18th Century Garments in Monochrome Prints

Last updated: Feb 21, 2024

Brilliant multicolor designs dazzle the eye on 18th century printed textiles, but what about single-color prints? Monochromatic prints often appear on printed handkerchiefs, but they were also used on a lot of other garments, including ladies’ gowns and men’s waistcoats. They also turn up in scraps used on housewifes and patchwork pockets.

Single-color printing was a less-expensive process, so many (but not all!) of the garments produced in monochromatic prints were less expensive to produce. While these monochrome print garments may have been just as prevalent than their polychromatic equivalents – or even moreso – they may have been worn out completely, or less desirable for collection and preservation in subsequent years.

I’m grouping these examples of 18th century clothing by the color of the print (and then arranging them roughly chronologically within the color category). Many of these are block prints, but some of the more detailed designs are in plate (or copperplate) prints. It's also possible that some of these prints have aged into another color (especially with the brown and black prints below).