June 3rd Tuesday Have finished Susans green plaid gingham
and have cut the sleeves to her green borage Delaine
Have been mending some, but realy I have done
so little sewing of late that I can scarcely sit myself
to work. Jane has cleaned the boys chamber in
the other part of the house
We are having very fine weather and I feel much better
than I have for a few days past
When sewing, Evelina often mentioned using borage, more properly spelled “barege.” Barege is a fabric with a sheer, gauzy weave that features a worsted warp and a silk weft. Warp is the longitudinal thread in a roll of cloth; weft, also known as woof, is the transverse or horizontal thread that is woven through the warp with a shuttle. Using two different types of thread creates a cloth with some texture to it.
Barege was quite popular for dress material in the mid-19th century, even taking prizes at shows. At London’s Great Exhibition of 1851, a medal in the “Worsted Class” went “for a great variety of light goods of the barege class, plain, checked, and brocaded, of excellent combinations.”* Although most of the fabric that Evelina used was made in New England, it’s possible that the green barege for her daughter’s dress had come from abroad. The example illustrated above features a barege dress from the early 1860’s.
Getting back to dressmaking, her favorite kind of sewing, may have contributed to Evelina’s improved spirits today. The “very fine weather” probably helped, too.