Sunday, April 4, 2010

Centennial Prints

Every Civil War reproduction line needs a star print. My Civil War Home Front for Moda has this simple star that adds a patriotic accent in a several useful background colors.

Many of the stars in my antique fabric collection originated after the Civil War, which ended in 1865. A decade later the Centennial anniversary of the Declaration of Independence inspired a fair in Philadelphia and a plethora of patriotic prints. The theme in 1876 was a re-union of North and South under the Union flag and symbols such as the eagle and George Washington.

I've been collecting original and reproduction Centennial prints for years. It's a good collecting specialty because the originals are abundant and they've inspired several reproductions.

This print with an eagle and a portrait of Lafayette is a reproduction printed in 1876. The original was printed when Revolutionary hero Lafayette returned to America about 1825. I've never seen the original, or even a photo of the original, but historian Xenia Cord tells me she saw a piece in a quilt at the International Quilt Study Center and Museum.

The document print (original) at the bottom has faded quite a bit. Above is a reproduction (more an interpetation) that Terry Thompson and I did for Climbing Jacob's Ladder for Moda in 2007. The musical notes are the tune to "Hail, Columbia"

In 2000 Judie Rothermel reproduced this print celebrating the Philadelphia Exposition in 1876. She changed the words to say "To the New Century."

A few years ago Terry Clothier Thompson did a collection of Centennial prints in red, white and blue for Moda called Libertyville.

Pat L. Nickols has a new RJR collection available soon called Waving Old Glory

She's reproduced the print in this child's dress from the Collection of the Smithsonian Institution.

Read about a quilt made of Centennial prints in the collection of the National Museum of American History at the Smithsonian by clicking here:

You know designer fabric collections are available only for as short time but you may be able to find a few of the older pieces at your local quilt shop, or do an online search to find them.


  1. I recognize a lot of these. Americana prints are one of my favorites and I've purchased many over the years. I never tire of all teh great new lines.
    Happy Easter!

  2. Barbara, I'd love to hear about how the designers go about making a reproduction of an old fabric, such as Pat reproducing the print from the child's dress in the Smithsonian. Happy Easter!

  3. My favorite subject. Love these centennial prints. I have used some of them in the copy of this same quilt that I am making for myself. Centennial prints, old browns and indigo blues..........quilting couldn't get better.

  4. I also would like to hear about reproducing old fabric prints. Why are the prints not copied exactly? To be fresher? Copyright isssues? Just curious. You say the originals are abundant. Where do you find them?

    I love reading your blog and I am always learning new things.

    Thank you for providing us with this info. It is always fascinating.

  5. Wonderful prints and reproductions.
    I always look for them in thrifts, but have never found anything earlier than the 50's.