December 22, 2015

More About Conversation Prints

The previous post is about a 1940s hexagon quilt that has opened my eyes to mid-century conversation prints.  Barbara Brackman in her book Clues in the Calico defines conversation (aka conversational) prints as prints with recognizable objects other than flowers.

There are conversation prints from the late 1800s onward.  Brackman distinguishes the 20th century prints as less detailed and having more colors than the 19th century prints.  I would add that they tend to be very whimsical.

While poking around for info on these fabrics, I discovered a book that I think is going on my wish list:  Conversational Prints: Decorative Fabrics of the 1950s by Joy Shih

Here's a look back at some other blog posts of quilts I've repaired that I now realize have some very fun conversation prints:

There are conversation prints in my first quilt, which has fabrics from clothes my Mom and I made during the 1950s-70s.

The following print is very near and dear to my heart.  My Mom made me a blouse with this Egyptian print fabric because by the time I was about 10, I'd gotten really interested in archaeology, particularly inspired by the mysteries of ancient Egypt.  I ended up studying archaeology in college.  I still haven't made it to Egypt.  All my college excavation experience was Illinois.  And I didn't become an archaeologist, but I remain fascinated by ancient times and by the excitement of excavation.

I bought this little child-size pillow case at an estate sale as a source of aged white fabric.  Now I realize that it has a cute conversation print edging.

Here's another hexagons quilt, 1930s-40s, with a fun elephant print, cats in bloomers, and anchors and sailing ships.

This quilt has just a few triangles of a kids at play fabric.  I love that era where girls wore hairbows as big as their faces!  I have some photos of my mom dressed that way.


Here's a conversation print, upper right, in an Attic Windows quilt, dated 1959.

This mid-century Bow Tie quilt has a William Tell apple print!  And a kitchen utensils print.

I highlighted conversation prints in this Double 4-Patch quilt, straw-wrapped wine bottles, and especially the hysterical ears of corn.

This Spools quilt, dated 1965, has a print with large insects!

I bought a duster at an estate sale, specifically because of this fabric homage to Van Gogh.

Here's another large, representational print - cats!

Looking further back in time, this Capital T quilt, dated 1896, has a flag print commemorating, I'm pretty sure, the US support of the Cuban fight for independence from Spain.

I can see that conversation prints are going to be a fun topic for a long time to come!


  1. Take that book off your wish's on its way to you!

    1. Yea! We found your wonderful message! Big thank you, good to see you today, and we'll do it again. :-)