I have been trying to find a source for the above pattern since I acquired the quilt in November 2012 but with no luck to date. Based on the fabrics in the dresses, my guess is the quilt dates to the 1940s or possibly the very late 30s.
The embroidery details on the aprons and at times even on the blouses speak to me of someone very familiar with ethnic costumes of the Germanic peoples of Europe. Many European countries displayed elaborate embroidered detail on women's ethnic costumes and many wore kerchiefs. So how do I narrow down the ethnic origin?
My first thought was that it reminded me of a Mary Gasperik Quilt. WOW! This would be very exciting indeed if this was a "lost" Gasperik quilt! Mariska (Mary) Mihalovits was born in Hungary in 1888 and came to America at the age of 16, where she settled in Chicago within the Hungarian community and eventually married fellow Hungarian Stephen Gasperik. Mary didn't encounter quilts until 1933 at the Century of Progress Exposition in Chicago at age 45. She was immediately smitten and upon returning home joined a local club where she began to apply her considerable needlework skills to the making of quilts, unique quilts which often reflected her Hungarian heritage. And she often made up her own designs. These quilts can now be seen in the Quilt Index.
But, alas, the women on Gasperik's "Hungarian Harvest Festival" quilt were very different from those on my quilt. The women on my quilt are taller and more slender. Even more important, Mary Gasperik's needlework was far superior to the needlework on this quilt.
On that point Sally Ambrose (another AQSG member) wrote: "Another thought is that these were original interpretations of the dolls made in the time frame. It would not be difficult for an accomplished, imaginative artist to sketch these designs. The rendition and construction fall in line with original design work."
I have to agree with Sally that this could well be an original pattern but I will continue to hunt for a possible commercial one. Meanwhile, I had a lot of fun trying to track down the dress design itself.
One of my greatest challenges when researching and writing for someone else is to stay focused on the subject I started to write about and not get distracted by what I stumble across along the way. But when I write for my own blog, I can indulge in meandering as long as I can somehow tie it in to the story. So I am going to be sharing a few side adventures with you here.
America's most iconic "Dutch" designs have children in wooden shoes.
What most Americans know as "Dutch" actually came out of the "Pennsylvania Dutch" community, i.e the German community, not Dutch at all as in "the Dutch of Holland who settled Manhattan Island." The two designs you see here will be very familiar to those who grew up in the 40s and 50s and you can still find reproductions of it on eBay today.
In my quilt, the dress design and the shoes are my two most helpful clues. The hat doesn't match Old Dutch at all, though. My young ladies are wearing kerchiefs, not the iconic "Dutch" hats seen above. But they do look to be wearing the typical Dutch wooden clogs we are all familiar with, thanks to the Dutch cleanser logo, one of the most recognizable trademarks of the early 20th century consumer product era. And so my side adventure began.
According to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, a trademark for Old Dutch was filed September 15, 1905 and registered March 27, 1906. I well remember this canister sitting around out home throughout my childhood but I had no idea what "ingredients" it contained. Do you know? And why did it fade from popularity? Check it out.
In spite of the shoes, by now I am really questioning whether my young ladies are Dutch. Maybe they are Austrian or Hungarian. Or maybe even Czech? The above ad carries a "popular" interpretation of both the iconic "Holland Dutch" girl and the iconic "Germanic" peasant girl. Both dresses appear to be variations of a dirndle.
|The woman's dress in the Newton block above resembles a dirndl dress.|
|Wow! This photo is full of potential quilt patterns!|
|Reminds me of the Von Trapp Family singers!|
|Woman Threading Needle - Jules Breton|
|one variation of Danish drindl - but lacks the embroidery on the aprons in the quilt|