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Mid-Century Modern Style

A fan of the Mid-Century Modern style from the 1950’s and 60’s, I’d never considered where the phrase came from. Journalist Laura Fenton explains ‘Author Cara Greenberg coined the phrase “midcentury modern” as the title for her 1984 book, Midcentury Modern: Furniture of the 1950s’. Fenton goes on to theorise why the style is increasingly popular.  Head to the V&A 20th Century Galleries to view some truly iconic designs including pieces that were first exhibited at the 1951 Festival of Britain. The festival marked 100 years to the day of the Victorian Great Exhibition and was created to promote British design and manufacturing after World War II. My star of the exhibition is textile designer Lucienne Day, with her instantly recognisable graphic textile designs, they were a dramatic change from the softer floral designs of the day. Read more about Abram Games, the artist who designed the front cover of the Festival of Britain catalogue on my friend Kate’s blog.

1950’s and 60’s fabrics are becoming more difficult to source as the years go by. I scour vintage fairs and markets on the look out for Barkcloth and graphic designs such as the fabrics in the photos below. There are 6 pieces, all in different styles and weights. I’ve included in each description which fabrics are suitable for dressmaking and they would all look fantastic for soft furnishings. Due to their age, some are more fragile than others so please check the descriptions or get in touch if you have a specific idea on what to make with them and want to check before you buy. Find my 1950s style inspiration here.