What To Do With Vintage Polyester?

If you existed in the Sixties or Seventies, you wore polyester. Perhaps a stifling turtleneck, or plaid bell bottoms, or kid leisure suit, or Garanimals dress-up outfit that coordinated with your brother’s Garanimals dress-up outfit.

The double-knit variety is especially unbreathable, and the years give it a greasy patina. OK, not really, but in my mind it has a greasy patina, even after I touch it and am reassured that it does not.

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I have come across lots of double-knit polyester yardage in thrift stores, and sometimes the designs are very cool. A lady in my quilt guild offered huge boxes of the stuff to anyone who would give it a good home. I stopped just short of the “reply” button. I do have a few pieces, but I wonder what to do with it. Purses, bags, sure. What else? The thought of wearing it makes me shudder, so no garments.

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10 Comments

  1. madmommy says:

    We “inherited” a quilt made entirely of polyester fabrics. It seems so hideous, there is no place it fits in our decor (how did we ever live with this stuff?). But we have not parted with it yet, unsure what to do with a quilt someone put so much time and effort into.

  2. Pattie says:

    What about curtains or stuffed toys, doll clothes, pillows, table cloths or uh… I’m out of ideas now.

  3. melissa says:

    my mom-in-law gave us a vintage lap quilt made of double-knit polyester. it’s too hot to use it now, but it makes a really pretty throw. here’s a pic:
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/mhk105/2630970842/

  4. Beth says:

    This might be a good candidate for wall art: stretched on a frame or embroidery hoop for that nostalgic/ kitchy look AND it wouldn’t have to touch your skin. My Catholic school uniform was heavy navy blue poly. I don’t think I could even tolerate a pillow made out of it now!

  5. Carolyn says:

    I know that you said no clothes but that would make a nice back for a cool vest. Nice big indestructible floor pillows? Appliance covers for toasters and mixers. What about very large tote bags to give to shelters for women and children.

  6. golden star says:

    What’s great about polyester is that it forever holds the colors. So, I would opt for non-clothing projects that can highlight the fabric’s color and pattern.

  7. meggiecat says:

    It might be good for braided or crocheted mud rugs.

  8. wilsonian says:

    Yep, works great in rugs. A group of women here make up both woven and braided rugs with polyester, and they hold up forever. You have to be careful with colour combos, obviously… some of these women are awesomely talented with a needle but not so much with pairing colours. But I picked up a woven mat in a solid dark red, and it wears and washes beautifully. Rugs made of cotton fray so much quicker, and afraid they’ll get too tattered, I end up putting them away instead of enjoying them.

  9. Kathy says:

    picnic blanket/quilt?? Just hose the mud off when you get home!

  10. heather jane says:

    Wow! I’m so glad you asked. I just saw some yesterday at a thrift store and wanted to buy it for the colors, but couldn’t figure our what I’d ever do with it. Rugs!! How perfect. Back to Goodwill I go…oh darn. :)