Category Archives: Textiles

Basotho Heritage Blankets

Blankets featured in the film Black Panther were manufactured in Randfontein, a small mining town in South Africa by a company called Aranda Textile Mills. The company was started by Dr. Magni, an Italian who immigrated to South Africa with … Continue reading

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Canadian Fashion Connection – Newlands

Andrew Newlands was born in Scotland in 1840, and was married with two children when he immigrated with his family to Canada in the late 1860s. In the 1871 census he is recorded as working as the superintendent of a … Continue reading

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Sea Silk

Sea silk is a rare textile made from byssus, silky filaments made of proteins hardened upon contact with seawater secreted by mollusks to attach themselves to the sea bed. The Pinna nobilis (aka pen shells), which can be up to a metre in length … Continue reading

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Ersatz – German Paper Fashions from the Great War

The Great War caused great shortages of wool, leather, and linen – materials required for making uniforms and airplane wings. These materials were in especially short supply in Germany and Austria where paper was developed as a substitute textile for … Continue reading

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Mending bags and Minivans

This sack came to the museum with a donation of pre 1940 clothing. I am not sure of the sack’s original purpose, but it was being used as a mending/laundry bag. What attracted my interest was that it had no … Continue reading

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The First Paper Clothing Fad: 1889 – 1893

The late 1960s fad for disposable paper clothing resulted in some mad, mod dresses in flower power prints, but this was the second time paper clothing was a fad. The first time was 80 years earlier, and it all began … Continue reading

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Canadian Fashion Connection – Berlin Felt and Rumpel Felt Companies

Born in Saxony on May 10, 1850, (Johann) George Rumpel completed his schooling at the age of fourteen and then apprenticed as a shoemaker with a three year  indenture. George then followed his two older brothers example & immigrated to … Continue reading

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Mary Humphries, 1926 – 2018

I just read that Canadian fibre/fabric specialist and author Mary Humphries passed away February 22 at the age of 92. Born in Evanston, Illinois, she grew up in Thornhill, Ontario, and received her MA from University College, University of Toronto. … Continue reading

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A visit to the Mississippi Valley Textile Museum

The Mississippi Valley Textile Museum (MVTM) is located in an 1860s woollen mill in Almonte, Ontario, (west of Ottawa.) The museum preserves early machinery, local mill history, and early Canadian textile history. Before I go any further let’s clear up … Continue reading

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Nettles for Textiles

In Germany during World War 1, nettles were used for creating textiles for making underwear and bandages. This film shows the process of how this plant is transformed from a stinging weed into a useful textile fibre.

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