The material is also known as “velveteen” or “hessian” cloth.  and “jersey cloth.” One of its more unusual uses has been in the manufacturing of Hessian (pronounced Hess-ee-an) cloth socks during the American Civil War. Although these days we associate conforming to social conventions and following societal norms as being very much a part of the modern-day American individual, there was once a time when this was not so. In the western world at least, people back home were influenced by their own customs and traditions, even if they were sometimes odd or strange compared to those back home. So how did these two customs become linked? And what were the consequences? Read on to find out more…

What is Hessian Cloth?

Because of this close relationship, the demand for wool in Europe was strong, and in order to fulfill it, European textile mills began to use the process of merino rewinding to produce higher-quality yarns. The result was a natural fabric with a unique texture and feel, despite being made from wool. The name “merino” is Spanish for “mane,” and it is the garment’s structure that gives it its name.

How did Hessian cloth become so common?

As more and more people began to wear clothing that was made from this particular fabric, it became more common to see it on the streets and in public places. This, in turn, led to increased demand for this fabric both in Europe and the United States. In fact, it was the American Civil War that really kick-started the trend of using Hessian cloth for clothing.

Hessian cloth is considered to be one of the first examples of a “new” cloth.The first recognisable sock made from the new material was made by the English firm of Taylor & Carter, patented in 1866. The


You can find out more about how to make your own hosiery from the links below.

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