In 1812, Jefferson expanded and mechanized cloth manufacturing at Monticello, establishing a textile workshop in a building along Mulberry Row originally constructed as housing for free white workers.

In this building, a dozen enslaved women and girls wove coarse fabric to help clothe Monticello slaves. Girls began spinning and weaving around age 12 – the same time that boys learned nail-making.

The textile workshop featured two 18th-century inventions – the loom with a "flying shuttle" (1733) and the "spinning jenny" (1770) – that greatly increased the amount of cloth his enslaved spinners and weavers could make.  By 1815, Jefferson reported, "I make in my family 2000. yds of cloth a year, which I formerly bought from England, and it only employs a few women, children & invalids who could do little in the farm."