Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Document & Reproduction: Arnold's Attic

Brown and bronze combinations,
 reproductions from Arnold's Attic from Moda.
The prints reproduce style from the 1880-1910 period.

Choosing colors for a reproduction fabric collection involves copying the shades that old dyes created.
Arnold's Attic echoes fabrics that Arnold inherited from his Aunt Alice, who collected prints over 100 years ago.

Browns combined with blues, pinks and khaki shades.
Color inspiration for Arnold's Attic.

The dyes that created these brown prints were synthetic, created in test tubes, rather than the older natural dyes like madder and quercitron that also dyed cotton shades of brown.

A few prints from 1880-1910 from my collection

It's not the individual colors that were so innovative in the 1880's but the color combinations.

The new dyes allowed the designers to easily put khaki greens, salmon pinks and brick reds side-by-side  like the document print above.

Aunt Alice seems to have loved the new shades. Many prints in the bronzey greens and browns have survived in the boxes in Arnold's attic. One of the most innovative combinations was steel blue with earth-tone greens and reds.

I've tried to recreate that color combination in the Arnold's Attic collection. I called the blue Alice blue after Arnold's aunt. (The original Alice blue was named for President Theodore Roosevelt's daughter.)

Ohio Autumn print from Arnold's Attic in Alice blue.

Carol Gilham Jones made a small star quilt featuring the blues and oranges. She added a solid blue to coordinate with the Alice blue prints in the collection.


  1. What a pretty line of fabric!! I have can never have too many browns in my stash!!

  2. "Arnold's Attic" is a beautiful collection of fabric and a great tribute to Arnold and his Aunt Alice. Great job!!

  3. Even the name makes me smile. Love this line.

  4. Love the story behind the fabric line and well I LOVE the fabric line
    I can never have enough browns in my closets! The orange would be perfect for the applique quilt I am working on now

  5. I received my copy of quilters Newsletter and saw the quilt pattern for Arnold's attic- It is a lovely quilt pattern Barbara- I liked it very much - Thanks for creating some beautiful fabrics with a real autumnal flavor( as well as being old fashioned)to them.
    Warmest Regards,