Tuesday, 28 June 2011

18th Century Cloth Fabric Terminology.

Of Silk, Cotton, Linen and Wool

Boston Newsletter

June 25 - July 2 1772

Any person that has accasion to have any Linnen Cloth made into Buckram, or to buy buckram ready made, or Callendring any Silk, Watering, Dyeing or Scouring; they may apply themselves to Samuel Hall, lately from London, and Thomas Webber near the New North Brick Meeting House, or at their Work-House near the Bowling Green, Boston.

from The Beekman Mercantile Paper 1746 - 1799

18th Century Trade Terms


A LA MODE: thin, lightweight, glossy silk used for scarves and hoods

ALEPINE: (alapine, alpine) French word for Bombazine, dress material first made entirely of silk but later of silk and cotton.

BAISE: coarse woolen used especially for work clothes.

BALLINDINE: a white Turkish silk

BANDANNA: richly coloured silk handkerchief with spots left white or yellow; also a cotton of similar pattern.

BARCELONA HANDKERCHIEF: one made of soft twilled silk

BARLEYCORN STUFF: dress fabric characterized by small spots (1/3")

BASKET CLOTH: woolen characterized by small squares produced by the weave.

BAPTISTE: fine white linen of French or Flemish manufacture, much used for neckwear.

BEAVER CLOTH: heavily napped fabric in imitation of beaver fur used for coats and scarves.

BENGAL: light thin cloth made of silk and hair.

BIRD'S EYE STUFF: cotton or linen marked or spotted as if with bird's eyes.

BLANKET: any thick, heavy wool, cotton or combination wool and cotton, with a short nap on both sides; often a white or undyed woolen stuff used for clothing.

BLONE LACE: (blonde) a white silk pillow lace.

BOMBAZINE: dress material entirely of silk, later of silk and cotton

BROAD CLOTH: soft lustrous woolen with nap sheared close and pressed; also a fine, smooth surfaced cotton or silk.

BRUNSWICKS: twilled fabric made in Germany

BUCKRAM: coarse linen stiffened with gum or paste and used for linings.

BUNT: open-made worsted or cotton for flags.

CALENDAR: machine and rollers to press cloth to smooth or glaze or to give it a wavy appearance.

CALICO: cotton imported from Calicut, India, generally imported in natural color.

CALLAMANCO: plain or patterned woolen of Flemish or English manufacture, sometimes part silk or goat hair.

CAMBRIC: fine, thin white linen made in Cambrai, Flanders; also an imitation made from closely woven cotton.

CAMLET, CAMBLET: originally a costly fabric made from camel hair or angora wool; also a wide variety of similar cloth made from silk, wool, or combinations of fibres; camlets were characterized by silky texture and were often watered.

CASHMERE: the fine wool found beneath the hair of the goats of Kashir and Tibet; a soft twill fabric or shawl made from this.

CASSIMERE: medium weight woolen of soft texture used especially for men's clothing.

CHELLOES: an Indian fabric

CHEVIOT: woolen named for Scottish sheep - cloth has a hairy nap.

CHEVRETTE: thin goatskin used for gloves.

CHINTS: painted or stained calicoes from India, later a cotton cloth fast printed with designs in a number of colors, sometimes glazed

CHIP HATS: those made from wood or woody fibres split into thin strips.

CLOCK: ornamental pattern in silk thread worked on the side of a stocking or other garment.

DUCK: strong, untwilled linen or cotton, lighter and finer than canvas. Russian duck is coarse, heavy and unbleached but softer than English duck.

DUFFELS: coarse woolen with thick nap or frieze.

DURANT: thick, heavily felted woolen made to imitate buff leather also called Everlasting.

FELT: fabric of wool or wool and fur or hair, made by beating and rolling the fibers under moist heat; used not only in hats but if especially heavy, in carpets.

FERRET: strong tape of cotton or silk.

FLANNEL: loosely woven, lightweight woolen with slight nap.

FLORINTINE: rough material made from wild as opposed to cultivated silk, for curtains and parasols.

FRIEZE: coarse woolen with nap usually on one side only; cloth with looped pile.

FUSTIANS: coarse cloth of cotton and flax, thick twilled cotton with short nap.

GAUZE: thin transparent fabrics of silk, linen or cotton.

GIMP: In lace-making gimp is a coarse thread which forms the outline of the design; in curtains or furniture trimming gimp is a narrow band usually of silk or worsted with a cord running through it.

GROSGRAIN: (program) a coarse fabric of silk, of mohair and wool, or of these mixed with silk and often stiffened with gum; a particularly thick taffeta.

HOLLAND: a closely woven white linen used especially for shirts and bed linen.

