Get into print …

30/01/2011 § Leave a comment

I love vintage printed fabric.  There are many books and websites dedicated to fabric prints, illustrating the wide range, from detailed and exotic designs to everyday simplicity that could be found hanging up at windows and used in the kitchens and parlours of very ordinary homes.

I’ve chosen two of my favourites for you today …

Red flower cotton print

Red flower, cotton print

I bought this at our local car-boot sale some years ago.  They were made up as kitchen curtains and had leaded weights in the corners to keep them hanging straight!  I love the simplicity of the design and the way the black dot doesn’t quite fill the centre of the flower.  I don’t know whether this is intended, but I think it adds to the charming character of this very simple printed pattern.

Here’s another favourite …

Pink rosebuds on blue with white dot pattern

Lovely pink rosebuds on soft blue

This fabric is satinised – quite shiny on the right side.  I found it again, either at a car boot sale or in a charity shop.  I’ve used snippets for this and that over the last couple of years but then I found it, quite by accident, on a website specialising in vintage printed fabric and was astonished at the price!  Now I’m in a quandary – shall I continue to use it, or save it for … what?

Some of my favourite vintage prints are  ‘barkcloth’.  This fabric is a cotton and usually slightly textured like tree bark.  In the 1940’s and 1950’s it was very cheap and so was often used in ordinary homes to make curtains, drapery and upholstery.  Because it was quite cheap and not very good quality, much of  it has been lost, but it’s still possible to find good pieces if you know what you’re looking for.  Here are two of my favourites – the first was hanging as curtains in an empty house where the owner left them for us; the second is a scrap that I found in an elderly relative’s remnant box.

Curtains from No 48

Barkcloth curtains from No 48

Barkcloth from Aunt B

Barkcloth from Aunt B


What soft colours and such pretty old-fashioned patterns, printed onto rather rough and ‘flawed’ woven cotton.  I’m glad they’ve survived.  I’m going to use some of the barkcloth to cover a couple of cushions for my sewing room.

More print and maybe some more about pattern tomorrow …


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