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Wearable Prints, 1760-1860: History, Materials, and Mechanics Hardcover – January 28, 2014
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"The images are especially sensitive to the need to view particular details up close, or to glimpse a portion normally hidden from sight. We see and learn to recognize not just pristine examples, but also faded or altered colours. And many page openings contain liberal spreads that allow comparison of a dozen examples at a glance for the honing of connoisseurship.... Dress historians, in particular, will value the section on American dress forming the second half of chapter one." --Costume (UK)
"Wearable Prints gathers in one volume a comprehensive surveyor dyeing and printing technologies during the period's seminal period of development."--Dress
"Overall this book is well produced with clear type, excellent illustrations, thorough research, and good editing. This labor of love has resulted in a fine resource book on the topic that sets the bar for high quality." -- Maine Antique Digest
"Certainly, historians, curators and designers alike will want to use this compendious book and it has a long life ahead as a well-thumbed reference work...." --Textile History (UK)
About the Author
Susan W. Greene is a collector, museum consultant, and independent scholar. Her collection of late eighteenth- and early nineteenth-century clothing now resides at the Genesee Country Village and Museum in Mumford, New York. She is the author of Textiles for Early Victorian Clothing and several entries in Valerie Steele's Encyclopedia of Clothing and Fashion and Carol Kammen's Encyclopedia of Local History.
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Susan Greene has produced this book after a lifetime's intense study of cotton printing and dyeing, and she has illustrated it with countless hundreds of photos of period books, costumes, quilts, and textiles from her personal collection, now at the American Costume Studies collection at Genesee County (NY) Museum, and supplemented with many more from sample books at US and UK collections. Greene is a well-known and highly respected authority in her field, and her colleagues rejoice at this long-delayed (through no fault of hers) publication.
Greene begins with an overview of the history of printed cottons from Indian chintzes to American and European machine-made prints, and of the entire production process "from thread to bolt." The bulk of the book is divided into comprehensive discussions of coloring processes and "mechanics" or printing techniques. It begins with dyes, color by color, then moves on to block printing and roller printing, plates and cylinders, including an in-depth look at techniques used to produce the many effects such as "fondu" effects, stippling, picotage, etc. A last chapter "making distinctions" adds to the "case study" sidebars throughout, giving hints on applying her information for identifying period cottons.
Lastly there are many extremely useful appendices helpful in dating & identifying cottons; a glossary, and an extensive bibliography.
Knowing when different fabric printing methods were developed and how they changed the price, look and style of clothing fabric is a great help in dating extant garments and quilts, but knowing how the processes worked is also fascinating for its own sake.
Combined with a wonderful, readable style, this book now shares first place with my other favorite textile book, "Textile Designs" by Susan Meller and Joost Elfers.
While the latter book covers a much wider span of time, it includes all textiles, including what are considered 'household yard goods" such as bed hangings and linens, curtains, upholstery, etc. The two books are a wonderful compliment to each other.
My only regret is that it ends in 1860. Any chance for a Vol. II? If so, sign me up! (Glenna Jo Christen, not my husband Bill.)