Artist Designed Novelty Print fabric – 1950s

Back in April I posted photos of my latest novelty print gathered skirt, the cruise ship themed one above.  As so often happens in blogging in this case, the comments turned out to be more interesting than the post itself, because reader lemur178 drew the conclusion that this print was from the same “A Regulated Cotton – Never Misbehaves” series as several other prints, two of which I also have, Tinhorn Holiday and Oasis.  She also noted that these seemed to be from the illustrator, Saul Steinberg, due to the similarity in style to a fabric known to have been drawn by him, Paddington Station.

Tinhorn Holiday


Fortunately, lemur178 had the opportunity to attend an event that put the pieces of the puzzle together for us.  She writes:

Went to the ‘Artists’ Textiles 1940 – 1976′ talk and book launch last night at London’s Fashion & Textiles Museum.  Most interesting and lots of very beautiful fabrics to admire.

I was initially going there to find out about the Saul Steinberg prints as you may remember. According to the authors (something which was confirmed to them by John Rombola, I think), although Steinberg had a licence with Piazza Fabrics for his work, he found the lure of money somewhat hard to resist and entered into various ‘unofficial’ deals with other manufacters, more specifically the Regulated Cottons – “Never Misbehaves” prints used for so many skirts at the time.  This explains why the prints are so recognisably his, yet his name never appears.  The book features several expamples, including an opera one I’d never seen before.  It didn’t have your boat, but when I spoke to one of the authors afterwards, he said they did have a boat one that they hadn’t featured in the book.  Presumably this is the same as yours. 

So, thanks to lemur178, and the research of the authors of the book, we now know that Steinberg did design this line.  The book is Artists’ Textiles 1940-1976, by Geiff Rayner, Richard Chamberlain and Annamarie Phelps, and it  seems to be available on Amazon.  I have been watching the page for the book, and it has been saying that the book will be released in the USA on July 16, but it now says that it is currently in stock.  I’ll be buying a copy soon and will do a review of it.

This really points out just how important blog comments are.  Several weeks ago there was a post on the Independent Fashion Bloggers site that asked the question, “Has blogging lost its community?”  

In other words, people are noticing that their blogs are not getting as many comments as in the past.  I’ve noticed it here, but not to a huge degree.  Still, I do hope that whenever you read something here or on other blogs and you can add to the conversation, that you will take the time to  post and share your knowledge and thoughts.  That is what really adds value to any blog.

Some details of the prints:


Filed under Novelty Prints, Viewpoint

15 responses to “Artist Designed Novelty Print fabric – 1950s

  1. I am speechless. Those are the loveliest fabrics and prints. The colors are still vibrant. I could see my Mama wearing these. Thanks for finding them and passing them along to us. You have a talent.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Absolutely fascinating!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. This is a great skirt! I’m a sucker for anything with an illustration on it. Maybe one day something we’ll be able to include in the line!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I’m totally buying this book!!! We need to go vintage traveling again. I miss you! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Pingback: Currently Reading – Artists’ Textiles 1940 – 1976 | The Vintage Traveler

  6. Emily

    I was so excited to see these posts and to know who who the artist is. I have a piece of Tin Horn Holiday that I found at my local thrift store for $1.99. It’s not enough on its own for a skirt, since someone cut into it in places, but I have about a metre all told. I love it so much, and will eventually figure out what to do with it. Thank you so much for the information.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Nicole

    I have found some material that I’ve turned into two dresses for my niece and daughter. I love the fabric and was on a hunt for more. I came across your blog and was wondering if you can tell me any more about it! Its called “Fair Lady Lace” – A REGULATED COTTON – “Never Misbehaves”. I’m guessing I’ll never find any more but was just wondering what you knew about it! Thanks for any help!


  8. The Oasis print is gorgeous! I’m trying to collect Middle Eastern themed prints, and I hope I can run across this one someday!



  9. Pingback: Novelty Print Skirt – An Alpine Holiday | The Vintage Traveler

  10. Pingback: An Engineered Novelty Print, 1950s | The Vintage Traveler

  11. Very interesting blog. I have some “regulated cotton never misbehaves” fabric here called “frui-frui”. I wonder is this 100% cotton or is polyester added?


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