Shawl Resources

PPandP book cover

Now Available. Paisley, Plaid, & Purled: Shawls of the Mid-Nineteenth Century

A shawl can be one of the most useful garments in your living history or Civil War reenacting wardrobe. You can wrap yourself up in a warm shawl on a chilly afternoon, bundle a young one up in the evening, or drape it over you to avoid a summer rain shower.

It can be rather difficult deciding what shawl or shawls to buy. I suggest reading Paisley, Plaid, & Purled: Shawls of the Mid-Nineteenth Century.

To help with making your own wool cloth shawl, please read “Fringing Your Shawl”

Need help deciding what shawl to wear for historical interpretation? Try Shawl Basics.

This page provides links to examples of original shawls

How shawls were worn.

If you have access to past issues of the Citizen’s Companion or The Civil War Lady, please take time to read these articles:

  • “Summer Mantles and Shawls” by Carolann Schmitt in the August, 1996 edition of the Citizen’s Companion
  • “Shawls and Mixed Fabric” transcribed by Jill Giles Bailey from Godey’s in the June, 2004 edition of the Citizen’s Companion.
  • “Finding the Right Shawl” by Anna Worden in the February, 2007 edition of the Citizen’s Companion.
  • “The Shawl: An Article of Dress” by Anna Worden in the October, 2006 edition of the Citizen’s Companion.
  • “Victorian Shawls” by Lynn Bury in the #22 edition of the Civil War Lady.  
Published on March 27, 2009 at 11:03 am  Comments (10)  

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10 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Wow is all I can say.

    The shawl’s are absolutely beautiful.

    Thank you for you kindness in sharing and helping others with your blog, it has already become one of my favorites.


  2. I have just discovered this site, courtesy of a friend. I would love to see “How to Fringe A Shawl” come back — the link appears to have gone away.
    I love Anna’s site!

  3. Susan,

    Thank you for the compliment and pointing out the link isn’t working. It should be fixed now. Here is the direct url:

  4. Hi, I have a question about shawls. I have a piece of plaid wool that is 60″ wide by 4 yards. I would like to make it into a shawl, but I would like it to be bigger than 60″ square if I fold it into a triangle. Did the wool shawls ever have two pieces sewn together to make a bigger square? Or would I be better off making a rectangular shawl (twice as long as wide). Also, how are the long shawls worn? Do you wrap them around yourself several times? I saw on your website that some shawls were 10′ long. Thank you!!! p.s. I ordered your pattern for the silk bonnet (I’m actually using a thing woold on the outside, cotton on the inside, with a little velvet right around the face). I am at the quilting stage and wanted to know if these bonnets would have ever been machine quilted or should I hand quilt it?

  5. Hi,
    You can have a shawl larger than 60″ square. I have seen domestically made shawls with silk borders. That would be an option to give you a larger shawl without a seam. Another border option would be a paisley motif border, if you could find one.
    You can make a double shawl, a rectangle. To wear it, fold it in half into a square then into a triangle. It would give you four layers of shawl.
    Thank you for ordering the hood pattern. Both hand and machine quilting are acceptable.


  6. Thanks Anna for sharing this with me. It’s been very helpful, though as usual I suspect it will create more questions for me! I want to understand things fully & for an historically accurate perspective.

    Btw, has your book been published now & if so, where might I find it?

  7. Thank you, Karen. More questions is always good.
    My shawl book is not out yet. I’m hoping it will be soon. I keep adding more and more to it as I await the publication move forward.

  8. May I please ask of you what dimensions you would recommend for the double shawl that would be folded in half then into a triangle that you were referring to in your Dec 5, 2011 comment? Also, what material would you recommend?

    Thank you,

  9. Hi Penny,

    I would suggest a piece of tropical to light weight wool that is 60″ wide by 120″ long for a double square shawl. You can do a little smaller, 54″ by 108″, to work with the more common widths of wool fabric.

    Warm Regards,

  10. Thanks Anna,

    I am going to wear my double square shawl, meduim weight, to my first Ceder Creek event this year………….burrr!


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