part 1

I am embarking upon my most ambitious project yet in weaving.

The fall and winter reenacting season is upon us here in Texas and if one had the time they could be out every weekend somewhere either participating in early Texas – Tex Rev or in Texas – Civil War history. It is all lots of fun and a real escape from our modern world and problems.

For some time I have been wanting to weave at least a skirt to wear, so when people ask, I can say more than – “Yes, I sewed my dress,” followed with talk about piping or cartridge pleats (that is an exercise in patience) as the conversation goes depending on whichever dress I am wearing.

But my dream is to say, “Yes, I wove the fabric for this dress and sewed it.” In both eras of Texas history women had to spin and weave their homes needs as cloth was hard to find and could get very expensive. Before the end of the American Civil War, 1861-65, if you found a good calico cloth it could be priced as high as $25 a yard. Just plain cotton cloth, if found, went for $5 – $10 a yard. Needless to say home wheels and looms were busy to clothe Texans.

So I finally have my warp on the warp beam of the loom.

Warp beam ready for next step.

Warp beam ready for next step.

This is really going to be period in look. I had two large cones of white cottolin and this great green cotton. So I started doing stripes. Of course the green ran out and so I moved on to a lesser loved green and at the very end it ran out so there are a few strands of a third green in the far right green inch. Think it will look like it was all naturally dyed and of course didn’t all come out the same? I am not worried about the three different shades though some may think it wrong, but that was what was on the shelf and needless to say – neither time period that I will be wearing it, will care.

I did wind a 9 yard warp at 36 inches wide. I really am hoping that it goes so well that once I have a descent skirt, I will also be able to make a top to go with it. It will be fun to do. (Fingers crossed) Hopefully on the other side of this project something to be proud of.

So now off to start threading the heddles and continue on this journey.

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