AB: Trestain – Dating Fabrics

(This is an entry in the Annotated Bibliography.)

Trestain, Eileen Jahnke. Dating Fabrics: A Color Guide 1800-1960. Paducah, Kentucky: American Quilter’s Society, 1998.

This book is oriented toward collectors of antique quilts, offering up a vast quantity of color-photographed swatches of printed textiles organized by date in order to help collectors identify the date of origin of quilts. However, it is also quite useful in researching printed cotton fabrics for other purposes, and ideal for training the eye to recognize typical designs and colors of different periods, since the swatches are organized by period, and then by color family. It is a practical rather than scholarly guide, but it is widely respected for its accuracy and helpfulness. The background information provided is a useful overview, and altogether the book is very accessible. Its area of focus in the field of textiles is narrow, but it does quite well in that area. An important fact to keep in mind in using this book for research in the making of reproduction clothing is that not all fabrics pictured are dress goods; some materials may be more typical for home decorating. Bearing this in mind, the book is an excellent resource for clothing reproduction. It is not instructional. It contains full color images. It contains a bibliography.

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