Corn Cob Reinvented


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Corn Cob Reinvented



The loom began being used in the 1800s, and the corn cob sewing tool was used in conjunction with it. The tool in the video was used as the women would load their corncobs with thread of all the same color using a special tool. When they warp the loom they would do it in packets of 10-20 at a time with the sewing tool of corn cob bobbins because it was easier to warp it that way, instead of doing it individually. The people at this time had a long and complicated process of making clothes. The women were the ones who were in charge of sewing. The warp is the set of lengthwise yarns that are held in tension on a frame or loom. It is held under high tension during the entire process of warping the loom and the yarn must be strong for that reason. Traditional fibers used for warping include wool, linen, alpaca, and silk. The threads are tied onto the loom before weaving begins and are held very tightly throughout the entire weaving process. The warp threads pass through heddles, which can lift specific threads as a group. The cross threads are called the weft. Woven fabric forms as the warp and weft interlock to hold the threads in place. The loom in Vermillionville had 1000 threads so the sewing tool of corncob bobbins allowed the loom to be loaded with a bundle of 20 threads of one of these fibers. This was done before placing it on the loom in order to be more efficient.

The Corn Bobbin sewing tool was used about 100-120 years ago in the late 1800s, early 1900s. It aided in putting the thread on the loom. The loom is a device that is used to weave cloth and tapestry. The basic purpose is to hold the threads under tension to facilitate the interweaving of the weft threads. It developed from once using human power, to using water and eventually mechanics. It was one of the key developments in the industrialization of weaving during the Industrial Revolution. Edmund Cartwright created the first power loom in 1785 and by 1850 there were 260,000 in operation in England. It used water as power instead of human power which sped up the weaving process. The power loom reduced demand for hand weavers, which caused a decrease in wages and employment. In the long-term it made cloth more affordable making the power loom increase in demand. This caused a growth in industrial employment and opened up opportunities for women mill workers. However, in households these looms were not always able to be acquired. So many French women would create their own things on the loom. The corn cob bobbin allowed for more efficiency of the process.

The Acadians would’ve used it because they home spun their clothes. In order to get the loom loaded with thread, the corn bobbin tool would help in putting the threads on the loom. Many children’s mothers in the south would weave year round. Commonly, not every weaver had a loom because it was a very valuable too. Therefore, it was often shared between households. Warping is the first thing done in the process of weaving with the loom. The corn cob bobbins allowed the threads to be placed on the warping board more quickly. Basically all fabrics during the late 1800s in the south were made this way. Women spent so much time at this task that they often combined it with socializing. The corn cob bobbin sewing tool was essential in decreasing the amount of time needed to load the board and was very popular in southern Louisiana.
As seen here, the loading of the string on the loom was very complicated and intricate. In order to make the process simpler, the corn cob sewing tool would allow 20 strands to be loaded at a time as opposed to one at a time.

As seen in the image above, the loading of the string on the loom was very complicated and intricate. In order to make the process simpler, the corn cob sewing tool would allow 20 strands to be loaded at a time as opposed to one at a time.


Emily Frederick


An Acadian women discussing her sewing practices



Emily Frederick, “Corn Cob Reinvented,” History Harvest of Louisiana French-Speaking Heritage, accessed August 22, 2017,


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