96 District Fabrics
96 District Fabrics has a decent selection of historically accurate fabrics for the 18th and 19th century. If you buy from them make sure you are buying 100% natural fibers, as well as avoiding the 19th-century fabrics. Unfortunately, they don’t currently have an online storefront but can be found at market fairs and larger events.
Burnley and Trowbridge is a Williamsburg-based sutler that caters to the 18th and early 19th centuries.They carry fabrics, notions, accessories, and shoes.They are both incredibly knowledgeable and helpful for those with questions.
Decorative Silk is a good source for 100% silk taffeta ONLY. Check that fabric is 100% silk before buying. Embroidered silk is NOT appropriate.
Denver Fabrics has wonderful deals on wools and linens. Read fabric description to ensure that you are buying 100% natural fibers and a color and weave appropriate to the 18th century.
Fabric_Store carries reasonably priced linens of various weights. Stick to the solid colors and stripes. Some of their checks may also be appropriate if the pattern can be found in extant clothing. Note: Do NOT use IL030 for shifts and caps. This is not an appropriate fabric for the 18th century as the weight is achieved by weaving the fibers very loosely. Use IL020 instead.
Their Barry Linen, Warsa linen, and Handkerchief linen are appropriate.
Liberty Linens sells appropriate linens and wools.
Renaissance Fabrics has a moderate selection of wools, linens, and silks for various time periods. Ensure that you are buying 18th-century appropriate fabrics.
Wm. Booth Draper is a Wisconsin-based sutler who sells quality fabric and notions for the 1700s and early 1800s.
I’m adding Vogue Fabrics to this page for those of you who make stays. The 5mm German Plastic boning works well for stays.
Although Najecki Reproductions caters more toward the soldiers, there are some items for civilians including wool, buttons, clasps, etc. Note: Najecki does not accept orders online. Order forms must be printed and mailed.
The Wig Dresser creates 18th-century wigs from various different years. While not appropriate for a camp follower impression, her wigs are just the ticket for a high-class impression.
Note: Use patterns with caution. These patterns were chosen because they are the closest to authentic clothing. These are not 100% correct, however, and may not be appropriate to your specific persona. If possible, take the classes offered by Burnley and Trowbridge. These classes are presented by the tailors and mantua makers of Colonial Williamsburg, will un-train you from modern sewing techniques, and will demystify 18th clothing construction.
At the Sign of the Golden Scissors
This is a newer website established by Hallie Larkin, a longtime New England reenactor. She now sells some self-made patterns based of extant clothing, clothing kits, and a few pre made clothing items. She takes a unique approach to historical patterns by not giving instructions for modern clothing construction and extensively explaining how to do it the historical way. If you cannot take the Burnley and Trowbridge classes, these patterns are the next best thing. Most of her patterns are staple items (eg, shirt and shift) or harder to find patterns such as bonnets and mitts.
Kannick’s Korner sells patterns for approximately 1730 through 1830. This website includes patterns for men and women as well as children and infants. Note: Some patterns (especially the caps and bonnet patterns) span several years within a single pattern. Ensure that the specifics are appropriate to the Revolutionary War time period.
Mara Riley sells knitted hand wear and headwear digital patterns at a reasonable price. If you buy through her you must use PayPal and pay close attention to each page. It’s easy to miss the link to download the digital pattern. Wm. Booth Draper also sells these patterns if you’d prefer to go through them.
First off, I recommend that you make your own clothing. It can be surprisingly easy and is extremely rewarding. If you have already discussed clothing with the Quartermaster or Quartermistress and they have not convinced you that this is something you REALLY CAN DO, then here are a few sources for appropriate clothing. Yes, clothing is a bit on the expensive side. Yes, it is worth every penny for authenticity, durability, and comfort.
If you have NOT discussed clothing with the Quartermaster or Quartermistress and are DETERMINED to buy, that’s OK! However, shoot them an email and double check that what you’re buying is correct. Don’t waste money on items that you may be asked to replace.
The following suppliers have very good clothing and are worth considering purchasing from.
- Note 1: If you see anything that is close but not quite what you’re looking for, contact the supplier and ask. They may have it in stock but not listed on the website or they might be willing to custom make a garment. The worst that can happen is that they say no.
- Note 2: Men, you may be better off going through a Regimental source. The Quartermaster can help you with that.
- Note 3: If you simply MUST purchase from Jas Townsend and Son, Inc., there are VERY FEW items that will be accepted by the 1VA. Ask first!
Fashions Revisited offers items for men, women, and children. The majority of their wares are a bit on the upper class side; however, things like shifts, caps, and body shirts should be fine.
The Village Green Clothier
This website is run by Sharon Burnston, a New England reenactor. She sells various different Women’s clothes that have been well researched.
Silly Sisters is a Virginia-based sutler that carries excellent stays kits as well as premade clothing. The majority of their clothing is authentic; however, there are some exceptions so buy intelligently. They are mail order only. You can email them your order request; however, they will not ship until you mail them a check in payment. Unfortunately, they do not currently have a web presence. They can be found at events such as the Fort Frederick Market Fair and the Mt. Vernon Mountain Fair.