Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Textile Tuesdays : #16 - Calico - Not the Cat

The word "Calico" comes from the name given to a plain, minimally processed, cotton that was originally produced around the 11th century in a city in India that westerners called "Calcutta". It now has different meanings depending on where in the world one is.

In British english, it refers to what Americans would call "Muslin". In America (which is where I am from) it refers to a simple, woven, cotton covered in a small, all-over print - usually floral. Pioneer women in late 1700's and throughout the 1800's wore long, full dresses made of calico. There are loads of websites and businesses that are devoted to making reproduction dresses (possibly for historic reenactment?) and where you can buy reproduction fabrics. This one called Recollections designs and makes dresses.

Any quilting store will have walls of calico, both historical and contemporary. Hancock's of Paducah is one good on line store. Also there is Keepsake Quilting, or, for a more contemporary, designer chic, selection, check out Purl soho! They feature all the big textile designers and some you may never have heard of. You will love browsing and probably buying!

Calico prints evolved and maintained their popularity throughout the decades. They went from the Civil War era, through the 1900's and are still popular in the 2000's. They have caught the eye and imagination of historians, designers, artists and crafters.

The photos at the top are examples of just a smidge of the fabrics you can get and the things you can buy or make!

Adorable card holders from Rikrak
A little dress by Like My Dress
One of my bags made with some calicos.

The links to these 3 fabrics are in the text above:

Kobayashi, Spring Showers - from Purl Soho
Pink and Chocolate Ivy from Keepsake Quilting, #7840K
Windham Pennock Album Reproduction Strawflower from Handcock's of Paducah

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