Many of the Little House books refer to a type of fabric called calico. What exactly is calico, and why was it such a popular fabric to be used in the Pioneer era by those who were moving West?
Calico is a type of cotton fabric, similar to what you would find at a fabric store called either quilting cotton or 100% cotton. In the United States, the term became known more associated with the printed calico Fabric, because the designs were printed on the fabric. However, in Europe, calico most often referred to a unbleached type of cotton.
It is clear that Laura refers to calico as being the printed cotton version, because her descriptions are often filled about the type of pattern that was printed on the fabric itself.
Laura also referred to printed muslin, and muslin was considered a higher grade quality from calico, which was more suited for everyday wear. Muslin was often used for pieces that we need to last a long time, such as undergarments or for dresses for special occasions