I thought it might be fun to share a few of the fabrics currently in my "stash" and swatch collection.  At right are the earliest swatches I've got; they date to 1825-35 or thereabouts, and many are hand-printed with woodblocks.  

Do take the time to click on the photo to enlarge it to actual size, so you can see the beautiful workmanship in these rare old cotton prints!


Swatchbook:  Before 1850

Below and at right are some typical fabrics from the first half of the 19th century - mostly 1830-1845.  Some fabric was still printed by hand using woodblocks or engraved plates, but machine-printing with rollers was quickly making printed cottons affordable to the average consumer.  (The multicolor-on-white chintz at lower right shows how green was achieved: first the leaves were printed in yellow, then printed again with indigo.  For more on "double process" green, go here. )   Click on picture to see fabrics actual size.

Top is a highly-glazed chintz.


To achieve green, dyers overprinted yellow with Prussian or indigo blue. 

Lower left is printed with quercitron (oak) dye; it and toile to its right are highly glazed. 

Checks at left and center top row are woven; 

red and black check at top right is printed and highly glazed.  

Here's a few prints from the decades surrounding the Civil War.   Most are in the pink/brown shades so popular at the time, all produced with madder.  Compare these with the prints of the last quarter of the 20th century, and you'll note the scale of these designs is larger, and more colors appear in the same print than in future decades. I particularly like that little wooden cherry? Apple? print at upper left.


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