QUILTS & FABRIC: PAST & PRESENT By Quilt Historian Barbara Brackman Above: Moda's Baltimore Blues

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Reproduction Prints Are So Dull?

An old Fuddy-Duddy

Reproduction block by Becky Brown

Occasionally I run across a comment or overhear a shopper claiming that she doesn't care for reproduction prints because they are too drab.

Valerie's reproduction print block
See more about repro blocks every Wednesday at

Becky Brown


Wendy at Constant Quilter


Think Yellow!

Nancy' Swanwick's stars. 
She had a stack of 49 when
I photographed these.

I taught a class in these stars recently and the class was supposed to swap a star or two. Only 1 person of 25 would give up her stars. It wasn't me.
We liked them toooooo much.

Here are some great star blocks from my weekly Stars in a Time Warp QuiltAlong.

Two by Amy

Two by Jeanne




 by Valerie



3 by Louise

Check out our Flickr page:

Vintage quilt from about 1890-1920

My advice: Buy a lot of yellow yardage when you see it. Add it to your reproduction stash. Use it all the time.


Leo said...

Well I would say - have a look at the low-volume quilts thath modern quilters come up with if you want to know dull ...

It's never one fabric alone - it's always the combination ...

Anonymous said...

I don't recall seeing those brighter colors in the reproductions fabrics section of the shops I go to. I wonder if it's the shop owner/buyer who either doesn't buy them or puts them with the newer brighter fabrics?

I admit I usually think duller colors when I hear reproduction. But I also keep trying to remember that the original fabrics have faded, changed color, gotten dirty or stained, etc. I recall when they did chemical analysis on Mt Vernon paint layers everyone was shocked at the bright bold colors originally used.

I'm most familiar with your recent fabric collections of blues, reds, browns, etc. Have you ever done a collection in yellows, oranges or other bright colors?

WoolenSails said...

I like drab;) I find the older fabrics and drab colors are more warming and relaxing to me, but I love a pop of color with folk art, in the house too.


Anonymous said...

regarding my comment at 8:00 - I should also add - when I think of reproduction prints, I usually think of civil war era. Are there reproduction prints from other times? The only one I'm familiar with is 1930s feedsack reproductins.

Wendy Caton Reed said...

great post! Love those high volume colors of the 19th century.

Jeanne said...

I LOVE those bright repros!! I hope you'll do a whole line for us - hint hint :)
My star collection keeps growing. Smiling this morning!

Studio TBF said...

Though these color combinations may look strange to the modern eye, when you put the quilts in a candle lit room, they glow.

Kootenay Quilter said...

I have been using repro. fabrics for several years & have made a number of quilts using them. The most frequent comment people make is that my quilts are so brightly coloured. We forget that those muted colours that people associate with antique quilts did not start out muted!

Dawn, BC

Anonymous said...

My quilt, "Sunset Over Lac Clara," was recently judged into the AQS Lancaster & Paducah quilt shows with its very bright early 19th C. reproduction chrome yellows, poison greens, double pinks, Prussian blues, etc. What fun colors they were to work with! It is truly "in your face" bright, and many were surprised that they were reproduction fabrics, thinking that all 19th C. repros are "dull."
I remember going into a quilt shop and seeing chrome yellow for the first time and jokingly telling the owner, "I'm scared of that fabric!" but later using it for that "pop" of color that can seem a little jolting at first.
Thank you for educating us all on the beauty and history of different fabrics throughout the ages. Love your blog and the information you share!
Mona Redlich

PaulaB quilts said...

The first antique quilt I bought was a Harrison Rose variation and what drew me were the bright red, yellowish green and chrome yellow. I had no idea at the time how old it was, it just went with my cheerful bedroom decor. If I had known it was so old I would have cared for it better!

bountiful quilter said...

I've wondered when seeing a scrap of an original 19th century fabric that is a brighter color next to it's reproduction counterpart that is more muted or muddy in color why it didn't get reproduced in it's true original color? I do buy these brighter reproductions when I see them because they aren't as prevalent in a lot of shops.

Rosa said...

Wow, those stars are super cute in those bright fabrics!