Vintage Fabric Collectors Series: Cassi of The Crafty Crow and Bella Dia

Cassi's Vintage Fabric - True Up's FavoritesSome of True Up’s favorite fabrics from Cassi’s collection

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 Cassi, I’ve been blogging on my personal craft blog, Bella Dia, since 2004 and on my newest blog, The Crafty Crow (a children’s craft collective) since 2008. I’ve contributed craft designs to books and magazines and when I get a chance to do some sewing for myself I sell items from my blog or my shop on Etsy. I’m a happily single mom to three that I homeschool and we live in the mountains of southern Idaho. We also have [gulp] 18 pets that keep us entertained and busy. I haven’t been sewing as much as I’d like to in the past year and have been spending a lot of time growing The Crafty Crow but it doesn’t mean I don’t have a hundred ideas flying around in my head all the time. I just started volunteering at our senior’s center teaching arts and crafts so I’ll be able to do more hands-on crafting and sharing the fun at the same time. I also relocated my studio and I’m still trying to find places to put all my stuff. I’m a pack rat to be sure!

How long have you been collecting vintage fabric?

I think more consciously around six or seven years but I have some fabric that I’ve had for much longer and I’ve always picked up pieces I like here and there.

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

My mother and grandmothers all sewed for my twin sister and I so I have lots of memories of great fabrics. We had one dress we called our psychedelic dress (um, yeah, this would be the late sixties) and we always made sure to wear it when we knew we’d be playing Red Rover at school — that way we could run over on any color that was called :) We also had a matching faux fur poncho and mini skirt …

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

I snatch up just about anything that suits my fancy so I have fabrics from the 30s through the 70s. I like prints, novelty and floral especially, and bright, crisp colors. I don’t think I have a predominant fiber but if there is one I’d say it’s cotton, that’s my favorite anyway.

Cassigoldredstripe

What does your collection say about you?

Well, I’ve only heard rumors but apparently they can’t understand how I could love them so much, yet, let them languish on the shelves barely seeing the light of day. ;D

What are your favorite sources for buying vintage fabric?

I wish I had a dependable resource but most of mine have been found by chance at thrift stores, estate sales, and flea markets. I love eBay but I’ve grown impatient with the auction platform so I don’t use it much anymore. When I have time, I like to look through the offerings on Etsy as well.

What are your very favorite pieces in your collection?

Oh boy … I have a sweet graphic daisy print in blue, yellow, and red that I love for no other reason than that it makes me happy to look at it, a pink and red floral with dark navy details, another floral graphic in dark pink, pink and chartreuse and a cute print covered with red and blue patterned hobo knapsacks.

Cassidaisies

Cassihoboknapsacks

Cassipinkredforal

Cassipinkchartreusefloral

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

No special ways of storing it — it’s all folded on the shelves with my other fabrics. I do try and take a picture of each new piece and add it to my photos on Flickr. I have framed a few favorites too, just so I get to see them, but that’s about it.

Cassivintagefabricwallart

Cassifabrichoops

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

It would probably seem I just collect them but I really do intend to use them someday! I’ve used bits here and there as part of a patchwork like this drawstring tote and journal.

Cassicrochetvintagefabrictote

Cassipatchworklisttaker

Are there any holes in your stash that you’d like to fill,
for example a particular color family, country, print type,
or design era?

I would love more feedsacks and some vintage Dutch designs would be heaven.

Cassipinkgrayfolklore

Do you have any favorite designers or design styles from
the past?

Feedsacks, definitely. I love that they were a utilitarian item but visually appealing. I wish modern manufacturers would follow that approach. I love Swanky Swigs, one of my other collections, for exactly the same reason.

What are your favorite contemporary fabrics/designers/companies?

Japanese novelty prints, Denyse Schmidt (love Katie Jump Rope), Alexander Henry, Lecien (My Folklore!), Kaffe Fassett — of course, and, well, so many more!

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

I just want to thank you for asking me to participate Kim. It was fun going through my stash and enjoying my pretties all over again!

…..
Thank you so much, Cassi! If you’re not already familiar with Cassi’s wonderful, intricate pincushions and softies, you’re missing out! Witness: pincushions, houses, and other crafts. Her vintage fabric collection is archived on Flickr. Cassi is a fellow Tammis Keefe fanatic and even admins the Tammis Keefe Textiles group.

All images copyright Cassi Griffin and used here with permission.

Previously in the Vintage Fabric Collector Series: Vicky Grubb of Something Fine, Kate Kolstad of Cluttershop, doe-c-doe.

One Comment

  1. Amber says:

    I love Cassi’s blogs – the Crafty Crow always has the most amazing ideas – didn’t know she homeschooled – so do we. Off to check out all her creations!