Mariamne Philemon's Cloth Store

We sell a variety of cloth, including fine and cheaper grades of linen, cotton, wool, and silk. We also sell dyeing agents, accessories, and premade clothing.

Dyeing Agents:

Campeche tree heartwood for purple
Indigo (local) for blue, which can tend towards green
Insects for red
Tree barks for shades of brown
Turmeric for yellow
Walnut for brown

Note: The darker the color the more dye is required and the more expensive the item.



This is the most popular fabric. Linen fabrics include buckram, cambric, Holland, lawn, and linsey-woolsey.

Linen comes from flax. Linen fabrics are used for undergarments, kerchiefs (hand and neck), aprons, table and bed linens and other items that are frequently laundered.

White, which is associated with cleanliness, is more expensive because it is achieved through bleaching. Linen that is dyed or woven in check or stripe patterns can be used for aprons, pinafores or neckerchiefs. Linen checks are popular because they do not show the dirt as easily. Locally made figured weaves or fancies include popular patterns such as "double diamonds," "honeycomb," "rings and chains," and "Ms and Os”. Linen is also used for outer garments for the working class.

Only white, quilted fabrics are used for the upper class. Thin linens (or thin cottons) are used for men’s summer waistcoats and unlined coats. Most linens used linen weave. We also have linen damask for bed and table linen.

Buckram - This is a linen fabric stiffened with gum or paste.

Cambric cloth - This is a lightweight linen that is narrower than lawn. It was first made in Cambrai, France.

Chambray - Chambray, also from Cambrai, France, is similar to Cambric. It uses a colored warp and a white weft, similar to gingham. Chambray was originally a linen fabric. The term has also been associated with cotton and silk.

Holland - Holland is closely woven cloth made from linen. It is popular for bed sheets and shirts. Brown Holland is unbleached. We also have bleached Holland.

Lawn - This is an imported linen fabric. We have long, spotted, broad, clear, fine, and superfine lawn as well as lawn with floral prints.

Linsey-woolsey - This popular fabric is made with a linen warp and a wool weft. The wool gives added warmth to the fabric. It often comes in striped patterns.


Cotton fabrics include calico, chintz, fustian, and muslin.

Cotton fabrics are used for undergarments, kerchiefs, aprons, table and bed linens, and other items that are frequently laundered. It is more expensive than linen and is difficult to spin but it takes dye easier. The production of cotton may increase in the future.

Calico - This is a plain weave fabric from cotton. It originally came from Calicut, on the Malabar Coast of India. Most of our calicos are plain colored or white but a few have printed patterns. It is not as fine as muslin.

Chintz/Indienne - These are imported cotton fabrics with floral prints using blue, brown, red and related colors (pink and orange), and yellow. They are popular because of their vibrant colors. The most popular colors are red and blue. A type of chintz called nankeen is a yellow cotton twill that is used for men’s breeches. Chintz originally came from India. Our stock came from Britain.

Fustian - This popular textile is made with a linen warp and cotton weft.

Muslin - This cotton fabric is similar to calico. Muslin is used for shawls and other items. Our stock of Indian Muslin came from Britain. The name, Muslin, comes from Mosul in the Middle East.


Silk fabrics like taffeta, faille, duchesse satin, damask, brocade, gros de tours, lampas, and moiré are used for fine outer garments. We have fine striped silks. We also have an inferior grade of silk, with slubs, for linings.

Some of our silk comes from Georgia and the Carolinas. Sometimes we also have a small selection of imported silks: Bengal, a striped silk for woman's clothing, comes from India via England. Sarsanet is a firm but thin lining for cloaks and hoods and comes from Syria. The popular Mantua comes from Italy. Padusoy (padaway), a strong ribbed silk used for waistcoats, also comes from Italy. From France we have brocade, brocatelle, damask, and lampas. Sometimes used items from England will appear, such as garments made in Spitalfields-made silk, Spitalfields silk damask, and silk damask items lined with silk twill.

Silks are used for women’s gown and fine men’s suits.

Brocade - Brocades use colored silks, an occasionally gold or silver thread, to form patterns. The patterns are woven into the fabric but appear to have been embroidered. The term comes from Italian broccato, which means "embossed cloth”. Sometimes we will get imported brocades.

Damask - Damasks are reversible figured fabrics made from silk, wool, linen, or cotton. They have woven patterns. Twill damasks include a twill-woven ground or pattern. Twills use diagonal ribs to form a diagonal pattern. Damask is a basic weaving technique. Two-color damasks have contrasting color warps and wefts.

Lampas - Occasionally we will get small amounts of lampas. Lampas is a luxury fabric that has a background west in taffeta with pattern wefts that form a design on top. Many examples use gold and silver thread for highlights.

Lustring - A crisp, light silk suitable for fine women’s clothing in the summer.

Satin - This is a silk fabric. We have black satin. Other satins are woolen fabrics with a satin weave.

Silk taffeta - Taffeta or taffety is a fabric with a long history in the Islamic east. We have striped silk taffeta with a checked pattern and brocaded silk taffeta.

Velvet - Traditionally velvets are made from silk but potentially it could be made from other fibers, such as cotton or wool. Velvets have a short, dense pile or raised loops or yarn tufts that smooth out the surface. Velvets first came from China. Cairo was later a major center. Italian cities such as Florence, Genoa, and Venice dominated production from the 12th to 18th centuries. Spain also produces velvets. Flemish Bruges began production in the 16th century. Fine men were striped velvet breeches.


Wool fabrics come in a variety of weaves, grades, and prices and can be used for furnishings and clothing. Wool is practical and durable. Wool fabrics include broadcloth, flannel, kersey, and serge.

We have fine, imported English wool and the inferior American wool. Both tabby and twill wool is available. England is renowned for its woolen trade.

Broadcloth - We have both fine, woolen broadcloth, suitable for a fine man’s shirt, and cheaper grades of broadcloth.

Flannel - This is a woolen fabric. We have white flannel.

Kersey - This is a wool cloth that is coarse, napped, and narrow.

Serge - This is a worsted twill fabric from wool. It is popular for bed curtains.

Wool damask - This is a fine grade of wool. We have worsted wool damasks. “Worsted” fabrics are high-quality fabrics made from combed, long-staple wool yarns that are lightly twisted prior to weaving. This produces a smooth shiny surface. Damasks are reversible figured fabrics made from silk, wool, linen, or cotton.

Other Fabrics

Hemp - This is used for bed and table linens.

Scotch cloth - This fabric is made from nettles. It comes from the frontier areas.

Incidental Items:




Pre-made Items:


Hose, woolen


Shawls, muslin

Shirts, Men’s

Stays (women’s corsets)

Stockings - We have both white and black stockings

Sources: - 18th Century Fabrics - 18th Century Men’s Banyans, Night Gowns, and Wrappers (Banyans are men’s underdress) - Brocade - Calico - Cambric - Colonial Clothing - Damask - Lampas - Fashion Archives: A Look at the History of Velvet - Looking at 18th century Clothing - Muslin - Velvet - Textiles and Independence in Colonial America - Weaving, Spinning, and Dyeing - Worsted Wool Damask 18th Century

This Happy Land: The Jews of Colonial and Antebellum Charleston - by James William Hay

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Created August 12, 2017.