Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Stars in a Time Warp 12: Foulards

Star by Becky Brown
A foulard print in the center square and 
red points contrasted with a tossed floral.

Rather than focusing on color and dyes for a while we'll look at print style. Foulard-style prints were particularly popular for clothing in the 1860s.

Bettina Havig
Foulard or offset prints in both star and background.

Vintage top about 1840-1860.
The two simple madder reds on the left are figures printed in an offset repeat.

Classic 1860s fashion

These dresses may be printed wools---delaines.
 The off-the-shoulder look above means
she's still considered a girl rather than a woman

A similar girl's dress

Another way to describe the set style is an isolated figure in a half drop repeat

There are many terms for the staggered repeat.
When the figure is circles we call them Polka Dots.

Vintage quilt, 1850-1870
We see a lot of foulard sets in the printed wools of the mid-19th-century.

Vintage cotton quilt, 1850-1880

Vintage quilt, mid-19th century

Vintage quilt, mid-19th century, found in Minnesota Project.
Picture from the Quilt Index.

That diagonal grid can really define a look. If you are interested in mimicking mid-19th-century quilts you need reproduction foulards in the scrapbag.

Patatelier on her blog:
"I never saw a foulard I didn't like."

The exaggerated print scale and pose may
mean this is an actress in a stage costume.


Here's a little repro quilt Jan Schultz did in 2008,
bordered with a madder-style foulard.

I have a new collection for Moda called Alice's Scrapbag, coming out as yardage in September, 2015.
Alice had many foulard-style prints in her 1850s scrapbag, including this paisley cone. The original is on the left; the redder one is the reproduction.
See more about the collection and its foulards here:

Two of my older repro prints in madder-style shades.

Above and below from Circa 1825 collection by In the Beginning

A classic green from Judie Rothermel's New Colonies

Foulard from Red Rooster

The offset figures can really catch your eye. In Marsha McCloskey's star
quilt the blue off-set print should be background but dots demand your attention.

The latest Collection for a Cause with two classic foulards.

Ann contrasted two foulards with a seaweed or coral repeat in the background
for her North Star.

Valerie used a foulard for the background and a tossed paisley for the red.

A tiny quilt by Kathie Ratcliffe making good
use of foulard-style madders. Kathie really understands the
way seamstresses used fabric in the 19th century.

What To Do with Your Stack of Stars:
Set Them in Half Drop Fashion

Quilt dated 1864 by Octavia Lewis
Maine State Museum
The staggered repeat was so important to mid-century design that it was a favored set for quilt blocks too. 

Vintage quilt, 1840-1880
Particularly in applique.

Set your star blocks on point to create a foulard-style set.  I did some sketches in EQ7 using the On-Point Layout for 6" blocks.

Dark stars with light backgrounds set on point....

or light stars on dark backgrounds.
If you really want to emphasize the diagonal grid add sashing between the stars.

Dark stars on light backgrounds with 1-1/2" sashing
This is how Octavia Lewis got the look in the field of stars
behind her flag above.

1-1/2" sashing
(Proportion in the sashing is one quarter the block size here.)
The wider the sashing the more isolated the star.

3" sashing
Here's a sashing half the size of the blocks.

Insanity, pieced by Barb Heetland, 
quilted by Judy Wehrspant, Milford, Iowa

Barb made 4-1/2" stars and set them
with alternate plain blocks. It's a different block but
when set like this it makes the same old-fashioned, diagonal grid.

Judy's machine quilting is terrific.

One More Thing About Foulard-style prints

Women modeling traditional French clothing.
National Geographic.

Foulard is a French word that has come to mean not only the print style but clothing traditionally made from the patterned fabric.

A foulard-style necktie.

In recent decades foulards came to define the "Preppy look."

So---are you going to make a box labeled Foulards
where you keep these spotty prints sorted by style rather than color?

For more about foulards see my book America's Printed Fabric, pages 68-71.

And a post about foulards in a Civil-War-era stash.

More about earlier foulard styles:

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Quilt Causing A Crisis of Community

A Crisis of Community: Trials and Transformation of a New England Town, 1815-1848,  is based on the extensive diaries of Mary White of Boylston, Massachusetts. Author Mary Babson Fuhrer does an impressive job of linking changes in New England's culture to events described by Mary Avery White and her neighbors.
"This account of Boylston, Massachusetts over three decades of wrenching change tells the dramatic story of how a social order that was founded by Puritans in the 17th century, and that managed to survive the upheaval of revolution and the creation of a republic in the 18th century, came apart unexpectedly in the course of a single generation during the 1820s and 1830s." Robert A. Gross, University of Connecticut.

The First Congregational Church in Boylston

White's diary and Fuhrer's book reveal how an antislavery quilt became the focus of  dissension in Boylston as conservative and liberal groups argued over religion, slavery and women's roles. Although older than many of the women in the more radical group, White was an enthusiastic agent for change.

Mary Avery White (1778-1860) 
Her diary is in the collection of Old Sturbridge Village

Parts of the diary have been published on line, particularly events dealing with White's antislavery activism.
Fri [Oct] 4 [1839] ...I attended the lecture in the evening Caroline & myself assisted in getting the bed quilt at the Hall for the Antislavery cause.

See that link here:

Mary Babson Fuhrer's book cover has the
image of this abolitionist cradle quilt with an antislavery poem.
It's attributed to Lydia Maria Child.
Collection of Historic New England.

