Redwork Bluework Revival by RJR Fabrics is one of the newest collections at Fat Quarter Shop! Not only is Redwork revived, but also enhanced with traditional florals, fun dots and swirls, and two redwork-ed panels. The line comes in two monochromatic colorways, a stark red and bright bright blue against clean white. I was completely unaware of the history of redwork, so I did some research to learn about the background of redwork and hopefully provide some new, interesting information in the process! (And of course, it turned out to be the one topic Wikipedia doesn’t have yet.)
Redwork first became popular in the late 19th century and remained a mainstay in interior decoration into the 1930s. This self-titled method of decoration used red cotton floss (Turkey Red being the most widely used) to stitch various image and illustration outlines onto a material, usually muslin. Redwork allowed women to embroider fashion onto functional pieces, such as chair covers, napkins, cushions, laundry bags — whatever! The affordability of the thread and fabric helped popularize it as well, and all one had to be able to do was trace an image.
Later on, cotton fabric squares already pre-printed with trendy designs and ready to embroider were developed and sold as “penny squares”, referring to their penny a piece price, which led to bigger redwork pieces, such as quilts. Other colors, like bluework, became more common once manufacturers found ways to better produce those threads.
How neat that we get to bring it back into the new century! Hope you enjoy the line and mini-vacation into an older America!