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Man’s Shirt

Curated Submission
Quebec, Canada
DIMENSIONS in centimetres
141.5 x 84
Materials & techniques
Wool; Hand-spun, hand woven, hand-sewn
Dr. Howard Gorman
Textile Museum of Canada T90.0078
Survival of early hand-woven Canadian clothing is rare: children’s shirts and dresses were most often worn out by siblings in the family, while adult clothing was reused for making mats and quilts. This shirt was woven from hand-spun wool that probably came from the family’s sheep, was dyed within the household, and sewn by hand and machine.
The bark, roots, and leaves of local plants were the sources of an array of colours for dyes. Imported dyes were also used, such as madder root, which produces red. Dyeing required knowledge of complicated recipes. Wool took the dyes better than cotton and linen, and could be dyed in a variety of colours. This shirt was most likely made for a special occasion as scarlet was not a common colour for everyday clothing.
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