(See also Identifying fibers, Identifying textile weaves and Identifying lace)

Museums have often collected clothes because of the material they are made of as examples of e.g. weaving, print, lace and embroidery rather than as a costume.

The material tells us about fashion, textile technology, economics, social conventions and economic policy.

In analyzing the fabrics you get information of where (in or outside the country) and when (pattern helps dating) and by whom (craftsmen or homemade) they were manufactured.

The general use of materials has changed over time. A certain material or its use can be an important clue to dating. However it is important to observe that different materials can be dated differently in the same garment. In some periods it was the material not the cut that determined a garment's grade of fashion. But more often the fabric can be older than the cut – due to high quality it was just too valuable not to be used and reused.

Identify and describe all the materials found in the garment: outer fabric, lining, interlining if any, stiffeners, eyes and hooks, braids, strips and bands of linen, silk and cotton, all other decor and the sewing thread(s) used.



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