Jan 28 Wednesday Mother went to Augustus this morning and I went
this afternoon. Mr Ames sent Frank after me in the sleigh
this evening Mr Ames & Oliver went to West Bridgewater
this afternoon I have been to work on Susans flannel
skirt have got most of it done. Susan spent the afternoon
and evening with Malvina. Mr Brown spent two
nights at Augustus, returned to Boston this morning.
The morning was fair, the afternoon cloudy and warm enough so that the snow on the ground “thawd some.”* Sleighing (or “slaying,” as Old Oliver occasionally spelled it) would have been good, the top crust of the snow-packed roads slick with ice and fast to travel.
Despite being out and about today in a sleigh, Evelina accomplished some sewing. The flannel skirt she was making for her daughter was probably a petticoat that Susie could wear under her dress, rather than an outer skirt. Full dresses and jackets were indeed made from wool flannel around this time, but the flannel underskirt was more common. Known for its insulating capability, the cloth would have kept Susie extra warm on the cold, cold days.
Flannel was also inexpensive. It would really come into its own during the Civil War, when soldiers wore undershirts and even simple coats made from the material. Flannel became the go-to cloth for long underwear. In 1889, a man named Hamilton Carhartt opened a factory in Detroit to manufacture flannel work clothes which became popular with railroad and construction workers.**
*Oliver Ames Journal, Stonehill College Archives, Arnold Tofias Collection
** http://www.gearpatrol.com, January 26, 2015