Between 1870 and 1925, quilters were fond of using white shirting fabrics for pieced quilts. The standard shirting prints were small, isolated figures on a white or off-white background. During the decade of 1874–1884 Allen Print Works’ line of shirtings were popular. Quilters used any of the four colors on a white ground: a black, a muted red, a chocolate brown, and a bright blue. The motifs were varied – geometrics, florals, and stripes.
Then, somewhere around 1925, plain white cottons resumed their popularity and began to replace the shirtings as the standard background fabrics for pieced designs. Sara Morgan shares some of her favorite shirtings from her (thankfully!) never-ending scrap bag of antique fabrics!
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