Thursday, July 17, 2014

Old Amana Clothing

The dress of old Amana Community of Inspirationists, dictated by religious beliefs to "avoid a life of variety", was very plain. This seemed fitting to match the kind, placid faces. A village tailor used to make all the men's clothing with yard goods from the woolen mill. Some were ordered from outside towns as it was cheaper than making it. The women and children dressed alike for a long time. They wore the black, blue, and white  calico that was made by the Amana Society. It was known from coast to coast as "Amana CALICO". The skirt was long and full, an apron of moderate length, a shoulder shawl for winter or summer that was pinned on and usually of different CALICO fabrics. Women also wore a small, black cap or a sun bonnet in the summer. Cottons were wore in summer, woolens in winter. Every women made her own clothes and those for her children. For church, the costume was black throughout, an apron, shawl, cap and black dress, very simple and seldom seen, except among the elder sisters. With a World War , the costume relaxed a bit with the women since at that time the dyeing and printing of the famous "Amana CALICO" was discontinued because of the shortage of Southern cotton fabrics and German indigo dyes. The church dress is much the same today with a more colorful dress under the shawl and apron. The early pieces of clothing are very beautiful, well constructed, and very collectible.

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