Antique and vintage fabric runs the gamut from Middle Eastern silk to 1950s atomic prints to 1970s classics by (for example) Finland's Marimekko. Vintage fabric is popular among fashion and sewing enthusiasts, as there’s nothing quite like making a traditional-styled garment out of traditional fabric!

Vintage fabric can be used for multiple purposes, from crafts (such as fashion, home décor, and quilting) to education, teaching about the periods in which the material was made and used.

Some 19th century (and earlier) fabrics that are popular to collect and still available to find include calico, gingham, muslin, and linen, as well as home-spun materials. From the first half of the 20th century, collectors seek cotton, plisse, and cloques, among others. Metallic, novelty, floral, and themed prints are also popular, and during the mid-1900s, bark cloth and rayon blends were common.

Collecting vintage fabric can be a fun and affordable hobby, but beware: it can be dangerous when combined with vintage patterns!


Best of the Web (“Hall of Fame”)

Sewing Machine Collector

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Geoff and Norma Dickens' reference site on vintage toy sewing machines from the late 1800s. Browse the images alpha… [read review or visit site]

LACMA Luxury Textiles

LACMA Luxury Textiles

Textile collectors shouldn't miss this microsite from the LA County Museum of Art, a great reference on European an… [read review or visit site]

Sensibility Vintage Images

Sensibility Vintage Images

An extensive collection of photos and ephemera illustrating changing fashion styles from 1795 to 1959. Includes por… [read review or visit site]



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Recent News: Fabric

Source: Google News

8 frugal living fails: When being cheap goes bad
Mother Nature Network, April 23rd

From weenur: I bought a bolt of vintage fabric for $300 and was going to use it to reupholster a vintage sofa (got it for free). I found out the cushions were rotten and so were the springs and wood. It was going to cost me $1600 to have it fixed so I...Read more

araisara Fall 2014 – Tokyo Fashion Week
Meniscus Magazine, April 20th

One Japanese technique, a trademark of Arai's called “tokiori,” involves recycling, re-cutting and reviving vintage fabric, and was heavily featured in her first collection in 2009 which included 10,000 such pieces. A hand-painted patterning technique...Read more

Not a thread goes to waste with Edmonton couple's fine homemade bow ties ...
Edmonton Journal, April 17th

So he and Sweet, partner in business and love, decided to stick with their offal: bow ties hand-sewn from ends-of-the-rolls and the leftover bits of vintage fabric donated by mothers and grandmothers, discovered at estate sales, second-hand and fabric...Read more

Edmonton couple sells fine handmade bow ties (with video)
Edmonton Journal, April 17th

So he and Sweet, partner in business and love, decided to stick with their offal: bow ties hand-sewn from ends-of-the-rolls and the leftover bits of vintage fabric donated by mothers and grandmothers, discovered at estate sales, second-hand and fabric...Read more

Zosia Mamet Celebrates Spring With Honor
Style.com, April 17th

The designer is talking about the origins of her Spring '14 collection—a moodily feminine assortment of barely decaying lace and vintage-fabric-adapted, botanical-printed pieces—and the inspiration for the range's new film, which debuts here. Written...Read more

Uplifting a room with upholstery: Make a lampshade out of a scarf
The Oregonian, April 8th

They will see, as the class discovered, that using vintage fabric on new or old furniture is another way to showoff your style while preserving a piece of history. -- Janet Eastman. Join the conversation at Homes & Gardens of the Northwest on Facebook...Read more

Reinventing Pucci's Ancestral Estate in Italy
Wall Street Journal, April 3rd

For decades, Pucci's archives—which include 18,000 print variations, 15,000 scarves, 1,000 bolts of vintage fabric and 200 custom fabric colors—were stored in a cantina beneath the property. But the designer's fashion legacy was not secure in the...Read more

Cute little Basho Café is made for lingering
Straight.com, April 1st

Miju knitted the colourful cozies that wrap around tiny flowerpots on the tables and stitched the bunting: colourful banners of vintage fabric that hang from the ceiling. A potter, she made many of the cups, bowls, and plates the restaurant uses and...Read more