Suppliers for Historical Crafts
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Suppliers for Historical Crafts

Table of Contents

  • Lists of Suppliers
  • Suppliers- General
  • Suppliers- Silk
  • Suppliers- Leather and Hide
  • Suppliers- Fur
  • Suppliers- Linen Cloth
  • Suppliers- Wool Cloth
  • Suppliers- Hemp Cloth
  • Suppliers- Mixed Cloths
  • Suppliers- Bone, Wood, and Horn
  • Suppliers- Glue
  • Suppliers- Dying
  • Suppliers- Raw Fibres
  • Suppliers- Little Metal Stuff
  • What’s New

Imitating historical clothing can be difficult enough without the struggle to find appropriate materials! The collapse of speciality shops has been balanced by the growth of online retail, although knowing the right keywords can be a challenge.

Because I am living in Austria, and many previous lists are written by and for Americans, this list focuses on suppliers east of the Atlantic. Each online store is marked with its location so that viewers can avoid ones whose warehouse is too far away to bother with shipping a common product. In shops written in other languages, I give the names of important products next to an English translation. One day I would like to produce a German version of this list, to help people searching for Zulieferer für historisches Schneidern or Stoff und Zubehör für historische Kleidung but that sounds a lot like work.

The research for this list was carried out in 2016. Like all things on the Internet, it will inevitably decay as companies go out of business or change their online stores (or simply sell the last bolt of a particular fabric). I have posted it here so that before it decays it may be useful to someone other than me.

A list of updates is at the bottom of this page under What’s New.


All of these resources were mined to create this page.

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Suppliers- General

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Suppliers- Silk

Silk Thread, Lace, and Braid

A German firm called Gütermann carries silk thread and silk buttonhole floss/Strickseide, but many stores just carry their cotton and polyester products; Cucirini tre Stelle (Italy: seta bozzolo reale), Coats Cucirini (Italy, article 9126), and Au Ver à Soie (France) are some other brands available in the EU.

Silk Cloth

Specialists in cloth for furniture, cushions, curtains, and bridal wear sometimes carry heavy weights of silk which are appropriate for some historical clothing but difficult to find in fabric shops. In German-speaking countries, they often call their wares Heimtextilen.

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Suppliers- Leather and Hide

Hide products pose many problems. Most leather today is tanned with chrome, producing a distinctive white edge in contrast to the coloured face. Historical leathers were tanned with tannins, preserved with smoke, fats, and oils, tawed with alumn, or left untreated. Technical terms often refer to a mix of the source for the skin, the treatment, the place of manufacture, and the intended use. Because few people have long experience with both originals and modern substitutes, it is difficult to know which modern substitutes might cause problems and which can be ignored. Chrome-tanned leathers have a bad reputation for rusting steel, and you can find more opinions about particular modern products if you dig into books and talk to leatherworkers, but even if they use the same words, they may not always be talking about the same things. Vegetable-tanned leather (vegtan, pflanzlich gegerbte Leder, pflanzgegerberei) is relatively straightforward to obtain today, but was rare in many cultures.

Parchment (Pergament) for writing on is relatively easy to obtain, although some modern parchment is designed for covering drums. I saw a dealer in parchment and vellum who even carried purple-dyed parchment in Kalamazoo, Michigan in 2013.

Modern dealers often split leather into layers, producing hides which are fuzzy on both sides rather than having a fuzzy flesh side and a smooth skin side (suede, velour). I am not aware of any sources for this technique before the 20th century, although I am very ignorant about hide products.

Similarly, modern artificial dyes produce different and more durable colours than traditional mineral and plant-based dyes.

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Suppliers- Fur

Furs were very popular in many cultures due to their superior insulation and beautiful glossy sheen. They still have very attractive properties in extreme cold. Tasha Kelly-Mele has a handy article on furs in late medieval Europe at

Feh = gris = grey winter pelts of the northern squirrel
Fuchs = fox
zobel = sable = black marten pelts (Martes zibellina)

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Suppliers- Linen

For convenience I have organized these by the typical price for medium-weight, tabby-woven [in Leinwandbindung] linen cloth. Fabric varies in quality more than most consumer goods, so beware of the cheap deal. Also remember to check the width of the bolt. A few products, especially hand-woven and luxury fabrics, are still sold in widths closer to 50 than 150 cm/20″ than 60″.

The weight of linen is often expressed in grams [per (square) meter] or ounces [per (square) yard]. Since 1 oz = 28.35 g, and 1 yard = 0.90 m, then 1 oz/yd2 = 28.35 / 0.902 = 35 g/m2.

Weights above 9 oz or 300 g are hard to find (especially if you want solid cloth not something with large holes like burlap/jute/Sackleinen). Some useful keywords seem to be Bauernleinen, schwerer Leinen, Leinen-Segeltuch.

Some products do travel around. I have seen what I suspect is the same linen in a tabby weave, lime-coloured with a slightly uneven texture, around 240 g/m2, sometimes described as “May green,” at the local house of discount fabrics, on in Prague, on linumo,, and in Germany, and on in the USA.

If you just want to check a few sites: Siulas and have a good range of light and medium-weight linen (100-300 g/m2) in a variety of weaves. Heavier weights are harder, but Wm. Booth Draper in the USA,, and carry them. Siulas and carry linen thread.

Linen: Up to EUR or USD 10 per meter or yard

  • Ikea stocks linen cloth under their Living Room/Wohnzimmer → Meterware … one name is AINA. EUR 8/meter. (That seems to be about the price for medium-weight linen in the cheaper kind of fabric store in Austria, and the samples I have seen at IKEA are not impressive).
  • (USA: Specialist in medium-weight dyed and undyed linen and linen-cotton, provide one photo, thread weights in tex, cloth weights in oz/yd2, thread counts per inch in warp and weft). USD 8/yard.
  • (Czech Republic: linen and linen cotton cloth, Chinese and Moroccan silks, silk and synthetic brocades patterned after medieval originals; linen-silk and cotton-silk mixed fabrics under Silk Fabrics → Silk Blends; also a small selection of wool cloth; silk thread, silk embroidery floss, linen thread; will weave silks to order. Provide one photo with ruler, cloth weight in g/m2. Old fabrics often fall out of stock, and new ones appear; swatches available). Around USD 10/meter

Linen: Roughly EUR or USD 15 per meter or yard

Linen: Roughly EUR or USD 25 per meter or yard

  • Naturtuche (Germany: cloth dyed to imitate natural dyes, hemp linen wool and silk thread and yarn; recommended by living-history people). 20-odd Euros per meter.
  • Anita Pavani Stoffe (Wide range, well organized with descriptions and swatches [Stoffmusterkarten], expensive; they have linen herringbone twill [Leinen-Zwilch] and diagonal twill [Leinendrell] and a linen/wool blend Liwolltwill under Leinen → Leinen Weiß and heavy linen canvas [Segeltuch] in white or natural coloured, plus a wide range of medium-weight dyed linen, small selection of short lengths of Güterman brand linen and silk thread under notions [Zubehör], hand-woven nettle cloth (!)). On the order of EUR 20 per meter.

Linen: At least EUR or USD 30 per meter or yard

Linen- Thread and Fibre
There are a number of different standards for thread weights. English count (Ne) and Metric Count (Nm) represent the length of thread in a given weight, so higher numbers are finer. Denier and tex measure the weight of a given length of thread, so higher numbers are coarser. Coats Industrial has definitions and formulas. Buying thread and judging the colour, strength, and weight in person is ideal but not always possible.

Goldschild is one European brand of silk thread, Hagal in the Czech Republic another.

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Suppliers- Wool

Although wool or part-wool coats are popular in the EU, and remainders of good British and Italian cloth can be found, appropriate wools can be surprisingly hard to find in fabric stores.

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Suppliers- Hemp

  • (Austria: Romanian hemp cloth)
  • Anita Pavani Stoffe (Germany: Dyed and undyed hemp, hemp canvas )
  • Naturtuche (Germany: Heavy undyed canvas under Hanfcanvas, see above)
  • Hemp cord is available in most craft and hobby stores and many grocery stores in the EU
  • I am told that dealers in rope bondage (shibari) supplies sometimes carry soft hemp rope suitable for hanging scabbards, hanging travellers’ bags, wrapping packages, etc.

