How To Dress Colonial

Dressing like the colonials can be a very daunting task, considering that most of their clothes were handmade. The clothing that they made usually consisted of wool, leather, and linen. They raised sheep for the sole purpose of getting their wool. The linen was obtained through planting flax plants.

After an animal was killed for food (buffalo or deer, usually) they would clean and dry out the skins to use for leather. Most of the shoes for men, women, and children, were also fashioned out of leather. The children were made to pick berries for the dye used in coloring the fabrics and were also often responsible for working at the spinning wheel. Girls learned to knit and sew at a very young age, while boys were responsible for tending the sheep and using the loom to weave. Everyone in the house contributed to the making of clothes.

Clothing differed from place to place; people in big cities were often wealthier and therefore wore fancier clothes compared to people that lived on farms. Poorer women often wore plain, cotton clothes which were made at home. Wealthy women would wear fancy gowns made of expensive material that they special ordered and had custom made. Women who did not work would wear a bodice with strings that tightened around their bodies to make for a more attractive frame; however, working women would not wear bodices because these prevented them from working.

Men wore wigs that were made from goat hair, horse hair, and cow hair. The daily attire for a middle or low class man were breeches, or pants, cut above the knee. Shirts were rather long, allowing them to tuck in the breeches much easier. They also wore stockings to cover their knees and shoes that were, of course, made with leather.

After children turned six they began dressing like their mothers and fathers; up until the age of six they would wear a gown with "leading strings". These strings were held by an adult to help the child who was learning to walk. Babies also wore something called a "pudding" or a padded roll, this was made to go around the forehead and protected babies from bumps when falling.

Everyone worked together to make their clothing in some way in the colonial times. They worked hard every day, and managed to come up with clothing that we, today, find beautiful and intriguing. If you are trying to make your own clothes so you can dress like the colonials, it's best to start with some research into the types of clothing they made.


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