Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Stars in a Time Warp 13: Printed Plaids

Printed plaid reproduction block by Becky Brown

Printed plaid repro star on a woven gingham plaid
by Bettina Havig

Vintage top from 1840-1860
We don't often notice printed plaids because they are usually low drama.

Vintage top from 1840-1890. 
With a Turkey red like that demanding attention
the blue printed plaid becomes background.

A similar repro print from Blue Hill

But you find plaids everywhere---
printed in the two blocks on the left, possibly woven
in the block on the right.

Vintage top from 1840-1860
Saw this on Inspired by Antique Quilts blog.

Vintage block from 1880-1900
Low-drama plaid prints, high drama sash.

Vintage quilt from 1840-1860
In the 1840s and '50s plaids rose from supporting roles to drama queens.
Printed plaids offered pattern that woven plaids never could.

Vintage top from the 1840s,
pictured in my Clues in the Calico

Vintage quilt from the 1840s.
From Barbara D. Schaffer's blog

Another vintage star with dramatic plaids

Vintage block
Star Points: Printed plaid with a floral in the empty spaces

Vintage top from 1840-1860

The idea of adding florals to a plaid might be considered 
over-the-top. But 1840's fashionistas had to have them.

Mary Todd Lincoln in the mid-1840s dressed in silk plaid.
Pleats and tucks added to the over-all look.

Dress from the 1840s in the Tasha Tudor collection.
Dresses above and below are wool combination fabrics,
challis or delaine.

Don't you wish you'd been around in the 1840s
to see women wearing these dresses?
And don't worry that you'd look terrible in them.

The plaids emphasized a wide look that was considered
attractive. Plump was the goal.

The print above: 
very much like the blue reproduction print from Terry Thompson

If you are a fan of Prussian blues you may have a good
collection of mid-19th-century printed plaids.

Cyndi at Busy Thimble posted this vintage star.

Prussian blue's printing attributes seem to have
encouraged some wild and wonderful designs.

Another aspect of the plaid fad: Prints set in a grid or plaid format.

Back of a vintage quilt from 1840-1900
A madder-style  plaid in a plaid

Vintage piece from 1840-1860
Notice this brown print was once purple. See the seam allowance at the bottom.

Vintage plaid and floral from 1840-1880


Detail: Wild Goose Chase reproduction by 
Barbara D. Schaffer. The setting triangles
echo that high-drama Prussian blue style.

Jeanne's reproduction for double pinks

Check your collection of Prussian blues for printed plaids.
And your madders and pinks.

Reproduction star by Becky Brown
Diagonal plaids are a look you can't with woven plaids.

My Civil War Homefront:
 Document print on the left and repro right.

Jo Morton Stafford County

Nancy Gere often includes a printed plaid
in her collections.

Alice Putnam by Nancy Gere

Don't forget figures set in a plaid-like grid.

From my Civil War Jubilee, a plaid grid.

What To Do with Your Stack of Stars?
Add to the plaid look with a contrasting sashing.

Reproduction quilt by Barbara D. Schaffer
We can only envy her stash (and her eye!)

Quilt dated 1841-1842
After 1840 one sees many blocks set on point with contrasting sashing strips. These quilts pictured in the Quilt Index show how the interest in diagonal plaids influenced the look of quilts from prints to set.

Last week I showed stars set with sashing that faded into the background.

Quilt dated 1864-65 North Carolina project 

Quilters also loved contrasting sashing.

Massachusetts project

Notice they don't use cornerstones in the grid. 
Different colored squares in
the intersections would give you a different effect.

One More Thing About Plaids

A set of  Scots novels bound in plaid fabrics

Plaids are sometimes described as Scotch Plaids or Tartans, a reference to romantic ideas of Scotland's traditional clothing.

Queen Victoria in 1854 in a woven plaid shawl.
Royal Collection Trust.

The fashion for plaid owed much to the British royal family and to Sir Walter Scott's novels like Waverly and The Lady in the Lake.

Plaids still signify brave and hearty men.
Just do a digital search for "I'm a Lumberjack."
We'll discuss woven plaids in a few weeks.

Read more at these blog posts:

See pages 72-75 of my America's Printed Fabric for a discussion of printed plaids.


Wendy Caton Reed said...

I've always known that I was born a century too late. I love the plaids with florals and "plump" has always been my look!

Jeanne said...

"Plump was the goal" just cracks me up!! I'm there too Wendy :) Thanks for featuring my pink star. I do have some plaids up my sleeve - be back later with new stars.

Lori said...

Low drama plaids! Love that terminology!
I know I have a lot to choose from.

Barb said...

I have a tendency to shortchange the plaids in my repro collection. Has something to do with the uneven plaid issue in learning to choose fabric for dressmaking in college, I think. The images in your post showed me a whole new way to see them, and I thank you for it.
Also, thanks for the terrific presentation in NYC last month at the Empire Quilters show. You rock!