Shirtings and Conversationals
Shirtings, and Conversational prints (sometimes referred to as Mill-Engraved Prints due to the printing technique used to achieve very fine lines) are a must for any reproduction stash. Shirtings, which are simply light-weight, light coloured cottons used in mens and childrens shirts and ladies blouses, have been popular since the 1820s. Thus, it is very difficult to date any antique quilt using a shirting fabric, as some designs have been reprinted over and over again. They are still being printed today. This, however, makes them the perfect blender for todays quilter. Conversation Prints, are very like shirtings, but they feature a realistic figure that is not botanical, i.e. not a flower or leaf design. Whilst available from about 1840, they hit their height of popularity from 1880 - 1920. They earned the name Conversation Prints as they generated a topic of conversation when used in a ladies blouse or a childs dress.