08 August 2010

Civil War, Reproduction & Vintage explained

When a lot of us hear ‘reproduction’ our first thoughts go to Civil War reproduction prints. These have become very popular and of course look wonderful in the classic patterns of that time. The Civil War in the United States (or not united) went from 1861-1865 but the look covers the years both before and after that. A fabulous book to get you started, or to add to your collection, is "Reproduction Quilts from the Civil War Period 1850-1865" from one of the queens of reproduction fabric, Judie Rothermel.
Another time period that often gets fabric collectors weak at the knees is the 1930’s. The Depression era produced anything but depressing fabrics, with the time known for its distinctive clear brights and co-ordinating prints. Feed sacks (for animal feed or domestic flour) were printed with popular designs to encourage housewives to buy the products. The double wedding ring pattern and Sunbonnet Sue are very evocative of this time.
An excellent resource is "Dating Fabrics – A Colour Guide 1800-1960" by Elieen Jahnke Trestain. If you have an antique quilt and you’re trying to date the pieces, this is definitely for you. Images of the fabrics in full colour and full size allow easy identification or even a trip down memory lane.
Despite much research, it is my interpretation that the term ‘vintage fabric’ has no known universal definition. It can refer to simply ‘old’ fabric, however we are seeing more of the 1960’s-70’s being referred to as vintage (we suggest ‘contemporary’).
Vintage is well represented in ‘Sew’ by Cath Kidston showing off this style beautifully. A great idea to get you started on this pretty look.
We have put together a collection of reference and pattern books which are the best available in the various era’s.