Ladies of 1920s Looked Back at Colonial Times

Before the dawn of the 20th century, America celebrated its 100th anniversary with the 1876 Centennial International Exhibition, the United States’ first official world’s fair. Int he years that followed and especially in the modern 1920s – decorative arts of days of colonial America (1700s) such as spinning, crochet, rug hooking, and embroidery became important.

People became very proud of the American colonial period as a “more virtuous, noble time” and showed off any of their own family fabric heirlooms, such as quilts, samplers, rugs, etc, as proof that they had descended from “solid” stock.

Especially after the end of World War One (1918), America’s love affair with colonial needlework deepened, with an emphasis on the growing middle class. Women’s magazines popularized handcrafts as hobbies any woman could undertake and learn. The message was that even if you did not own a quilt from your ancestors, you could make your own heirloom. (NOTE: My own grandmother did that by crocheting several full large tablecloths and a double-size bed coverlet. All have been handed down in the family.)

Embroidery also became very popular. Styles and patterns from the 1700s and early 1800s were copied, so you might think you have an item made in 1820s when instead it was made in the 1920s. Knitting and crocheting clothing was popular.

In the late 1940s until the early 1960s, there was a resurgence in interest in home crafts, particularly in the United States, with many new and imaginative crochet designs published for colorful doilies, potholders, and other home items, along with updates of earlier publications.

Photos: A 1919 blouse pattern to crochet; tablecloth covering that was crocheted; sampler made in 1928; and very popular were the Knit or Crochet a 1920s-style Cloche (hat).

Related Blogs:

1920s- Consumer Age

School for your Ancestors

Smiling for the Camera

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