Monday, September 29, 2008

Product of the Month

Now that it's officially fall we here at Oilcloth International would like to introduce one of our favorite, best selling products, Chalkcloth (TM)!
Chalkcloth (TM) is a unique product; it can literally be used as a traveling chalkboard! Our "Take & Go Play Mat" is great for kids to play with and on the go fun! It's simple to clean and a great product for back to school. Many companies all over the United States even use Chalkcloth (TM) as a simple reusable means of advertising. You can even use Oilcloth (TM) inside your home or office. This material is lightweight and easy to experiment with for different projects! Take a look at these great photos some of our customers have sent us!

McCall's Crafts

McCall's Patterns has just come out with some great new craft ideas! McCall's has created a cute pattern that works great when made with oilcloth. This little Scottie is wearing a jacket made from our polka dot red ground print. Check out McCall's Pattern website and enter the pattern number: M5776 to learn more about how to make one for your dog. Make sure to send us a photo!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

I See Spot

Even if you're not a dog owner you can appreciate just how cute these doggie raincoats are! The people at I See Spot created these darling raincoats made of oilcloth. I See Spot offers an assortment of "fashion statements for dogs", look for them at your local speciality pet boutiques or visit them online at I See Spot .

Simply Sublime

Check out Jodi Kahn's new book Simply Sublime Bags. Learn how to create 30 no-sew, low-sew projects. Her book features a great bag made with oilcloth. Click here to purchase your own copy of Simply Sublime Bags

Historical Images of Oilcloth

Sears, Roebuck and Co. advertised oilcloth as "dainty and durable," a product that "women everywhere are learning to appreciate."

Isaac Oliver's portrait of Robert Sackville, the third Earl of Dorset, serves as an image of Elizabethan fashion as well as oilcloth in its earliest stages.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

The History of Oilcloth

Although not much research has been done on the subject of oilcloth, we here at Oilcloth International wanted to clue you in on some interesting facts we've put together. Hopefully someday one of you all will write your dissertation all about oilcloth!

Oilcloth became popular in the 18th century during which it was used as an inexpensive floor and roof covering. The fabric was produced by stretching a linen cloth with a four-sided vertical frame. In order to keep the cloth from becoming brittle and breaking the fabric was coated with a sizing solution and rubbed smooth with a pumice block. Finally the cloth was coated with a mixture of linseed oil and paint pigment.

Although the production of floorcloths originated in England, American artisans soon began manufacturing their own. "Homeowners or professional itinerant sign-painters applied the designs...with a ruler and a compass or with a stencil...these practical, easily refurbished floor coverings increased in popularity in their own rights throughout the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. It evolved into oilcloth." (Garvan)

The original techniques of manufacturing oilcloth have become rare and commercially obsolete with the introduction of non-cracking plastics and rotogravure printing process. Nowadays, oilcloth is a printed vinyl bonded and supported with a woven cotton mesh. Many people fondly remember the printed vinyl cloth. Oilcloth has existed in the homes of many people, which is why oilcloth may remind us of fond memories spent with friends and family in the kitchen or dining room where oilcloth's presence is most common. When one thinks of oilcloth they recall the bright colors and lively prints of fruits and florals that have become increasingly popular over the years.

1) Garvan, Beatrice B. Underfoot in America. Philadelphia, PA: University of Pennsylvania, 1977.