Friday, December 11, 2009

Document and Reproduction Prints: Foulards

Every Civil War reproduction collection needs a foulard or two. Above are two from my newest Moda line Civil War Homefront.

In my book America's Printed Fabrics 1770-1890 I discussed foulards:

One distinctive print style is a small isolated figure set in diagonal repeat. Figures fall in a half-drop repeat with rows aligned in staggered fashion, giving the over-all effect of a diamond grid. The figure may be a flower, leaf, paisley cone, or motif so abstract it is identified only as a mignonette (little fancy). The print style with its diagonal, neat design is also known as an Indienne, a copy of an Indian-style print. And, because these prints were so fashionable for scarves, the French word for scarf, foulard, came to mean any half-drop print of isolated small figures. In the years between 1840 and 1865, Americans craved foulards to the point that they became a standard for American clothing and quilts.

Portraits from the 1860s featuring dresses with foulard style prints

Quilt block from about 1850-1860 with a light foulard-style dot and a dark foulard-style geometric
Below are two foulard style reproductions from the Civil War Homefront collection with the original document prints.

You'll note we changed the colors a bit, toning down some of the reds. You'll also see that the originals are sharper, one advantage to the old-fashioned copper roller. Mills use screen printing today, which creates a softer edge to the figures.

For more about America's Printed Fabrics 1770-1890 check the publisher's website by clicking here and scrolling down to the bottom:

It's been translated into French too.

Below: Gretchen in Atlanta has posted a photo of a "Hidden Stars" quilt top made from a Layer Cake precut package of Civil War Homefront on her blog Stella Bella Quilts. The pattern is from Pam & Nicky Lintott's Layer Cake, Jelly Roll and Charm Quilts. She added yellow yardage for the stars to the Layer Cake's 10-inch squares. You can see how the foulard prints add a grid of pattern.



  1. Very interesting information, thank you. I just recieved your Encyl of Applique. That book could keep me busy for the rest of my life, it's excellent!

  2. Really wonderful prints and reproductions, I have some in my collection. It was fun reading the history behind it.


  3. You are so thoughtful in your postings! By reading we learn about fabric and how we are connected to the past as we stitch "new" fabrics into our quilts. It is a nice touch to add Gretchen's quilt to the story. Thanks! Karmen (Brannock) Sunshine

  4. Great posting...an older woman in my guild brought in a tall stack of blocks that have lots of these fabrics in them. She will love reading this post. Thanks...

  5. I am a pushover for both foulards and the wonderful indiennes prints from Provence and as found in the Den Haan and Wagenmaker collections. Thank you for so many really thought provoking and informative posts.
    Janet in Nova Scotia

  6. Thank you so much for all of the information! I am going to use your examples in an art lesson on patterns and printing from the 1800s!

    Marian in Missouri