Scraps from the Past
The wonderful Paula B kindly sent me a package with two scrap collections, one from the late 1800s and one from the 1930s. There are at least 200 different fabrics represented! Most of them are cotton, but a few are wool.
Being that today is ScrapHappy Day for June, I thought I would share them. These little scraps will probably never be put into any project; they will just be treasured for the inspiration they bring from the past!
I can make my own visual guide, like the ones in one of my favorite books: Dating Fabrics: A Color Guide 1800 – 1960, by Eileen Jahnke Trestain, 1998, American Quilter’s Society. I think that should count as a ScrapHappy project. 🙂
There are all kinds of wonderful fabric samples available online. Here are two of my favorites:
They are from The Clark museum in Williamstown, Massachusetts, where the Mary Ann Beinecke Collection of textile books is housed. Over 400 of them have been digitized, and they are so much fun to wander through.
ScrapHappy Day is the 15th of every month, and it is hosted by Kate and Gun. Here is the list of participants:
Kate, Gun, Titti, Heléne, Eva, Sue, Nanette, Lynn, Lynda,
Birthe, Turid, Susan, Cathy, Debbierose, Tracy, Jill, Claire, Jan, Karen,
Moira, Sandra, Linda, Chris, Nancy, Alys, Kerry, Claire, Jean, Johanna,
Joanne, Jon, Hayley, Dawn, Gwen (me), Connie, Bekki, Pauline and Sue L.
You can visit them, to see what people have done this month to actually create things from scraps instead of just sorting them and playing with them as I did.
And thank you again to Paula for sharing these scraps with me!
Oh! I love the gray fabrics especially. So pretty!
These are really fascinating, they make me try to envision what the designs would have looked like as clothing of the various past eras.
Yes, I have learned a lot over the years about the different fashion eras, but I was really surprised at the bright bright colors as I went through those online samples books! The first artificial dyes were invented in 1856, but the sample books from before then have very gaudy colors too!
What a great resource for help in dating fabrics!
Yes, I want to pull out my old quilts and see if any of the same fabrics show up, just out of curiosity.
I think curated scraps definitely counts as a ScrapHappy project. They are of use as inspiration and don’t actually need to be assembled into anything, do they?
How will you preserve them? They are wonderful
For now they are in a cotton bag. At some point, I may buy an acid-free box for them, or put some in an archival-quality book.
That is wonderful
Great post and very interesting. Thanks for sharing.
Oh, they’re wonderful! And such a resource. Will you put them into a book, with notations? That sounds like you . . .
That would be a great plan to make two copies with pieces of the individual fabrics. And then, for safety’s sake, I would store one off site! For the multiples, I may make mini-quilts and put them into really nice greeting cards with a note as to their provenance. Or just pass some on for a guild fundraiser.
What fun little pieces of history! If you were close by, I’d call you up and say we need to go see Margo. She’s the owner of a quilt shop here in my town called Reproduction Fabrics. Margo is a wealth of information on the history of fabrics, and just browsing her site might give you some information. She has also designed some fabric lines based on historical fabrics. She’d be able to tell you more about some of those scraps, I think. Here’s the link to her site. http://www.reproductionfabrics.com/
Oh my gosh! You made me remember that back in the days before the internet, I ordered samples from her, for the historical park I was working at then. And I just went and dug them out!
The park director would never approve of us buying them, but I had so much fun even then, poring over them as I tried to learn about fashions and fabrics of the 1800s. If we had had the internet back then, I would have been looking at her historic swatch book all the time.
And then, as I saw one of the Shaker gray samples Margo sent me in 1997, I thought it was so similar to one of these swatches, that I started thinking, “Oh no! What if these are reproductions and I misunderstood?”
But nothing else matched up, so I think these really are historic. 🙂
She would probably be able to tell you if they were.
If you wanted larger pieces of the fabric, you could tile photos and then print out the result. If nothing else, you could scan the fabrics to use for reference and store the originals in an archival quality box.
Yes, I got a start on the scanning, and I will get the archival box. I think I will just keep them in this format — maybe if I ever needed to mend an old quilt, I would use some of the prints that have multiples, but otherwise, I will just treasure them.
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