Settlers of Saskatchewan arrived with very few items, except what they had in their trunks and what was on their backs. Most of the settlers did not have many clothes and it was too expensive to buy them. Settlers saved money by buying fabric at the general store and making their own clothing items. Looking after the clothes was a lot of work for settler women, as they had to mend, make soap, wash, dry, and iron all of their clothing.
PHOTO CREDIT: SASKATCHEWAN HISTORY ALBUM
This photo taken in 1930 is showing a group of women that are dressed up in clothing that would be saved for special occasions.
Most of the early settlers did not have many clothes. The settlers made a lot their own clothing from woolen cloth and linen fabric. By the 1890s, sewing machines were available to people to buy for their homes. Fabric could be bought at the general store if the settlers had enough money. Otherwise, they had to make their own fabric.
Settlers could buy the supplies they needed to make their own clothes from the general store in town.
Clothing made from wool or linen was not very colourful. The yarn or cloth could be dyed different colours by using bark, nuts, roots, leaves, flowers, and berries to make the dye. Sometimes the yarn was dyed before it was woven into cloth so there would be more than one colour in the woven cloth.
The settler woman is using a sewing machine to make a shirt out of fabric.
Clothing was also made from skins (hides) of animals like deer and rabbit. The skins were made into leather. Coats, shoes, hats, and men’s pants were some of the items made from leather.
The settlers made most of their clothes using a sewing machine.
Women made their own sewing patterns and remade clothing to fit the next person who wore it. Clothing that could no longer be used was made into quilts, cut in strips, and made into rugs for the floor or used as rags for washing the dishes and floors.
This woman is knitting a scarf to help stay warm in the winter.
The long dresses that the women and girls wore were made of the cloth that was made themselves. An apron covered the dress to protect it and make it last longer.