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June Programs at Jamestown Settlement, Yorktown Victory Center Delve Into Dress of Colonial Virginia

1600s-Era Clothing Highlighted in June 27-28 Fashion Show Weekend

WILLIAMSBURG, Va., June 1, 2015 — Clothing, from single thread to whole garment, will be the focus of interpretive programs June 1-30 during “Fashion in Colonial Virginia” at Jamestown Settlement and Yorktown Victory Center living-history museums. The month’s activities will culminate in “A Stitch in Time” period fashion show June 27 and 28 at Jamestown Settlement.

Defending the Crown exhibit

Visitors walk past British military uniforms in the “Defending the Crown” exhibit at Jamestown Settlement.

Throughout the month, visitors can explore how apparel of the period was fashioned from leather, linen and silk, and examine types of clothing worn by 17th-century English sailors and colonists, Powhatan Indians, 18th-century Virginia farmers and Continental Army soldiers — doublets, slops, cassocks, bodices, petticoats, coifs, leather aprons, metal helmets and breastplates, waistcoats, breeches, shirts, regimental coats, and tricorn hats.

Theme month highlights:

“Defending the Crown” Exhibit – British military uniforms depicting soldiers from 1607 Virginia militia to Afghanistan will be on display at Jamestown Settlement throughout the month. Original and reproduction uniforms will be on display, highlighting key military victories over the last 400 years.

National Tailor’s Day, June 3 – Honor the legacy of the tailor as Jamestown Settlement historical clothing tailors will show period techniques used to design and create period clothing.

Dressing Founding Fathers, June 21 – Families can visit the Yorktown Victory Center to dress up dad Revolutionary-style! Try on military and civilian clothing from the Revolutionary War and learn what rebellious dads wore in the 1770s.

A Stitch in Time, June 27 and 28 – Take a special look at 1600s clothing styles as historical images in the museum’s exhibition galleries are brought to life at Jamestown Settlement through weekend fashion shows depicting the English, Powhatan Indian and west central African cultures. Behind-the-scenes tours of the museum’s historical clothing shop will be offered twice a day during the weekend.

Visitors can assist with processing plant fibers for cloth, learn how dyes were made from plants to produce an array of colors, watch as clothing is laundered with boiling water and lye soap, and observe the stitching of simple apparel from pieces of cloth and deerskin. Types of implements used in cloth production will be on display, including bone needles in the Powhatan Indian village at Jamestown Settlement and, at the Yorktown Victory Center farm, a flax break, scutch and hatchel, and spinning wheel.

In Jamestown Settlement’s Powhatan Indian village, historical interpreters will explain how Powhatan Indians fashioned their clothing with shells and bones and adorned their bodies with paint. At the ships’ pier, visitors can learn the types of clothing that sailors would have packed for an extended voyage, such as the 144-day journey across the Atlantic to Jamestown in 1607. In the re-created colonial fort, visitors can learn how dress reflected a person’s social status and occupation.

Interpreters in the Yorktown Victory Center’s re-created Continental Army encampment will tell of George Washington’s efforts to develop a standard uniform for his troops. Visitors also can learn how to make an epaulette, an accessory soldiers wore on their military uniforms to indicate rank. At the re-created farm, historical interpreters will show visitors how families took great pride during the Revolution in recycling worn clothing by repairing and re-dying to avoid wearing English goods.


“Fashion in Colonial Virginia” is included with admission to Jamestown Settlement and Yorktown Victory Center. A combination ticket to both museums is $21.00 for adults and $10.50 for ages 6 to 12. Admission to Jamestown Settlement is $16.75 for adults and $7.75 for ages 6 to 12; Yorktown Victory Center is $9.75 for adults and $5.50 for ages 6 to 12.

Hours & Location

Jamestown Settlement and Yorktown Victory Center are open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. (and until 6 p.m. June 15 through August 15). Jamestown Settlement is located on State Route 31 just southwest of Williamsburg. The Yorktown Victory Center is located on Route 1020 in Yorktown. The museums are a 25-minute drive from each other along the Colonial Parkway. For more information, call (888) 593-4682 toll-free or (757) 253-4838, or visit hif.ciniva.net.