West Virginia State Museum Education


Sketch by Joseph H. Diss Debar, West Virginia State Archives


Since there were no stores or roads back east, the type of clothing worn by the people of the region was simple. As they needed new clothing, they had to make it with what was available. Clothing would sometimes be made from the skins of animals. To make material for clothing they would have to spin wool or flax fibers into yarn or thread it on a spinning wheel. They might dye the yarn using nuts or roots to give it some color. Next, they would have to use a loom to weave the thread into cloth. From this they would have to hand sew the material into clothes.

Not many people today think about what it takes to produce clothing. What used to take days or weeks to make is now as simple as going to the mall or the local store. Clothing can be made from as far away as China and Japan and shipped to store nearby for little cost, making many different types of clothing available.

Source: Helen Jones. West Virginia: The Portrait of an American State. Montgomery, Alabama (Clairmont Press). 1998.