Tuesday, February 4, 2020


Algodón, or cotton, is going to be my best friend for the Josefina outfits I plan to make!  It was a popular fiber in the early 19th century and available in a dizzying array of prints--like these that I posted on Instagram from a sample book circa 1825.

Aren't they incredible?  I knew right away when I started this journey that I wanted to use reproduction prints.  By and large the original historical AG outfits are pretty decent in terms of historical accuracy, but the Christmas outfit in this collection in particular just didn't quite mesh with what I know of period prints.  In addition, I just don't have the graphics or artistic skills to design my own custom print for Spoonflower, so repro was definitely the right path for me!

I like to think I'm pretty good at internet searching, but sometimes you comb the entire internet and find that what you want just plain does not exist.  Particularly when you're trying to recreate a specific object, it can be really easy to come up dry.  It can be really frustrating!  Fortunately that is NOT the case with this project and I am absolutely thrilled with the prints I was able to find.

Marcus Fabrics Heritage Reds by Paula Barnes
I absolutely love the print on this--those darling little flower wreathes are just the cutest!  I think this actually comes from a collection of Civil War era prints but Turkey red was a popular color for cottons in the 18th and 19th centuries, and the print could easily have been achieved with the technology available in the 1820s.  I think the bold red will look wonderful with a crisp white camisa and the sash that I have to learn to weave...good thing my mom is a weaver!  She's not my Mexican parent, but she is an accomplished seamstress and artisan and has agreed to help me learn her one of her many crafts for this project.  Thanks, mom!

Moda Fabrics Sarah's Story by Betsy Chutchian "Bridle Path" in the color Butter
This is the print I've chosen for Josefina's Christmas dress.  It's a little more "out there" in terms of relationship to the original print of the doll's outfit, but I adore the coral branch style stripes and that serpentine effect is very evocative of the 1820s.  The doll dress print looks very much along the lines of "quilting fabric," with its random dots and swirls over a bold stripe, but I think this design captures the stripe motif broken up with color from the flowers so it's not too severe.  Josefina didn't look like a bumblebee in her dress (although I do love a cute fuzzy bee!) and I'd like to avoid that myself!

Via AG Wiki

Someday, I'd love to do the dress from Josefina Saves the Day, which is another beautifully done empire style with hem ruffles and short puffed sleeves--and the print on that particular dress looks quite period to me.  So maybe for that, I'll have to collaborate with an artist to design a print, or maybe stretch my skills and see what I can come up with myself.  But in the meantime I have two gorgeous fabrics on their way to me and I'd better start coming up with some undies so I'm ready to put them to use when they arrive!


  1. Oh, wow--those prints look like ones you'd see in a modern fabric store! The blue moire-looking one is especially surprising. Fun,fun!

    Congrats on your fabric scores for the Josefina outfits! It's always so cool when one finds just what one is looking for, for a pet project, yes? :-D

    Happy hunting, researching, and sewing!
    ~R.R. Goodwill~