Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Document and Reproduction: Union Print

It's always a thrill to come across a piece of patriotic fabric. This one in madder colors may date to the actual time of the Civil War but it's also likely to date anywhere from 1861 to 1890. After 1890 madder-style colors became old-fashioned.

The Grand Army of the Republic was the name
 of the Union Army veterans group.
Notice the GAR poster in the window in this postcard about 1910.

The print may have been associated with the War as a patriotic Northern image or it may date from the  Centennial in 1876 when numerous patriotic prints were made to celebrate the re-union of North and South.

For my Moda collection Civil War Reunion we copied the madder orange colors in the original and re-colored it in bright blue and buff shades as well as madder brown and madder red.

I hope to find re-enactors making clothes for toddlers and shirts for soldiers from this print.

A "Living Flag" at a Union Army veteran encampment in 1908
The black and white photo of people wearing blue and red has been recolored.

We would be unlikely to find a similar print for the Confederacy as the North had the printing factories, while the South had the raw cotton.

Here's another patriotic print we reproduced a few years ago.
The original was in a top from the 1840s or '50s.

And this one was in a block cut from an antique quilt that had fabrics from about 1840 to 1880. Notice the flag stripe in the brown triangles. Three of those are the document print and one (the darker one is the reproduction.) The original is probably from 1876.

See more about Centennial-era patriotic prints in this post:


  1. Thank you for another very interesting post!

  2. I love Madder...another interesting post.

  3. Thanks for sharing these wonderful fabrics and period photos. The Living Flag is especially touching :)

  4. I just stumbled upon your blog while searching for handquilting patterns and discovered that you're the one who designed the fabric that my mother-in-law gave me for Christmas! She gave me a Civil War Reunion honeybun to use in my Civil War quilt. Love the fabric!