Finding fabric was a bit of a chore, but not altogether impossible. There were a couple of fabrics I couldn’t find and am not sure whether they’re even made anymore. However, finding suitable, appropriate fabrics is totally do-able.
The mantua dress, sack dress, and pet en l’air are all made of silk taffeta. This is something readily available today, and while not *exactly* the same as the 18th century variety, it’s not far off.
The quilted petticoat is actually made from a pile of silk satin scraps I had lying around and which I just tea-stained to get the colour. Luckily for me, the tea-staining process softened the silk satin (which had been too stiff compared to historical examples) to exactly the same hand as the artefact petticoats I’ve examined.
The printed cotton jacket and matching petticoat came from a supplier of reproduction cotton prints in the US, with very reasonable prices I might add!
The navy wool for the riding habit also came from my own stash (like the blue silk for the sack, the tawny brown silk for the pet en l’air, and the quilted petticoat silk). This was simply purchased at my local Fabricland in the discount section for a ridiculously low price (something like $2/m) – I love it when they don’t know what they’ve got! lol
The navy velvet used as an accent on the riding habit is a silk pile velvet with a stiff cotton backing. It is only about 18″ wide, and its characteristics lead me to believe that it comes from at least the early 20th century. I found it in a wool fabric store on Queen St in Toronto several years ago and just snatched it up on a whim! It was pur coincidence that it matched so well with the worsted wool I got from Fabricland to make a pretty yummy riding habit.
Ummmm…..the wool satin for the stays came from another online fabric shop (I’ve started a page of suppliers, but have woefully neglected it, I will get back to it – I promise!).
Other than that, the garments are all lined with a plainweave bleached or unbleached linen that I picked up here and there; the boning and cane for the stays and hoop petticoat came from Grannd Companies; threads and other miscellaneous stuff came from other suppliers in the US that specialize in selling to re-enactors.
One of the reasons I chose to make clothing for the middle class was because I knew it would be both bloody hard and damn expensive to get suitable silk brocades.