I often talk about how little we know about our clothes, who made them, how were they made, and what with. Although, I usually lament over our lack of awareness, I think it’s important to highlight the positives when they do come about.
One such positive is a project run by the Muslin Trust, which LCF took part in. We helped to recruit 15 young people to take part in the Jamdani Project, which involved learning to sew, create and exhibit two nineteenth century gowns, using this specially woven fabric from Bangladesh called Jamdani – the inheritor fabric of muslin.
Fine muslin was one of the most popular fashion choices among Regency women, including that of Jane Austen. With the decision to include Austen’s image on the British pound, the Muslin Trust saw the increased interest in this era as an opportunity to revive interest in muslin.
Although the original muslin is no longer produced, its inheritor fabric Jamdani survives.
The Jamdani Project was launched to provide an opportunity for young people to learn about the skills involved in weaving Jamdani fabric as well as historical sewing techniques.
Originally called “flowered muslin” Jamdani incorporates the most complicated of the hand weaving techniques used for muslin, where motifs are interwoven in the fabric.
Learning about the hand-labour, intricacy and historical importance of this textile helps people to appreciate the value of what we wear.
We will be less likely to throw something away when we know the value of cloth and the journey it has been on before it gets to our wardrobes.
I am pleased and proud to be involved in this project and I hope it is the stimulus for more people to take an interest in the making of cloth, be that historical muslin or the latest digital fibres.