Elizabeth Ist coat of arms

Material & Fabrics used in Elizabethan Era Clothing

Queen Elizabeth Ist

"Queen Elizabeth Ist"

Material & Fabrics used in Elizabethan Era Clothing
Elizabethan Clothing and Material & Fabrics used in Elizabethan Era Clothing was extremely important. The materials worn during the Elizabethan era provided instant information about the status of the person wearing them. A man or women who wore  clothes made of satin, silk or velvet would be immediately recognised as a member of the Elizabethan nobility or upper classes.

People of the Lower Classes wore clothing generally made of wool, linen and sheepskin.

Material & Fabrics dictated by Law.
Elizabethans were not allowed to wear whatever they liked. It did not matter how wealthy they were - the color, fabric and material of their clothes were dictated by their status or position and this was enforced by English Law. These laws about clothing in the Elizabethan era were called Sumptuary Laws. They were designed to limit the expenditure of people on clothes - and to maintain the social structure of the Elizabethan Class system. The clothes that Elizabethan women wore were dictated by the Sumptuary Law as decreed by Queen Elizabeth on 15th June 1574. The English Sumptuary Laws were well known by all of the English men and women. And the Law was strictly obeyed. The penalties for violating Sumptuary Laws could be harsh - fines, the loss of property, title and even life. People living in the Elizabethan era only wore clothes that they were allowed to wear - by Law.

Expensive Material & Fabrics
Elizabethan Nobles and Upper classes wore clothing made of velvets, furs, silks, lace, cottons and taffeta. Knights returning from the Crusades returned with silks and cottons from the Middle East. Velvets were imported from Italy. The materials worn by the Nobility came in a variety of different colors. The dyes used for coloring these clothes were expensive. The red dye came from a Mediterranean insect which provided a bright scarlet color.

Cheap Material & Fabrics
The Elizabethan Lower Classes had to wear clothing made of wool, linen and sheepskin however, silk, taffeta and velvet trimmings were allowed. Not only were the fabrics strictly restricted but also the colors.

Slashing Material & Fabrics
The limitations of dress and clothing led to a new fashion being created. Both men and women began to slash their clothes. The slash or cut in the outer surfaces of garments (doublets, sleeves and gowns) exposed the contrasting color of the linings beneath. The linings would be pulled through the slash and puffed out to further emphasize the contrast of colors, fabrics and materials.

Common Elizabethan Material & Fabrics
The following fabrics and materials were common during the Elizabethan era:

  • Brocade, Buckram, Calico, Cambric, Canvas, Corduroy, Cypress, Damask, Felt, Flannel, Gauze, Grogram, Holland, Lawn, Linen, Lockram, Plush, Russet, Sarcenet, Satin, Shag, Silk, Tabbinet, Tabby, Taffeta, Tiffany and Velvet

Elizabethan Material & Fabrics used in Elizabethan Era Clothing
Details, facts and information about the Material & Fabrics used in Elizabethan Era Clothing in the Elizabethan Clothing can be accessed via the Elizabethan Era Sitemap.

Elizabethan Clothing
Elizabethan Era Index

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