"Clothes and manners do not make the man; but when he is made, they greatly improve his appearance." - Henry Ward Beecher
In the early 1700's people very rarely bought their clothes or fabrics. Most people made their own clothing using natural items such as wool, flax, or animal hides. They grew the flax plant to make the linen thread and raised sheep for the wool. A spinning wheel was used to make thread from the wool or flax which was then woven into fabric or knitted into socks, hats, scarves, or mittens. Roots and berries were gathered to make dye to color the thread. Sewing was done by hand using strong tiny stitches that would hold clothes together through years of wear. Clothing was passed down in the family until worn out and the fabric would then be used for patchwork quilts, potholders, cleaning rags, or other uses.
Usually a person would have only two sets of clothing, one for everyday and one for Sunday. They would wear the same thing almost every day. Bright colored clothing was popular. Yellow, red, purple, and blue seemed to be favored. Black was not a popular color of the time, except for Sundays or formal occasions.
Men did not wear long pants. Women kept their elbows and knees covered at all times. After the age or four or five, boys dressed similar to their fathers and girls dressed like their mothers. Shoemakers would make shoes that fit either foot. There was no right or left shoe.
Click below to learn more and view some typical clothing of the 1700's.