1930s Baby Fabric Reproduction

Some of the very best vintage feedsack designs are those that were designed for babies and small children.  To look at this photo, you might think that is what I’m showing.  But take a closer look.

This is actually a cotton flannel, and it is not vintage.  It’s still really cute.

Since we were talking about the blurred lines between old fabrics, and those that are meant to look old I wanted to show this relatively recent fabric and the print in the selvage.

Copyright Judie Rothermel for Marcus Bros. Textiles, Inc. 1930’s

A quick google reveals that Ms. Rothermel is a textile designer who seems to specialize in “fabric reproductions.”  In order for it to be a true reproduction, it has to be a copy or a duplicate of an original.  I suspect that these fabrics are actually adaptations of old fabrics, and not faithful reproductions.  At any rate, they look “vintage-y” enough that without the selvage they could fool people who are not experts on 1930s prints.  And that includes me.

This is just another case of how difficult telling old from new has become.  People who handle this type of thing a lot would not be fooled, but I suspect that after a few washings this fabric is going to look even more vintage.

If you have not been in a large fabrics store in recent years, especially one that deals in quilting cottons, you might be very surprised at the huge variety of prints that are designed to look vintage.  If you are familiar with the graphics of an era, say the early Sixties, then you will see that there are things that often give the new designs away.  Sometimes the colors have been updated, or they tend to deal with themes that we in 2014 have assigned to an era, such as martini glasses for the early Sixties.

I’m not saying that these fabrics are bad, but it really does pay to be aware of the new, even when collecting the old.

In the 1970s laws were passed that require that the sleepwear of small children be made of fire-retardant fabrics.  Personally, I can’t imagine for what one would use a warm,soft fabric printed with little bunnies except sleepwear.  I wonder how many rebellious mommies out there  have ignored the selvage and made junior’s jammies from fabric not impregnated with fire-retardant chemicals.


Filed under Novelty Prints, Viewpoint

9 responses to “1930s Baby Fabric Reproduction

  1. I have often wondered the same thing! What on earth is the flannel for if not pjs?

    I have a very similar print in a quilting cotton. I love the retro stuff that has become easier to find. I just wish they would make more retro prints in more kinds of garment fabric (like rayon). Quilting cotton and flannel seem to be the only things really expanding into the vintage-vibe.


  2. Am not a quilter, but I think flannels are sometimes used for quilt backs. Would also love to see more rayons with retro prints!
    Happy Thanksgiving, Lizzie!


  3. I am a quilter. Reproduction fabrics for 1930s and Civil War era have been hugely popular for quite a long time. Flannel for quilts has grown in popularity. Designer collections of fabrics come out for a short run, but you can find all kinds of repro prints– William Morris, Art Deco–in high grade quilters cotton.


  4. My kids are grown adults now, but I confess – yikes – I used non-fire-retardant flannel for pajamas for them when they were little. The flannels that were fire-retardant were stiff and ugly! Who wants to wear that to bed? Also, interestingly, I just recently purchased some one-piece, soft flannel sleepers for my toddler granddaughter; clearly marked on them was the warning that they were not fire-retardant.

    Liked by 1 person

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