Sunday, December 25, 2011

Happy Holiday



Two grandsons...4 and 6 years old..what fun!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Silhouettes in fabric design

Last week I talked about 100 years of changing silhouettes in fashion. Today...100 years in textile design. The silhouette of a 'fern' to the left from the c. 1830 Dargate book (French) is a discharged chrome orange.














This silhouette of a flower and once again a 'ferny' branch is from my Turn of the 20th Century day book (American). The delicate lavender and sage coloration is from pigment. The actual date it was printed is Sept 13, 1900.
















These samples are from an American company...Spring 1939.
The simple red,white and blue colors are classic for the War Years  for America (1941-45).


Notice the change in delicacy and coloration of the silhouettes over 100 years

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Etienne de Silhouette

A silhouette is a likeness cut from dark material and mounted on a light background..or the opposite.The term originated with Etienne de Silhouette, the French finance minster during a period of financial austerity brought on by the Seven Years War (1756-1763).  Due to his severe economic policies, his name became synonymous with anything done or made cheaply. A profile cut from black paper is an inexpensive portrait.

Silhouette is a term often used to describe a fashion. I am currently working on a lesson plan for my students about the fashion cycle. Today the beginning/ending of a 'fashion' is about 18-24 months. I want them to also be aware of the 'long view'...say 100 years (1810-1910). The female fashion silhouette (basically 3 shapes:bell, bouffant and straight) has changed from

Empire style with stays (Napoleon was trying to create a French empire)














to the bell shape of American Civil War dresses supported by hoops

by the late century...it was a bouffant style with bustle 

Each of these styles had distinctive undergarments.The Flapper discarded all corseting and returned to the straight silhouette.


Sunday, December 4, 2011

Document pieces

for my newest line...Little Pink Stars II printed by Newcastle Fabrics.

A classic Indigo and white.



















Chocolate and Pink



































Bette's Favorite Pink


















My favorite....


































See the entire Little Pink Stars line.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Opportunity

In 1997, the year I turned 50, I had the opportunity to purchase my first antique fabric sample book, the Dargate book.

This is a sample from an early Dargate line (2003). At that time, it was necessary for me to remove the sample from the book. This was sent to the fabric stylist for artwork, then on to Korea for printing. I cut off a corner and kept it for the color corrections of the strike off. 












This is the croquis prepared by the fabric stylist from the above sample. I am currently working on a new Dargate fabric line and have always been thankful for the opportunities of the Dargate book.


While in graduate school in my mid 50s, I thought I would like to have the chance to teach....but decided I was probably too old to start a new career. I have recently been given that option...as an adjunct professor at Montana State University. In January, I will be 65 and have the opportunity to teach Fashion and Textiles to a room full of 19 year olds! I am thankful for the chance.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Miniature Chintz Center Panel Roses

Our new Miniature Chintz Center Panels...available early December.

These were originally block printed corners of cotton scarves,an important element of traditional Provencal dress turn of the 19th century.

Both panels are taken from a book of Paper Impressions owned by my friend Judy Schwender, Curator of Collections/Registrar at the National Quilt Museum in Paducah, KY.


Once the blocks were cut for a design, the first printing was often on paper as a 'strike off' or check on the pattern. These paper impressions were saved as a record of a mill's production or used to register the design at the Patent Office.



During my visit to Winterthur last May, I was able to see a miniature quilt with a tiny Chintz Center Panel. ( see page 81 of 'Quilts in a Material World' by Linda Eaton). I was captivated! What was the origin of this small printed square?... furnishing goods (the texture of the square did not appear 'heavy') or dress goods?

My second day at Winterthur was spent in the library with sample books. There...in the last 1/2 hour of the day, in the last book....I found the answer!!..."Print sample book, 1795". In this slim volume filled with paper impression I found the answer to my question! Corner motifs on square cotton scarves or "mouchoirs". In several of the first pages there were corner squares of a scarf border.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Hoyle's Purple

This week I was reading Textiles at Temple Newsam by Helen Bower. I noticed two examples on page 59 of 'first half of the 19th century' double violets with this notation...'examples of Hoyle's purple, the best fast purple dye of this period'. I was not familiar with this particular purple dye...and so I started searching my reference books and journals. I did eventually find several  mentions of  Thomas Hoyle and Sons of Lancashire.

