Vintage and antique fabric sample books give us an idea of the fabrics that were available to quilt makers in the past.
This is a Simplex sample book showing fabrics available from 1923 - 1924. This book contains a combination of actual fabric samples and designs printed on paper. It's sometimes hard to tell the difference between the two because they are so realistic.
The book contains samples of the solid colored fabrics and the printed fabrics.
Small sized light colored prints.
There are also pages with dark fabric prints in indigo, black, grey, and claret.
As a quilter and quilt collector I am naturally drawn to fabrics. New or old, I love fabrics. One of the best ways to learn about fabrics is to study books on fabrics (and quilts) and study fabrics in fabric sample books. Over the years I have been fortunate to find some great fabric sample books.
Sample book dating to 1939 from Rice - Stix converters. Here they offer their "Topmost Fashions" line of cotton fabrics.
As a quilter and quilt collector I am naturally drawn to fabrics. New or old, I love fabrics. One of the best ways to learn about fabrics is to study books on fabrics (and quilts) and study fabrics in fabric sample books. Over the years I have come across some great fabric sample books, the following date to the 1930's era.
Ely and Walker was a large fabric manufacturer from St. Louis during the 1900's. The two large fabric sample books pictured above contain hundreds of fabric samples from the 1930's.
One of their fabric lines, Quadriga Cloth, was one of their most popular dress weight cottons of the period. "Needleized" refers to the manufacturing process of piercing the fabric with needles which improves the texture or "hand".
There are also prints that we wouldn't expect to find in 1930's quilts. One of their lines was the Quaker Chintz Prints. These were similar to fabrics from the 1800's, like the double pinks, and the yellow fabrics with small floral designs.
Also fabrics in greys, blacks, navy, and darker jewel toned prints. Prints like this can throw off our quilt dating if we are not aware that they were still available in the 1930's - 40's.
There were many other prints from this period that we may not recognize as 30's prints.
Presenting this early crib quilt, made during the 1840 - 50's period for a well loved (and lucky) baby. The small size of this quilt, and the combination of ordinary early dress prints and unusual large floral chintz prints, make this quilt an interesting study.
While the pattern is a simple four patch, the fabrics that are used change this from the ordinary to the unusual, and lifting it into the realm of the rare, an early chintz crib quilt.
Notice that the quilt maker used two different fabrics for the borders, a great chintz large print fabric with a deep yellow background on two of the borders, and another unusual floral fabric for the other two borders and alternate blocks.
This quilt is a good example and a reminder for us to use different scaled prints when reproducing early quilts.
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