Friday, April 21, 2023

Riverboat Toile de Jouy

Sometime towards the end of last year, after taking Barbel Dressler's Skillshare class on designing a Toile de Jouy fabric pattern, I was inspired to design a pattern based on riverboats (steamboats) in America in the 19th century. It's fun for me to integrate historical topics in my work, especially topics related to the westward migration in America's 19th century. Maybe it's because most of my ancestors were part of that migration, settling in the Midwest in the late 1800's. At my Grandmother's funeral, one of my mother's cousins remarked that she had the wagon seat from the covered wagon which transported her grandparents to Kansas (that would be my great-great grandparents). How cool is that?

I had so much fun doing the research for my drawings to incorporate into my toile pattern. Just as an example of how important and prevalent were the steamboats in 19th Century America, here are two images courtesy of the Library of Congress - paintings showing the traffic jam of steamboats along the Mississippi shore of St. Louis, Missouri, one dated 1859, and the other 1874.


St. Louis 1859

St. Louis 1874

Below is my Riverboat Toile de Jouy, where you'll see riverboats steaming upon the rivers surrounded by bluffs and small towns. Pilot wheels are scattered throughout. The oxen on one of the bluffs are waiting to be put to work pulling some wagon or plow. And the young straw hat-wearing, Tom-Sawyer-like boy, is waving goodbye to a steamboat as it sails away up the river.

Riverboat Toile de Jouy

Here, I have it paired with another one of my new patterns, a stripe reminiscent of patterns and colors of the late nineteenth century:

I've just added these two prints, and more, to my Spoonflower shop, which you can access by clicking

You'll see the Riverboat Toile in several other colorways, some of which are tonal, great for backgrounds. And the stripe is currently offered in four colorways, although I plan to add more. I love stripes!

Until next time!




A.    Janicke & Co. (ca. 1859) Our city, St. Louis, Mo. / lith. by A. Janicke & Co., St. Louis. Saint Louis United States Missouri, ca. 1859. [Publiched sic by Hagen & Pfau at the Anzeiger des Westens] [Photograph] Retrieved from the Library of Congress,


Currier & Ives & Parsons & Atwater. (ca. 1874) The city of St. Louis / sketched & drawn on stone by Parsons & Atwater. Saint Louis United States Missouri, ca. 1874. New York: Published by Currier & Ives. [Photograph] Retrieved from the Library of Congress,