Household Weavings from the War of 1812


To commemorate the 200th anniversary of the War of 1812, members of the Niagara Handweavers and Spinners Guild (Canada) have created a traveling display entitled Household Weavings from the War of 1812. The Niagara area was greatly impacted by conflict between British and American forces from 1812-1815, so guild members decided to learn more about the textiles created and used during the war period. They visited the Fort Erie Museum and the Niagara Falls Museum to view the textile collections.  The large collection at the Niagara Falls Museum can be viewed through its online database.

Guild member Vera Van Brussel shared more about the guild's 1812 era projects:

Photos courtesy of Eva Broughton.

"Our three mannequins are dressed with garments made by our members. The first one is dressed in a Regency Dress with an apron, knitted shawl, haversack, and a cotton bonnet. The second one has a chemise with a multicolored knit shawl, a pair of woven pockets, and the bonnet is embroidered on the brim. The third mannequin has a chemise with an overskirt, an apron, and a bonnet with a turned back brim."

Photos courtesy of Eva Broughton.

"Our cradle is on a wool rug woven with a snowball pattern. It contains two handmade dolls. One doll has a woven dress, undergarments, and a cotton bonnet. The second doll has woven garments, knitted shawl, pantaloons, and a lace hat. The log cabin blanket in blue and white was adapted from an 1812 blanket from Keep Me Warm One Night: Early Weaving in Eastern Canada."

Photos courtesy of Eva Broughton.

"There is also a handkerchief bag woven of white linen and a handkerchief with lace trim. Two linen bath towels in M's and O's are a copy of towels woven by Polly Baker, born in 1793, that are in the Smithsonian Institute. There are three samples of linsey-woolsey, knitted child's socks, a pink purse, a linen runner, a man's wool scarf, two additional handmade dolls and their clothes, and a fourth bonnet of a different style. A stuffed sheep fleece quilt with knotted ties, a linen and wool sheet for cold winter nights, and a small wooden stool with a woven top completes our display."

The display will be at the Old Fort Erie Visitors Centre through the end of July and will then be moved to the Welland Museum, in Welland, Ontario. 



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