Newsletter No. 2-10 (Mar. 2010)   Page 3 av 4 / Sidan 3 av 4. [back to page 1]
Arcive/Arkiv 2007: [1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6] [7] [8] [9]
Arcive/Arkiv 2008: [1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6] [7]
Arcive/Arkiv 2009: [1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6]
Arcive/Arkiv 2010: [1] [2]


This newsletter is written in order to spread experiences within the topic of historic textiles and reconstructions. Our ambition is to amuse you and stimulate interest in the 18th Century. Durán Textiles, who is mainly working with museum collections and Royal Castles, was founded in 2002 by CEO and production manager Laila Durán, with co-worker artist Torkel Henriksson who is doing the artworks and preparing the designs for production. Our production is done mostly in India supervised by Duran Textiles inspectors. 
- The articles are mainly written by Laila Durán but we also have help from colleagues and specialists from several museums and universities.  In the future this newsletter will be distributed four times a year and is free of charge. We hope you will enjoy our stories and offers and help us to spread the letter to friends and colleagues. Contact:

Detta nyhetsbrev skrivs för att sprida erfarenheter inom ämnet rekonstruktioner av historiska textiler och 1700-talet. Ambitionen är att roa och stimulera intresset. Durán Textiles har varit verksamt sedan 2002 och arbetar med projekt för Kungliga Slott och museisamlingar i hela Skandinavien. Laila Durán är VD och projektledare, Torkel Henriksson arbetar med originalen och alla förlagor för tryck och väv. På plats i Indien, där de flesta av tygerna produceras, finns Durán Textiles egna inspektörer.
- Artiklarna skrivs huvudsakligen av Laila Durán men vi får även hjälp av kollegor och specialister från olika muséer och universitet.  Nyhetsbrevet kommer i fortsättningen att komma ut fyra gånger per år och är helt kostnadsfritt. Vi hoppas ni ska uppskatta våra artiklar och erbjudanden och även sprida informationen vidare till Era vänner. Kontakt:



Silk kerchiefs from KA Almgren silk manufactory. 
Text Martin Ciszuk, photo: Laila Durán.

Durán Textiles have started cooperation with Stiftelsen KA Almgren Sidenväveri och Museum – the Foundation of KA Almgren Silk Manufactory and Museum ( who has a great collection of silk kerchiefs, silk samples and design drafts preserved from their production. The first reproduced silk kerchiefs are now in stock.

Knut August Almgren started his silk manufactory in Stockholm 1833, and silk kerchiefs soon became the most important product of the company. They were sold both in towns and on the countryside and were renowned for their good quality. The Swedish silk production had its own market in Scandinavia where kerchiefs were in use longer than the rest of Western Europe. The silk kerchief became the financial base or the Swedish silk industry. The Almgren kerchiefs were exported in big amounts to Norway, Denmark and Finland but also to Russia and the Scandinavian settlements in the United States. They were used both with folk costume as with bourgeois fashion.

In the folk costumes the silk kerchiefs were worn by women as neck kerchief or head kerchief. For festive wear they could be fastened to the belt hanging over the skirt, folded over the arm or wrapped around the hymn book. The men wore the silk kerchiefs tied around the neck outside the collar of the shirt, or decoratively hanging out of the pockets of the coat. For weddings and feasts the farmers house could be decorated with silk kerchiefs hanging on the walls or sewn together to form a canopy hanging over the table.

The first silk kerchief was mostly given by the parents to daughters at their first communion. When possible some girls then saved their salary to buy a kerchief at the fair or from peddlers. A silk kerchief was often a gift from a man when proposing marriage, and at the wedding feast the new married couple gave kerchiefs as gifts to the parents, the bridesmaids and female relatives. Wealthy farmer’s wives could possess a great number of silk shawls. In estate inventories after these women it is not uncommon to find over 20 silk kerchiefs. In the upper classes the silk kerchiefs were common as gifts in connection to travels and visits, and they were often used as signs of appreciation for retiring house maids.

