I LOVE vintage fabrics. You might even say I'm a bit obsessed with them. A friend was visiting the other day and I opened up my stash of vintage fabrics to show them to her. And because that was so much fun, I thought I'd share some of them here as well. My dog Roo even joined in the fun during the photoshoot to help show off the fabrics!
I mostly find my vintage fabrics on eBay. My friends also know of my love affair for vintage fabrics and will sometimes gift me a piece that they have come across, whether at an estate sale or possibly from a deceased relative's stash.
The fabrics in the above slide show range from polished cottons to barkcloth, from sewing cottons to home decor/upholstery. All them usable for quilts. Today, polished cotton is a normal cotton weave fabric, but is given a lightly glazed finish produced with resin. But in the 40s, 50s and 60s, when polished cotton was wildly popular for dresses, the cotton strands were interwoven with satin strands. The satin added a shiny polished look to the fabric yet because cotton was still the base of the fabric, the end result was less expensive than satin, but much stonger than satin. Barkcloth is a thick, soft, slightly textured fabric. It gets its name due to its rough surface. (It is also probably similar to a cloth that was made from the fibers of bark in Africa and the South Pacific.) Barkcloth was mostly used in home furnishings in the 40s, 50s and 60s. In fact, most of my vintage barkcloth fabric were drapes in a former life.
The width of vintage fabric is a true clue to it's age. Older fabrics were made on smaller looms, the standard widths once being anywhere from 24 to 38 inches. Sometime in the mid 60s techology advanced to using larger looms and a shift took place to the now common 45-46 inch width.
I love using vintage fabrics in my quilts. Remember this one? That was a fun one with the vintage stripes. I look forward to using these fabrics in future quilts. Now only to find just the right project for each one...