Friday, August 3, 2012

Question and Answer

Good morning!

I received an interesting question about Mourning Prints from Donna, and thought the answer would make a good post. Wanted my next post ot be about my profile in American Patchwork and Quilting, however my copy has yet to arrive. :-(

Also, short explanation about why I haven't posted lately.  My 25 year old son was seriously injured in a baseball accident.  He is a pitcher and was hit  in the face with a line drive.  OUCH!!!! He has needed MOM...yea! love having him here but not for this reason. Surgery is today to correct his badly broken nose. He was very fortunate that his eyes were ok....they looked awful! but okay.
~now, back to Mourning Prints....

Thank you Donna for raising the question...

"I am curious about the history of the mourning fabrics. Would fabric from mourning clothing eventually be used in quilts? Were black fabrics used always right after a death, then as time went on, other dark color ways chosen for those in mourning? Is there such a quilt in the late 1800 that would be considered a mourning quilt, made from mourning clothing? I am curious of the history of the line of fabrics in the mourning colors. Thank you, lovely fabrics!"

Yes, the dress fabric would eventually be used in patchwork.  Black dresses have traditionally been the choice of clothing after a death in the family.  The closer in relation, the longer one might were 'the black'. Minimum time one year, but there were exceptions. Black dye was not stable in cotton fabric until after the American Civil War, but was very stable, would hold the color, in wool and silk. (chemicals used to adhere the dye to cloth, the mordant, ate away the cotton).
After the war when the dye was stable, the ladies could start with wool or silk in solid black then progress to black cotton prints for everyday wear. As time went on, the dresses would have more cream or white background with black figures , thus appearing gray. The final stage would be purple cotton print dresses if desired. Many would stop with the grays.
Near the end of the 19th century and early 20th century, the fabric market was flooded with black cotton prints. I think any quilt could be called a 'mourning quilt', made in memory of a loved one, but mostly the mourning fabrics were used a in piecing quilts with other fabrics of the time.

My new line, Wrappers, has a number or mourning prints. Here are some other examples from some of my quilts....
Late 1800's Drunkard's Path

This photo shows  one of the document prints for Wrappers, as well as others, in a turn of the century Apple Core top.

This photos has older prints, more in the 1870s and 80's time frame. Lovely Lemoyne Stars in browns and blacks.

I like to answer your questions!

Better close for now and get ready to go take Matt for his surgery.  Thanks for the diversion this morning! Good luck Matt!!!

Until next time~


  1. I am so sorry to hear of your son's accident and I am praying today for his surgery to go well and that he has full recovery.

    Thank you also for the information on the mourning fabrics and the dyes in the fabrics. That was very interesting.

    Blessings to you and yours,

  2. I am sorry to hear about your son. Whenever they are in sports, there is so much that can happen. Glad you are there for him. Hope the surgery is successful & will say a prayer for a speedy recovery. Take Care.

  3. Hugs and prayers to you and Matt - hope his surgery goes well. Can't wait to see your new fabric line!

  4. Hoping for a full recovery, and no pain for your son.
    Curious that you haven't received your copy. Mine came on Wednesday of last week. What a wonderful article, with yummy eye candy!

  5. Thank you so much for answering my question. I enjoy your blog so much!

    Hope Matt has a quick, non eventful recovery.