After much deliberation and many very helpful comments, I revised my Colonial Williamsburg mix n’ match plans:
Now the two jackets will be in prints, and the two skirts and gown will be solid colors. I’m still bent on blue and yellow, so I’ve collected some iDye packets to that end, ready for the linen/cotton blend and silk I’m almost decided to go with. 🙂
Somewhere in the past couple weeks I got the idea to print my own fabric. This came from my love of 18th century block printed textiles, the gasp-worthy price that comes with many of them, but also the problem of quilter’s cotton being really not the right stuff for the job.
18th century cottons were not nearly as tightly woven as quilter’s cotton is today, so a service like Spoonflower, which offers the ability to design your own textile prints, still doesn’t fit the bill in terms of total authenticity.
|From Threads of Feeling (book) – you can see the rather chunky weave of the fabric.|
Instead, I will be using Essex Linen, from Dharma Trading Company, a Linen/Cotton blend that is much closer in weave and weight to 18th century textiles, and also historically accurate.
As for prints, here are the stamps I got:
|A long stamp that when repeated will make a print in lines|
|An all-over stamp for basic block printing. The flower and buds might be filled in with separate colors|
|A very Indian graphic, to be applied in red/brown over yellow, perhaps.|
|A basic leaf line print. This will look good in any color on white, but I also want to try this one as a resist.|
Something to consider about cottons – in 1701 England banned the import of printed cottons, but set up its own cotton-printing industry, which was immensely successful. Ironically, they were printing the same sorts of designs on calico (cotton) that was still imported from India, at least until 1721, when another law was passed banning most cotton fabrics, but not cotton fibers. The English cotton-printing industry started blending cotton and linen, and printing on that, hence my choice for a robust linen/cotton blend. (Thanks to Hallie Larkin for this information – At the Sign of the Golden Scissors)
As for my choice of stamps, I got both Western designs as well as Eastern. The cotton ban didn’t apply to the American Colonies, so I’m hoping to create one of my prints in a very Indian way, and the other in a more European way.
My stamps should be here any day, and when they arrive, I have practicing to do. Straight printing in one color on a light ground will be easy, but adding more than the outline color, or trying resist techniques will be interesting. More to come!