1860's "Homespun" Handkerchief


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This 1860's "Homespun" Handkerchief was designed by Cheyney McKnight of Not Your Momma’s History to pay homage to enslaved artisans on southern plantations.  Cotton homespun (domestic) fabrics made on plantations were primarily spun, dyed, and woven by enslaved women who made fabric to clothe the enslaved population, and to be sold by their enslavers for profit. The expertise of these women is spoken of highly by formerly enslaved interviewees in the WPA slave narratives found at the Library of Congress 

Tempie Durham who was enslaved in North Carolina spoke about Mammy Rachel who did the dyeing on the plantation where she was enslaved. Larger plantations often had separate facilities for spinning, dyeing and weaving.

Thanks to the skill and knowledge of the dyers, the weavers had a wide variety of colors available to them from which they created beautiful striped and checked patterns.   Lizzie Norfleet, who was enslaved in Mississippi, describes one such pattern.

Through these interviews, we discover how dyes were made and what patterns were woven.  This insight informed the design and colors of this 1860's "Homespun" Handkerchief.

Our 1860's "Homespun" handkerchief:

  • Measures approximately 36"x36".
  • Lightweight and hand loomed and hemmed cotton.
  • To learn more about our 1860's "Homespun" Handkerchief, and our other designs, visit About Our Handkerchiefs

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