Thursday, January 29, 2009

Do You Know That.....

The American Civil War caused devastating shortages of all types of supplies used in normal day-to-day life before the war. The lack of Southern cotton and other textile products from the North created a nationwide shortage of dress and household goods of all types. There were often severe shortages of adequate clothing, warm blankets and even bandages, especially in the South.

Southern women searched out and used up every piece of textile they could find. They tore up their silk dresses, petticoats, extra curtains and bed linens to make simple, serviceable clothes for their families. They unraveled wool blankets or worn clothing to knit or crochet warm mittens, socks and hats.

These industrious women transformed items such as animal skins, blanket scraps and pieces of canvas into shoes. They also learned how to weave and spin, even using the cotton stuffing from their mattresses to spin into yarn, which, low grade and poor quality though it was, became knitted or crocheted items that helped their families survive.

During the same period, decorative trims such as braid and tape were not available, and women found it difficult to weave these types of trim narrow enough to be suitable for clothing. They discovered that long, crocheted chains of thread worked well for braid, applying it in a variety of ways from single chains to wider "tapes" made by sewing several chains of the same or different colors together.


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