DENHAM SPRINGS — Patrons of the Old City Hall Museum learned all about the tedious and time-consuming process of making a wearable garment in the 19th Century from “Grandmother Marguerite,” who presented her latest in a series of programs, sponsored by Main Street Denham Springs.
“Grandmother Marguerite,” is the persona adopted by Linda Collins who presents programs of historic interest at the West Baton Rouge History Museum.
At a July 10 program, Collins demonstrated how clothing was made in times past when the process started with raw wool or cotton.
Collins displayed an array of garments that men and women wore in the mid-1800s and pointed out that women, especially, had to pile on multiple layers of clothing. She explained that before the advent of reasonably priced sewing machines, garments had to be made through the lengthy process of hand sewing. She said that Isaac Singer’s system of allowing families to purchase sewing machines on a timed payment method made the machines much more easily accessible and sped up the process of making clothing.
Participants at the program watched as Collins demonstrated a simple loom that she said ushered in a practical method of manufacturing cloth. Early looms that required extensive human labor were later replaced with machines that finally made the creation of fabric inexpensive and available to everyone.
The program was the third in the Grandmother Marguerite’s Trunk series. The next program are “Civil War — Woman’s Perspective,” on July 24 and “WWII — The Home Front,” on July 31. All programs start at 10 a.m. in the second-floor meeting room of the Old City Hall Museum on Mattie Drive in the heart of Downtown Denham Springs.