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 Kim, a 37-year-old stay-at-home crafty mama to a preschool-going girl, and a 10-month-old boy. We live in Berkeley, California. I have a blog and an Etsy shop where I sell handmade kid stuff made from vintage fabric, felted wool, and Japanese fabrics and, of course, some vintage fabric. When I’m not sewing, I’m busy being a mama. Or baking. Or collecting more vintage fabric, buttons, or trims to sew with
How long have you been collecting vintage fabric?
Not long enough to justify my collection, that’s for sure!
Do you have any special memories of textiles from your childhood?
I don’t come from a crafty family, so there are no heirloom quilts or inherited feedsacks of which to boast. I do, however, own a fat quarter of a vintage, upcycled sheet that I had as a kid. It was a purely sentimental purchase; as vintage sheeting goes, it’s not the very mod style to which I’m usually drawn!
How would you describe your vintage stash — what is the predominant fiber, era, colors, etc?
Mostly cotton feedsacks, though on the yardage front, predominantly 40s through 70s with particular emphasis on 40s-50s as I’m a sucker for 34″-36″ selvage widths. I used to be magnetically drawn to blue and green colorways, but now I’m attracted mostly to motifs like daisies, strawberries, apples, butterflies, ladybugs, apples, paisleys, and western prints. And I’m surprisingly fond of floral prints, given that I never wear them.
What does your collection say about you?
That I’m compulsive! And hopefully that I have good taste
What are your favorite sources for buying vintage fabric?
I love to buy in person, since then I can actually see and feel the fabric (textiles are so tactile for me!) and, of course, save on shipping fees. The monthly antiques fair in Alameda, California is a favorite destination. I also have online sources, including though not restricted to some great sellers on Etsy and eBay. If I said who they are then I’d have even more competition for their better offerings!
What are your very favorite pieces in your collection?
How do you store it? Any special ways of cataloging it for posterity and/or organizing it all?
All of my vintage fabric is folded and organized by genre (feedsacks here, corduroy there, 40s/50s stuff here, 60s/70s stuff there, etc.) in a closet in the office. All of my juvenile, and western fabric is up on a shelf, but the rest is in stacks on the carpeted closet floor. I plan to get it onto shelves very soon, though.
Are you more of a collector or do you use your vintage fabrics a lot in sewing?
Both, as it will take a concerted effort to use it all up. But I do believe in using it!
a stuffie, a doll blanket, and a kid tote … all made using one of Kim’s favorite fabrics, a vintage Rondo print.
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 love feedsacks with solid-colored backgrounds. I’m also still seeking that perfect bit of aqua-on-pink, narrow-width yardage. And any additional colorways that I come across of my favorites. More Rondo prints.
Do you have a holy grail — a particular piece that you’d really like to add to your collection?
More of my favorite mushroom-and-cherry Rondo print (above), in the pink/red colorway.
Do you have any favorite designers or design styles from the past?
What are your favorite contemporary fabrics/designers/companies?
Kokka, Lecien, and Yuwa, Heather Ross, and Liberty of London.
Two Kimmymade doll quilts created for a Craft Fair on 14 Nov at Studio Grow in Berkeley, CA. The cowboy quilt on the left is made from three different vintage Western prints (all yardage, not feedsack). The pink hopscotch on the right is made from five different feedsack prints. Kim says, “I love these both so much that if neither sells, my daughter gets one and my son the other!”
Any parting words? Please take this opportunity to answer any question you were hoping I would ask you …
I like to make kid’s stuff with my vintage fabric, both for my daughter and for sale, like totes, napkins, skirts, doll blankets, PJ bottoms, T-shirts, etc. The Western prints I’m specifically collecting to make a quilt for my son.
All images copyright Kim Steckler and used here with permission.
This wraps up the first installment of the Vintage Fabric Collectors Series! We hope you enjoyed it — we loved it and are planning another for the future. Whom would you like to see featured? Let us know in the comments.