Textiles, family and artisanal production

In the countryside of the 19th century, a distinction was made between « fabrics from elsewhere », which were more noble and came from other regions, and « village fabrics ». The latter were made by craftsmen or family members from the fibres and yarns produced from the harvesting of the linen and goat fields or the shearing of sheep.

The beginning of the fabric production chain was carried out in the family setting: shearing sheep, pulling up hemp and flax, washing and carding wool, retting, scutching and combing hemp, spinning hemp, flax and wool. Then the craftsmen took over for the rest of the production: weaver, wool sergier, dyer, tailor, seamstress…

Farming families could make certain textile products themselves: lace, quilted blankets or ropes.

This organisation disappeared at the end of the 19th century under the pressure of industrial production, the appearance of the domestic sewing machine, the improvement in the standard of living of the inhabitants of the villages and the more frequent purchases of better finished products by the villagers. Overly rustic crafts, such as sergier work or lace making, were gradually replaced by more specific trades: blouse maker, breech maker, embroiderer, umbrella repairer, ironer.

Illustrations :

– Postcards from the Maison Charles Dumas, clothing and fabric shop in Mussidan around 1900 (©Musée André Voulgre). 2014.9.203

– Postcard of the clothing and fabric shop La Roulandie which succeeded Mussidan in the 1930s. (©Musée André Voulgre) 2014.9.209

– Photograph of a Perigordine wool spinner (©Musée André Voulgre) 2008.0.596

– Lithograph of the hemp breaker by Maurice Albe, 1957. (©Musée André Voulgre)