Vintage Fabric Collectors Series: doe-c-doe

Please tell the audience a little about yourself, where you live, your blog and shop if you have them, what you do when you’re not sewing …

I’m a graphic designer whose job partly includes actually making repeated patterns, so I like to think of my fabric stash as research, although really that’s a stretch! I live & blog in Wichita, KS where I also thrift, embroider & take photos. {I also have an etsy shop that is in desperate need of an update…}

How long have you been collecting vintage fabric?

Let’s see … probably for about seven years now. I started with the gateway drug of patterned vintage pillowcases, aprons & napkins. You know things have gone terribly wrong when you’re at the thrift store saying things like “I already have all these pillowcase designs … I need a new way to get a pattern fix!”

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Do you have any special memories of textiles from your childhood?

There was a patchwork drawstring bag my mom made for me when I started kindergarten … I actually still have it {somewhere}! And I love these curtains I thrifted this past summer because they remind me of where I grew up:

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How would you describe your vintage stash — what is the predominant fiber, era, colors, etc?

I stick to cottons & it used to be just pattern but I’ve started to appreciate how vintage solids have so much more character than new so I’ve been making sure not to overlook them lately. I also love to find already started quilt pieces to add embroidery to.

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What does your collection say about you?

That I really need to learn how to sew because no one who doesn’t should have this much fabric!!!

What are your favorite sources for buying vintage fabric?

Thrift stores, estate sales & rummage sales … just writing that makes me want to go thrifting!

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What is your favorite piece or pieces from your collection?

I have a little stash of these really great simple, bold graphic fabrics I’d love to find more of & plan someday to stretch them on frames to hang as artwork.

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How do you store it? Any special ways of cataloging it for posterity and/or organizing it all?

I would like to pretend it’s all neatly organized but its not. I’ve provided a very old photo from when we moved about three years ago, so everything was folded all nice & neat. And it all fit in once place … now the collection has probably at least doubled so some of it is in the built-in cabinets, some is in my closet & heaven help me even piled on the second floor landing. At some point I would like it to be all in one place & organized by color in something with doors so that I can hide it when it’s a mess.

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Are you more of a collector or do you use your vintage fabrics a lot in sewing?

As previously mentioned I really don’t sew but I do use small pieces in my embroidery collages … but at that rate it will take me forever to go through what I have so I guess I’m really just a collector. Which I’ve always thought sounded so much nicer than hoarder ;)

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Do you have a holy grail — a particular piece that you’d really like to add to your collection?

Anything Marimekko or Vera gets me excited!

What are your favorite contemporary fabrics/designers/companies?

I love that fabric companies are working with so many different designers now & that many of them take inspiration from vintage sources. I used to find the quilt store such a stuffy, old-fashioned place but now it’s a religious experience to go in there! Amy Butler & Heather Bailey are my favorites … such happy, pretty colors & patterns … it just makes me smile!

Any parting words? Please take this opportunity to answer any question you were hoping I would ask you …

I like to think that hoarding pretty patterned fabric is not the worse vice one could have … that’s my story & I’m sticking to it!

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Thank you Miss G! I had no idea that you didn’t sew — I think that’s charming! It’s nice to know that some people collect just so they can enjoy the patterns.

All images copyright doe-c-doe, used here with permission.

4 Comments

  1. Linda Zokan says:

    Great interview and what a collection for a non-sewer. But I don’t know that I could cut into some of those fabrics myself. Except for those zombie poodles – they might give me nightmares tonight LOL

  2. Sarah says:

    Thanks for sharing this interview! Amazing to find a fabriholic who doesn’t sew! doe-c-doe is inspiring me to develop a more discriminating eye and to look harder at the patterns and colors rather than just buying because I “like it”.

  3. MelanieO says:

    I’ve been following doe-c-doe for a very long time, thanks for featuring her! In addition to her great vintage fabric stash, she does some beautiful photography of “vintage” Kansas :)

  4. L says:

    Hello –

    I live in NYC – and have tried many times to find vintage fabric that was popular in the 60′s, 70′s that has people on it – I can’t seem to. Do you give advice on this type of thing? Thanks