Sunday, November 27, 2011


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 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. 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


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'.