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Suppliers- Mixed Cloths

  • Waxed cloth (cerecloth, serecloth, oilcloth): Period Fabrics (waxed cotton only)
  • Linen-Wool: Anita Pavani Stoffe Liwotwill
  • Cotton-Linen: (light-weight only), Siulas (under Linen Fabrics → Linen-Cotton Fabrics). Most dealers in linen carry this. 100% cotton velveteen [Baumwollesamt] is one possible substitute for the cotton-linen blends with a nap which were used in the middle ages and early modern period under names like Fustian, Fustagno, and Barchent. is one brand with an online store; has a range of more expensive cloths under the title Dekosamt aus Baumwolle.
  • Cotton-Silk: (under Silk Fabrics → Silk Blends)
  • Hemp-Silk: Anita Pavani Stoffe Hanf-Seide 2 (65% hemp, 35% silk).
  • Linen-Silk: (under Silk Fabrics → Silk Blends) and distributors for a brand called Kawen Stoffe in Germany which offers a 75% linen/25% silk blend in white and other colours (Stoffecke in Nürnberg had some in early 2017).
  • Wool-Silk: tiefschwarz-nachtblaue Seiden-Wolle (85% silk, 15% cashmere)

Note that modern mixed fabrics are often made differently than historical ones. Historically, it was common for linen to form the warp and another fibre to form the weft, but different arrangements may be used today. A staffer at Siulas says that their cotton/linen has a cotton warp and linen weft.

Modern mixed fabrics are marked with fibre content by percentage of weight, but archaeologists usually give the warp material and the weft material. Textiles with something like 52% linen 48% cotton often have a cotton warp (!) and a linen weft. ↑ back to top ↑

Suppliers- Bone, Wood, and Horn

Suppliers- Glue

The glues known as hot hide glue and rabbit-skin glue in Canada seems to go by the names pearl glue, Knochenleim, Hautleim, Warmleim, Perlenleim, Hasenleim (rabbitskin glue), and technische Gelatine in Europe. They do not seem to be as universally known amongst woodworkers as I would expect, although they are still used for musical instruments and furniture restoration. Traditional Materials and carry them.

Casein or milk glue seems to be known as Kaseinleime in German.

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Suppliers- Dying

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Suppliers- Raw Fibre for Stuffing

Some people use quilt batting (USA/Can), wadding (UK), Vlies (DE/AT), or ouatine (FR) as a substitute for loose fibres. Versions which are mostly cotton, silk, wool, or bamboo from companies like Hobbs (USA), The Warm Company (USA), Pemmi Products (DE), and Vliesline (DE) are available in most fabric stores, but keep in mind that they usually contain a polyester scrim to hold the natural fibres in place.

Warning! Etsy’s automatic translation renders Bastelwatte as “handicraft cotton wool” or “cotton wool.” Like English <craft felt>, the German word Bastelwatte implies polyester not cotton. Read the description carefully to avoid disappointment!

Suppliers- Little Metal Stuff

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What’s New

  • 2016-12-11: Added and this section
  • 2017-01-16: Added hopes for a German version to the paragraph beginning “Because I am living in Austria …”
  • 2017-02-16: Added Yorkshire Fabrics and more references to Karl Robinson, fixed some typos
  • 2017-03-03: Added Kawen Stoffe,, note on barchent/velveteen/Baumwollesamt
  • 2017-03-05: Added Tudor Tailor, notes on linen thread and silk thread, added some suppliers mentioned elsewhere to the sections on linen and silk thread, moved one clause from section on Naturtuche to section on Naturstoffe
  • 2017-04-07: Added Hats by Leko and Hagal linen thread
  • 2017-04-16: Added Access Heritage and
  • 2017-04-20: Added note on the way that the same linen can appear in many online and offline stores, and a ‘short list’ of suppliers. Added linumo and bio-leinen
  • 2017-06-21: Added Ambleside Sheepskins
  • 2017-07-07: Added Geschichtspark Bärnau-Tachov
  • 2017-11-07: Fixed unbalanced HTML tag around dekosamt
  • 2018-03-08: Added Traditional Materials
  • 2018-03-12: Added a note on suppliers of glues
  • 2018-04-01: Added details about products at
  • 2018-04-03: Added a short section on fur
  • 2018-08-21: Added a source for fringed rectangular cloaks
  • 2019-02-16: Added more entries under Raw Fibres
  • 2019-04-29: Added Moscow Hide and Fur and Crazy Crow Trading Post
  • 2019-11-21: Added a section of little metal stuff after chat with KR.
  • 2020-01-18: Added Promise Land Tannery
  • 2020-12-14: Added Woolsome
  • 2021-03-14: Added Burnley & Trowbridge under General
  • 2021-04-23: added one more supplier of buckskin in the USA, made some mark-up changes
  • 2022-01-11: fixed link to Royalwood Irish Linen
  • 2022-06-29: fixed lnk to Maple for customers outside of the USA

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