I love early printed textiles, I mean~ really love them. Yes, they're pretty, but they're so much more than that.... First, of coarse, is the textile itself~ in the ages before machine made cloths, such was woven by hand on a loom....but before it could be woven, the thread itself was hand made, of natural plant or insect fibers....those plants were each stuck in the ground and planted one by one, carefully tended to over time....then processed, all by hand. (you can refer back to my post on making linen from the flax plant here).....speaking of insects...could you imagine sitting and unwinding silk worm cocoons, one by one, by hand, all your life??? 18 hours a day, 7 days a week?
I'm getting ahead of myself again.... I thought Id share this absolutely stunning , c1820, printed apron with you today.
I love this next picture~ click on it to see it bigger. The construction is very simple~ tape ties added to a single width of cotton, having been slightly trimmed 'in' at the upper sides to form a narrower waist. These pieces have been flipped, and added at the hem, to make the nice 'A' line shape so typical of the late teens, early 1820s. You can see the join in the pieces below~ very teensy stitches, in white thread. Other than the edges being turned and stitched the same way, there is no other stitching on this piece, making it a marvel...no~ yet more a near miracle, that it has survived to this day in its original utilitarian form of an apron. Such prints as this were so prized, and many cut up and used for clothing, pockets, patchwork, ect ect ect
what fun it must have been to see the stripes & design emerge. From a most hot and stinky process, comes such a beautiful result. It is no wonder why these textiles were so highly valued~ even tho deemed a cheaper alternative to woven textiles, much science, art, and labor was needed to achieve a pleasing design