KA Almgren silk manufactory produced silk kerchiefs with woven designs in five different qualities. There were also plain kerchiefs in tabby or twill with checks in color or borders in a contrasting weave. In the archive of the factory there are still several hundreds of designs. Each design had a name and a number. Many names are flowers like Rose, Calla, Wine leaf or Pouches, but there are also names as Feather, Medallion or Cornucopia.

Vivid colored and checkered kerchiefs were mostly used together with the folk costumes, while the bourgeois fashion prescribed darker colors. In the end of the 19th century black silk kerchiefs became common. These were mostly used in church on Sundays, particularly by the majority of the people on the countryside who did not use the regional costumes. A silk kerchief was expensive. The price was 5-6 daler, which was the same as an annual income for a maid in the 1870-ties (most of their salary was however paid as food and clothing). These valuable garments were handled with great care. While walking to the church a cotton head kerchief was worn not to expose the silk kerchief to dust and rain on the way. Close to the church there was often an old woman living, who on Sunday morning gained a small extra income by helping the young girls to tie their silk head kerchiefs. She was given name as Knotting-Anne, Kerchief-Jane or Scarf-Tilde. The black silk kerchiefs had long knotted silk fringes. This employed a category of female worker at the Almgren manufactory – the fringing girls. When it was time to clean the silk kerchief it was left to specialized washer women, who after washing starched them with wax or sugar solution and curled the fringes. In a letter attached to a donation of silk kerchiefs from the Almgren manufactory to Nordiska Museet, the Ethnographical Museum in Stockholm, in 1891, Oscar Mauritz Almgren describes how different designs were appreciated in different regions of Scandinavia. He also tells that since the 1870-ies the use of silk kerchiefs was going back in Stockholm, and that the fringed kerchiefs were loosing popularity while kerchiefs edged with lace were more appreciated. He finishes: ”…but also these are today superseded by the more commonly used hat”. During the last decades of the 19th century the habit of wearing hat spread, inspired by bourgeois women’s fashion, even if it on the country side initially was considered as an expression of vanity. After the turn of the century 1900 the production of silk kerchiefs constantly decreased. The Almgren silk manufactory made their last kerchief in 1941.

The first reproduced silk kerchiefs from Durán Textiles is based on an original is in a private collection. It is in 100 % silk, 68x68 cm in size, and has a short fringe of warp and weft yarns. Two checkered color-ways are made: one with violet and one with red ground. In the Almgren factory archive these kerchiefs are called Daladukar or Faludukar referring to their market in the region of Dalecarlia in central Sweden. The color pattern in the checks is asymmetric, giving the kerchief different character if the green or yellow corner is turned outside.

The same woven design is also made on a black warp with colored weft in cerise, lilac, lime, green and orange. These scarves have a hand sewn hem and no fringes. The nuances are picked from samples in the Almgren archives. The reproduced silk kerchiefs have the same softness and feel as the old originals. The reproductions are branded, both to follow the tradition and also to avoid them to be mixed up with antique silk kerchiefs.

Elin Håkansson: Sidensjalettens historia, Sörmlandsbygden 1938
Marie Louise Wulfcrona Dagel: Sjaletter och halskläden i Nordiska Museet vävda hos KA Almgrens Sidenväveri i Stockholm. Essay in Ethnology Stockholm University 1979




Silk kerchiefs were used both as head kerchiefs and neck kerchiefs, on the photo it is combined with a wool shawl.

Samples for silk kerchiefs with black warp and colored weft, the Foundation KA Almgren Silk manufactory and Museum. (Photo: Kerstin Wölling)

The samples were used to choose color for the reproduced silk kerchiefs. The Foundation KA Almgren Silk manufactory and Museum. (Photo: Kerstin Wölling)

Painted model for silk kerchief, The Foundation KA Almgren Silk manufactory and Museum. (Photo: Kerstin Wölling)

Point paper draft, the basis for making the punched cards for the jacquard loom. The Foundation KA Almgren Silk manufactory and Museum. (Photo: Kerstin Wölling)

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