How did the pioneers make their own clothes? (Part 3 of the Pioneer Series)

Updated: Aug 7, 2021

Thanks for stopping by for part three of the pioneer series! Today we're taking an in-depth look at how the pioneers made fabric and clothes!

Clothes are one form of shelter, and while the pioneers didn't have wardrobes the size of ours, today, most of their clothes would have been handmade by a woman in the family. Clothes could be purchased from a tailor in town, but few would have had enough money to buy new outfits each time one was needed.

Fabrics could be purchased, but for a homesteader with little money or far from town, they would have possessed the knowledge of looming. This is the process in which fabrics were made to be turned into skirts, shirts, pants and undergarments.

Cotton was not yet a common crop, and expensive, so most clothes were made from linen or wool. Linen was created from flax. A family of four would have required an acre of flax for a set of clothing. Pioneers harvested, and processed the crop by hand.

Here's a video of flax being processed by hand!

Here's a video of spinning flax into thread!

Here's a video of spinning wool into thread!

Wool is a common fabric we still use today. I prefer wool yarn when crocheting. It's warm, yet breathable and moisture-wicking. I imagine this would have been the ultimate winter-wear in those cold, wet climates! While we're on the subject of wool, hides from deer, slaughtered cows or rabbits would have been used for rugs, belts, shoes, bedding or clothing.

Here's a video of a deerskin process!

These fabrics would be dyed from various materials, such as berries or boiled roots.

Here's a video of fabric being dyed by natural means!

To sew these fabrics into clothes, thread would have been spun the same way as fabric thread, only spun into a smaller strand. Bone needles were used. Before sewing, patterns were created by hand.

Here's a video of fabric being loomed- the old fashioned way!

Clothes were mended and recycled as much as possible, with parents clothes used for children and children's clothes passed down again and again. Clothes would have been used until they were no longer usable.

If you're interested in creating your own pioneer-themed outfits, check out this blog!

That's it for this post! Thank you for stopping in and don't forget to check out Friday's part FOUR of the Pioneer Series!


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