White was one of the antislavery activists who expressed political opinion through needlework. She was a founder of the Boylston Female Antislavery Society whose members met to stitch needlework to donate to the Boston Antislavery Fair, including a crib quilt and a bedquilt in 1837. The larger quilt was described by one of the Boylston woman as a bedcovering that "none but an Abolitionist would buy." Their quilt, which has not been identified, may have been similar to the Everettville, Massachusetts quilt inked with abolitionist sentiments.

An antislavery quilt by the women of Everettville.
See a post here:

But there was a split in Boylston and Boston too, primarily over how active churches should be in the antislavery cause. Divergent views became dissension. As Deborah Chapman recalled in a letter to her sister Ann:
"about the time of our fair....[a] Bed quilt was made up there [in Boylston] and quite a dreadful fight they had about it."

The Town Hall

Two antislavery fairs were planned for Boston. To which would the quilt go? A member of  one group was heard to say that if the quilt was intended to raise money at the other group's fair, "Every stitch which they set (and they had set a good many) should come out."

A fundraising fair in the 1860s,
raising money for the Union.

The story continues that the quilt went to the more radical Boston fair where it was purchased by William Lloyd Garrison himself. The Bolyston Female Antislavery Society split into two different organizations just like the Boston society.

Fuhrer's book is a great read for anyone interested in early 19th-century women's lives and New England society and religion.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Stars in a Time Warp 11: Purple

Reproduction block by Bettina Havig

Vintage block from the last half of the 19th-century. 
Mary Barton collection.
Picture from the Quilt Index.

Reproduction block by Becky Brown

Vintage quilt, 1870-1890

We've been making some vivid blocks in the first ten
weeks of the QuiltAlong, so purple reproductions will
be a change.

Some of Bettina's blocks

Much of the purple we see in quilts from the 19th century is muted. 

It may have left the mill quite bright but light seems to have a strong effect on the color, fading it to brown.

Vintage block from a quilt in the collection of the Benton County (Oregon) Museum

Here's a brownish swatch removed from an old top.
Notice the tiny strip of brighter purple in the seam at the bottom.

Sometimes you find a swatch that hasn't really seen the light of day because it's tipped into a book (glued into a book).

Swatches tipped into Persoz's 1845 dye book

How purple were all these purples at one time?

Vintage quilt about 1880-1900

Vintage quilt, perhaps 1870-1890

You can see the purple setting squares fading on the fold lines.

Mid-century quilt from Judy's Antique Quilts.
This one's held up well.

Vintage block from the early 19th century. 
Collection of Old Sturbridge Village.
Again this early block may be vivid because it was kept in the dark.

Faded or not, lilac makes a nice contrast to the brighter colors of the time.

One often finds the purples mixed with madder reds, browns and oranges.

My guess is that the purple is from logwood dye, which worked well with the madder mordant-dyeing method, or it may be that madder itself could produce the color.

Here's a bolt label or cloth label from the collection of
the American Textile History Museum:
Madder and Lilac together.
Read more about labels at their site:


Reproduction North Star block by Heidi/Cranberry Chronicles

Purple grounds in chintzes go back to the 18th century. For the mid-19th-century you'll probably want to stick with monochromatic prints.

Judie Rothermel reproduction
And you have to decide how purple you want to go.
Should it be purple as it came off the bolt?

Paula Barnes, Companions

Or purple as it appears today?

From Betsy Chutchian's Wrappers

Judie's Authentic Minis

Terry Thompson's Merchants Wife

Some purples suitable for mourning prints from my 
Civil War Jubilee collection for Moda.
I found this color in a swatch book---not exposed to light.

Reproduction block by Becky Brown with purples from that line.

You see redder violets too as in this Collection
for a Cause Mill Book 1892 coming soon.

And look for purples mixed with madder shades.

From a Shelburne Museum collection

What To Do with Your Stack of Stars?
Build a square around your block.

Grandma Laurel's blocks-
Fabrics: Dancing in the Rain 
from Edyta at Laundry Basket Quilts with
some bronzey-browns

Turn your stars on point and add triangles to the edges.
Cut squares 9-3/4" and cut each into 4 triangles for a 6" block.

Top by CottonCharmQuilts-
Fabrics: Wicasset from Minick & Simpson

Both tops above were made from the Schnibbles pattern Madeline from Carrie Nelson of Miss Rosie's Quilt Company (Carrie now blogs for Moda, YAY!) See her at her new job here:

This set is particularly good for sampler blocks that are not the same size. Make the corner triangles extra-large and then trim all the blocks to the same size later.

Another way to get the same look is to alternate x blocks with the stars.

Battlefields from Country Threads

One More Thing About Purple
British Plate-Print, about 1780
Winterthur Museum #1960.85
"printed in purple but now brown." 
See page 214.

Linda Eaton's new edition of  Printed Textiles: British and American Cottons & Linens 1700-1850 from the Winterthur Museum emphasizes the fugitive nature of purple colors. The catalog focuses on furnishing fabric and shows numerous examples of furnishings "printed in purple but now brown." Drapes and bedspreads are usually exposed to more light so more apt to fade, but I am having a hard time imagining all these lovely browns being an even lovelier purple when new from the mill. I'm going to have to change my thinking.

You need to own Eaton's new Winterthur catalog. It's the current last word on Printed Furnishings.

Read other posts I've done on purple: