As I learn a bit more about the history of quilt-making, I’m becoming more interested in how fabrics were actually made in the 19th century. I was just taking a look at a reproduction fabric expert’s blog and she mentioned “fugitive” purples — fabrics dyed to look purple in the Civil War era, which have since disappeared into soft browns.
There’s a great poetry in these “fugitives,” I think… It’s always been a favorite word of mine anyway. According to ChestofBooks.com, there are two definitions for fugitive colors: those that fade when exposed to light, and those that actually change chemically over time to lose or change color.
In addition to purple, I’ve read that dying fabric green was also a big deal –because no single vegetable dye could produce a good, lasting green — until a “chrome” green was invented by a Parisian in 1859. Before that, many greens faded and ended up looking yellow-ish.
I see more fabric research in my future!