Historical Fabrics

There are many discussions on whether a certain type of fabric was used in certain periods. To avoid all mishaps with me, here is my take on what was or was not used. There is more elaborate information on fabrics and I can tell you all about it when we discuss a historical correct garment. When I make something, I don’t cut corners. I do not take the cheaper blend fabric or go for polyesters. Good historical fabrics are precious.

Wool

Antiquity: common
Viking: common
Medieval: common

Wool was everywhere and the cheapest to get around all these periods. It was easy to process and easy to dye.

Linen

Antiquity: common
Viking: common
Medieval: common

Although not as common as wool and it took more work to process. Linen was a bit of a nice thing to have.

Silk

Antiquity: rare
Viking: rare
Medieval: rare

Silk was a luxury product. Vikings only used small pieces as decoration. If you had a silk shirt or gown in the Middle ages, you had it made.

Cotton

Antiquity: only Roman and rare
Viking: nope
Medieval: only late and rare

Cotton is the most discussed fabric in historical fashion. Yes, it was used in prehistoric times, but it never really survived. It was seen as a slightly cheaper replacement for silk in Ancient Roman and late Medieval times. Like silk it was imported.