Saturday, February 26, 2011

1950s Contemporary Fabric Designs

Some designs are so iconic they leap off the page at you and yell 1950s or 1960s.  Here is one example from Ann Champion's blog Quilt Top Cupboard.

By the way, Ann's blog is well worth bookmarking.

Click here to go to see the whole top and more details of this particular fabric.

The fabric in the above Cream and Teal Log Cabin top rather reminded me of a doll quilt I saw on eBay recently, so I began capturing photos so that I could compare them. 

The item eBay item number is 310219291510.  Or just click here to go directly to the auction. 

This 1950s doll quilt is 20x27 inches.

Here is a detail of the fabric in this little quilt.

 Somewhat similar to the fabric in Ann's quilt top, wouldn't you say?

This type of design is so familiar, so iconic to the "modern look" popular in the 1950s.  It will be a great dating clue for future historians documenting the quilts of this era.

Then I stumbled on another similar design on eBay. This seller referred to the design as a "Vanart stamped tea towel".  It's eBay Item number 150566514000. Or just click here to go to this eBay auction directly.

I have googled "Vanart" hoping to come up with some info about the designer of this "contemporary" '50s fabric but no luck so far. I suspect it may have been a French-Canadian designer. I thought I might find a similar photo of this style of design in Twentieth-Century Pattern Design by Lesley Jackson, but no luck there either.

At any rate, it looks very “European-modern” to me. I remember seeing this kind of art on magazine covers from the ‘50s when browsing in antique shops.

If you are familiar with this type of design or know where to find something similar on the Internet, please leave a comment to let the rest of us know where to look.

Meanwhile, happy sleuthing in your quilt and fabric studies!


UPDATE #1: Reader Tim Latimer just sent me another find from eBay of fabric from the 50s-60s era. Though the barnyard critters aren't a play on sophisticated strollers as in the other fabrics, it definitely has what today is called the "retro" look of the 50s-60s.

UPDATE #2 - March 2:  Just stumbled on a new blog today. (Only 3 million to go!) The Adventures of the Empress of the Universe....or how I learned to quilt on the Internet.  I particularly liked her post titled Bottling Rainbows.  You'll see some great examples of small Tile Quilts made from her leftover scraps, not unlike what I did with my little Signature Jazz Quiltlet but her quilt has a more tradtional tile layout format as seen in Bobbi Finley and Carol Gilham's The Tile Quilt Revival. Here is another interesting blog that is a mixture of quiltmaking and quilt history that comes from Holland --Quilting with the Past. Lucy also has experimented with Tile Quilts. Check it out.

Speaking of my Signature Jazz Quiltlet, I am so very pleased to share that it was one of five featured in today's The Wednesday Quilt Show on Jenifer Dick's blog Forty-Two Quilts. If you like red and green applique quilts, check out Jenifer's new book The Circuit Rider's Quilt.                                             


  1. If I knew where to dig it out I remember that somewhere I have fabric in the same style of drawing with poodles and Eiffel Towers.

  2. I was told that the fabric that's used in the centers of the log cabin are from a table cloth. I'm wondering if the other fabrics might have come from clothing or other linens?
    I hope Judy can find her fabric that's similar and that it will have a selvedge with more info.