HUCKABUCK: a stout linen fabric with the weft threads thrown up to form a rough surface; used especially for towels.

HUM-HUM: a coarse cotton of Indian origin used for lining coats.

JEAN: a stout twilled cotton cloth.

KENTING: a kind of fine linen named for its place of manufacture, the County of Kent.

KERSEY (karsey): a kind of coarse woolen cloth made chiefly in Kent and Devonshire.

LAWN: a kind of fine, thin linen of open texture.

LEVERET: the fur of a young rabbit.

LINSEY: probably short for linsey-woolsey; a coarse cloth made of linen and wool.

LORETTOS: a silk material used for waistcoats

LUNGI (lungee): a fabric of Indian origin made with richly colored silk and cotton.

LUSTRING (lutestring): a soft silk which might be either plain or flowered.

MOHAIR: yarn made from the hair of the Angorra goat; a fine camlet made from that yarn; imitations of the yarn or cloth.

MOREEN: a strong woolen or woolen and cotton material, often watered, used for curtains and in upholstery.

MUFFETEE: a muffler worn around the neck or a worsted cuff worn on the wrist.

MUSLIN: a general name for the most delicately woven cotton fabrics, especially those used for ladies dresses, curtains, etc.

NANKEEN: a sturdy brownish-yellow cloth produced in Nanking; imitations of that cloth.

OSNABURG (osnabrig): a coarse heavy linen made originally in Osnaburg, Germany, and used most often for sacking and bagging.

PADUASOY (paduasways, padersoy): a strong, corded or gros-grain silk worn by both sexes; made originally in Padua.

PATNA: an Indian chintz produced at the city of Patua

PEELING (pealong): a thin skin of fabric used as dress material.

PENCIL CALICO: that to which dye has been applied with an artists pencil (a brush designed for fine, delicate work).

PENISTONE (pennystone): a coarse woolen named for a town in Yorkshire, used for garments, linings.

PERSIAN: a thin soft silk used most often for linings

PILLOWS (pilloes): a kind of coarse fustian.

POPLIN: a ribbed dress fabric made of wool, silk and wool, cotton and wool, or other combinations; it is distinguished by fine warp yarns which cover completely the coarser yarns of the woof which form the ribs; the highly regarded Irish poplin was made of silk and wool.

PRINCES: a corded linen cloth.

PRUNELLA (prunellos): a strong fabric made from silk but later of worsted and used for men's gowns or later for the upper portions of women's shoes.

RATTEEN: a thick twilled woolen usually friezed or with a curled nap, but sometimes dressed similar to frieze.

SAGATHY: a light woolen stuff, a kind or serge or ratteen, sometimes mixed with a little silk.

SARSENET: a very fine and soft silk material made both plain and twilled in various colors and used especially for linings and ribbons.

SATIN: a silk fabric with a glossy surface, imitations of that cloth.

SATEEN: a cotton imitation of satin.

SERGE: a woolen fabric, a durable twilled cloth of wool or silk and wool.

SHAG: a worsted or silk cloth with a velvet nap, same as duffel.

SHALLOON: a closely woven woolen used chiefly for linings.

SHEETING: strong linen or cotton cloth used for bed linen.

SILESIAS: thin but coarse linen from Silesia, used for the backs of vests and for other clothing, also a cotton imitation.

SKEIN: a quantity of thread or yarn wound to a certain length on a reel; a skein of cotton is eighty turns of the thread on a reel 54 inches in circumference; the definition varies with other fibers.

STUFF: any woven textile, but especially woollen cloths without a nap.

SWANSKIN: a fine thick kind of flannel.

TABBY: a thick silk usually watered and stronger than taffeta

TAFFETA: a light thin silk of high luster used especially as a dress fabric.

TAMMY: a fine worsted cloth often glazed and usually highly colored.

THICKSET: a strong twilled cotton cloth with a very close nap, a kind of fustian.

TICK: a strong linen or cotton fabric woven in stripes and often in herringbone weave; it was used for upholstery and bedding.

VELVERET: a variety of fustian with a velvet surface.

VELVET: a silk fabric with a thick soft pile of short erect threads; sometimes a similar woolen cloth.

VELVETEEN: cotton imitation of velvet.

WILDBORE: a strong, closely woven, unglazed tammy.

WORSTED: a woolen fabric made from well-twisted yarn spun of long staple wool combed to lay the fibers parallel; also the yarn of which such cloth was made.


Anonymous said...

A wonderful list! You have a very interesting blog, and I will be referring my readers this way as they reflect on Independence Day! Thanks for sharing this.

- Mary, The Curious Quilter

Le Loup said...

Thank you Mary, & you are very welcome.