If you’ve been shopping at Farmhouse for any amount of time, you know what we love our shirtings. However, when some people hear that we specialize in fabrics for children’s clothing, they don’t understand our love for men’s shirting fabrics. Maybe what they don’t realize is that shirting refers to so many different fabrics-from broadcloth to twill to even Liberty of London lawns! All of our garments featured in this post are made of shirtings!
At Farmhouse Fabrics, our term “shirting” covers a very wide spectrum of fabrics. Miss Sally began calling certain fabrics “shirting” when she began buying fabric used by high-end men’s shirt manufacturers in New York. What the term meant to her was that it was crisp and light-weight…definitely not suited to a jacket or pants. However, sometimes when we call a fabric a “shirting”, our customers can only see it as fabric for men’s shirts and don’t open up to the other possibilities-such as children’s clothing! Often we use these soft, satiny fabrics for lovely blouses or dresses for our little girls. The highest praise we can receive is the approval of our little ones, and our shirtings have made the cut! One of Miss Sally’s granddaughters came into the shop recently, held a new length of shirting to her cheek, and asked for a nightgown out of the fabric…high praise indeed!
One of the wonderful things about our shirtings is that they come in countless colors and patterns. But this wasn’t always the case. Did you know that historically the shirt was considered an undergarment? Men would wear white shirts made of linen or silk under their more decorative outer clothing. The shirts were meant to be hidden-it would have been improper for the shirt to be seen. As the shirt slowly emerged as a regular and respectable item of clothing, the color of the shirt was still very important. In the 19th century, colored shirts were considered common and worn only by the lower classes. Gentlemen wore white shirts (hence the well known terms “white collar” and “blue collar”).
The idea of the white shirt being a mark of prosperity and masculinity permeated as late as the 1910s when stripes began to come into vogue. The type of fabric used to make the shirts gradually changed also. The early “under” shirts were made of linen or silk, but as shirts became worn on their own they were made of more durable fabrics such as broadcloth, oxford, fine twills, and pinpoint fabrics-all classified as “shirtings”. These fabrics have endured in the shirting industry as light-weight yet durable. Aren’t those two qualities just what we look for in children’s clothing too?
Although you wouldn’t guess by the sound of it, shirting fabric is some of the most ideal material for children’s clothing. The close, crisp weave feels silky against the skin, and the fun colors and patterns suit the personalities of the little ones who wear them.