Purple cotton prints of that era were often successfully printed by a weak iron mordant and madder dye bath. Logwood also produced a lilac or purple print but these were usually fugitive. Sometimes a combination of madder and logwood were used. So was Hoyle using a different dye?

According to Susan Greene in an article in Dress, Hoyle was using madder dye for his famous Purples. He was just doing a much better job than other printers of the time....better quality greige goods, careful handing of the dye stuffs and extra steps in the process...sulfuric acid pre-treatment of the ground cloth and a final lime water rinse. By specializing in one dye, one process and one print style ( busy patterned prints) and doing them all very well, Hoyle made a name for himself.

This is probably not a Hoyle's purple. Note 'browning' of the purple print in the upper left pieced square. This change often indicates a printing with madder and logwood combination.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Chocolat

The plummy brown prints on a 'silver' or powder blue ground named for a candy wrapper.
















Maroon brown with silver lettering was the style after 1912.





One of the study blocks with 'Chocolates'.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Ubiquitous Double Pinks

Small calico prints in 2 or 3 shades of pink or purple (double pinks/double purples) have been a perennial favorite of the textile industry for over 250 years. The early printing of such fabric was accomplished with mordants and a madder dye bath.

Before dyeing, the mordant, a colorless substance, was applied to the cloth by hand painting (the usual method for the calicos and chintzes produced in India in the 17th/18th century), woodblock printing or copper plate/roller technique. By altering the strength of the mordant, a lively 'double print' was achieved.

An alum mordant gave prints with shades of deep red through pale rose pink while prints from an iron mordant varied from almost black to lilac with all the shades in between. Once printed, the fabric was then processed in a madder dye bath to bring out the colors. A mixture of the mordants will give a brown print. Note double violets in the above block....seconds?


 These are 4 patches from another block.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Panic of 1893

In the past ( pre 2008) whenever I would mention the Panic of 1893....I often received blank stares...except in Seattle. (Seattle became a major US city because it was the supply point for those headed to the Gold Fields following the Panic of 1893). Now more people understand an economic panic and how things change.

Leading up to the Panic, there was a credit shortage here in the US, a growing depression in Europe and the tipping point...the failure of the Philadelphia and Reading Railroads. This lead to a depression here in the US. Banks failed, unemployment soared and 'things' changed. The response by the textile industry...the closing of some mills, a cut back on the design staff at others and a general shift in the style and coloration of the cotton prints on the market.

I have a series of blocks dated 1890-1910 that I am going to use to talk about the before, during and after fabrics.

I love the big stripe in this block...the size is similar to many of the samples in my antique books. What always amazes me....is the drawing by the fabric stylist as she ( her name is Ro) reconstructs the whole pattern (scale and details) from the small sample. I am doubly amazed when the first sample yardage arrives. So what did this stripe really look like 'on the bolt'. 
This second block also contains the lovely stripe. Notice 3 of the blocks contain only 2 components and the forth is creatively pieced! These fabrics are most likely pre Panic.



Sunday, October 16, 2011

"Divers" 1863

I have a large ledger style fabric sample book with damaged corners, a cracked spine and an ornate label on the front. Carefully written in an elegant hand is the word ‘Divers 1863’, French for various.  Inside are numerous samples of printed cottons from various French printers in Mulhouse.  These are some of my favorites!

My newest line of fabrics...to be introduced by Newcastle Fabrics at Quilt Market in Houston.










Throughout the book the prints are mostly Madder style....plum, orange and deep browns.  Each page in the book is labeled  '1863'. These were printed in the Mulhouse region of France during the American Civil War.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Uglies

The first synthetic textile dye was discovered in 1856...the famous Perkin's Purple. Other colors soon followed but black was an ongoing technical challenge. Those 1860-1880 blacks were often 'rusty'.

In the early 1890s, finally a good deep black. The fabric designers got a little crazy...with overprints in harsh colors like purple, bright blue, pink and green. These prints were often referred to as 'Uglies' at the time. 'Neons' is a 20th century term for them.  The first modern use of neon lighting was at the Paris Motor Show in 1910.

























