Monday, October 27, 2008

What is a Paisley Print?

Paisley print is an easily recognized pattern that resembles a crooked tear drop or half of a yin-yang. A very popular print on all sorts of clothing and fashion accessories during the 1960s, paisley print is commonly found today on men’s ties and handkerchiefs. It has also recently resurfaced on women’s skirts and handbags. Though paisley print became popular when it appeared in the shops of London's Carnaby Street during the mod fashion frenzy, its origin can be traced back to India.

Though the recognizable paisley print pattern was originally crafted by Indian artisans, it was brought to Scotland in the early 19th century, where it received its name. Paisley print was named after the Scottish town of Paisley, where printed cotton and wool fabrics were heavily manufactured. Paisley print saw its first acclaimed popularity in the 1960s. Clothes with paisley print were extremely fashionable, and in 1967, John Lennon had his Rolls Royce painted with a paisley print pattern. The trendy shops of Carnaby Street boasted skirts, tops, and men's shirts in paisley print.

Today, paisley print is very common on silk neckties for men, and some fashion designers regularly incorporate paisley print into their leather handbags. Handkerchiefs have long featured a paisley print pattern, most frequently seen in red or blue. In Los Angeles, these paisley print bandannas can signify gang affiliation, and in the Midwest, they are still worn by farmers and ranchers alike to wipe away the sweat of a hard day’s work.

More recently, paisley print experienced a revival of sorts in a more modern version of the paisley print skirt. A trendy look for 2004, a paisley print skirt or top paired with a solid color was popular as both office wear and casual evening wear. Paisley print had been in existence for hundreds of years before it surfaced as a recognizable fashion print, and it is likely that it will continue to be seen in textiles and even decorative home designs for many years to come.

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See our selection of Vintage Sewing Fabrics, including a Paisley Print at: You can click on the title link at the top of this article or you can paste this URL into your browser.


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