The blocks are 'Homeward Bound with Sash and Block' 1880-1910

We are headed out to Yellowstone Park for the weekend for my husband's 67th birthday. We are staying at a B & B on a bluff just above the Yellowstone River. The forecast is for overcast and cool....perfect Montana fall weather!

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Vermiculate

Irregular wavy lines which look like worm tracks. (vermiculatus..Latin for 'worm like in shape')


These designs were often used as a filler pattern in palampores and Kashmir shawls.  Metal strips were embedded into wooden printing blocks to create this pattern in the 17th century.  The design continued in the 18th/19th century etched into copper plates and rollers.


Sunday, September 25, 2011

Paper Impressions


copyright 2011 Margo Krager
Giclee Fine Art Printing on Fabric
 This is my first Miniature Chintz Center Panel taken from a book of Paper Impressions owned by my friend Judy Schwender, Curator of Collections/Registrar at the National Quilt Museum in Paducah, KY.

Once the blocks were cut for a design, it was often first printed on paper as a 'strike off' or check on the pattern. These paper impressions were saved as a record of a mill's production or used to register the design at the London Patent Office.

During my visit to Winterthur last May, I was able to see a miniature quilt with a tiny Chintz Center Panel. ( see page 81 of 'Quilts in a Material World' by Linda Eaton). I was captivated! What was the origin of this small printed square?... furnishing goods (the texture of the square did not appear 'heavy') or dress goods?

My second day at Winterthur was spent in the library with sample books. There...in the last 1/2 hour of the day, in the last book....I found the answer!!..."Print sample book, 1795". In this slim volume filled with paper impression I found the answer to my question! Corner motifs on square cotton scarves or "mouchoirs".  In several of the first pages there were the corner squares of a scarf border...and then in the middle of the book....a wide elaborate border had an oval motif place diagonally over the corner.

I have reproduced this small oval exactly... in terms of size ( 3 1/4" X 5 1/2" )  and color...even the 'weak' coloration of the roses in the upper left!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Jam Making

A 1939 print from one of my 20th century books.

Last Sunday ( 9/11) I had the extraordinary opportunity to take a jam making class ( held at Willow Springs Ranch in the foothills of the Bridger Mountains near Bozeman) taught by Rachel Saunders of Blue Chair Fruit Company in California.

A friend taught me to make jam in the early 70s. By the mid 70s, we were living on the Little Hills Game Experimentation Station in the Peance Basin of western Colorado and I would drive our 3/4 ton Ford pickup to Grand Junction on fruit buying trips...making canned peaches and numerous jams. Over the years, the amount of my jam making has varied..but always I would do a batch of my signature jam..Peach Melba...3 parts peaches to 1 part raspberries. This summer ( my first summer of not working in 35 years) I was again enjoying jam making.

I saw a small notice in the local paper about jam making classes...the Advanced Flavors sounded interesting. The cost of the class was for me high...but I decided I wanted the 'experience'.

Rachel Saunders was absolutely amazing....her knowledge/demonstration of the chemistry of the jam making process, explanation of the building of complex jam flavors as well as the back story of her 10 years of experimentation and 3 1/2 years in business. She has a staff of 3 but still makes all of the jams sold by Blue Chair Fruit Company. I learned so much on Sunday and was inspired!

Friday night after work..I spent 5 hours making Candied Orange Peel...so now I can play today with some black and blue berries...creating something wonderful!

So how does this relate to Textile History? I stepped out of my comfort zone and had an extraordinary experience. I am now totally energized to create a wonderful jam today and to dig deeper into my current research on the history of Chintz!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Quadriga Cloth

One of the 20th century fabric sample books in my collection is from Ely & Walker 1948...featuring their Quadriga Cloth. The offerings still included a variety of sweet med tone pastels.
































There are numerous bias plaids....in a range of sizes.



Some of the newer designs are larger and a little 'edgy'...note the gray and the cartoon black outlining of the motifs.
















And new 'Modern' stylings!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Mountain Man Rendezvous


Native American dancers

Can shoot a buffalo with bow/arrow on horseback

Blacksmith

Beaver trapper wearing wool shirt and brain tanned leather


Vendors Row

Furs and leather for sale