By Mary Beth of Supafine
Sometimes you just don’t have the time to perch in the linens department at Goodwill, waiting for the latest stock of old sheets to be hung up. Or sometimes you might wonder, What else is out there? Surely there’s more than what this particular estate sale has to offer. Or perhaps you think to yourself, I know exactly what I’m looking for … if only I knew where to search.
Well! Wonder no more. Here’s where to search: our best compendium of vintage fabric sources, including not just vintage cotton yardage but fat quarters and other cuts, feedsacks, vintage tablecloths and other linens, silks and apparel fabrics and wool. There are stand-alone web sites, real live brick-and-mortar stores (covered today), and eBay and Etsy-based shops (covered in Part II later this week and next).
“While we specialize in cottons for quilters,” writes owner Flinda Terteling, “we also have a selection of 1930s-50s rayons for costumes and swing era dresses; lawn, dimity and organza for doll costumers; and silks, satins and brocades for crazy quilters.” They also offer vintage feedsacks, antique cigarette silks, lace, trims and buttons. Phew.
Dewitt & Co.
Offering a variety of vintage fabric, including feed sacks, pillowcases and aprons, plus needlework and other ephemera, Dewitt & Co. also encourages contacting them directly if you don’t see what you are searching for.
This U.K. web shop carries a range of antique, vintage, and retro fabrics, including 19th Century French fabrics. She also has a feedsack collection “that has now grown to gigantic proportions.” +If that doesn’t sound promising I don’t know what does.
Mary Koval Antique Quilts
Self-proclaimed “fabraholic” collector Mary Koval has vintage and antique fabrics dating from+1775 (you read that right) to 1970. In addition to selling vintage fabric, she also sells quilt tops, whole quilts and will help you match fabrics for antique quilt repairs. The website seems geared to a personal interraction rather than online shopping, but this could be a winner if you’re looking for something in particular instead of eye candy.
Material Pleasures carries a large selection of antique and vintage textiles including: quilts, linens, lace, fabric, Victorian paisley shawls, handkerchiefs, and aprons.
Better known for their reclaimed upholstery-weight fabrics, Modern Fabrics also offers vintage and reproduction fabrics, like the Eames fabric above. They also have a storefront in Charlotte, North Carolina at 128 East Park Avenue.
Niesz Vintage Fabric
The word here is florals. Look here for shabby chic, barkcloth, children’s fabric, feedsacks, and chintz. (Niesz also has an Etsy shop.) See our interview with Kimberly Niesz here.
Japanese! Which = very cute but the website and blog is illegible if, like me, you are unable to read Japanese. They do have a brick-and-mortar store; it appears to be in Japan. (Which would make sense.) The prints are killer and arranged by color; prices are in … *checks site* Oh God. I don’t even know if that means “yen.” (Someone please enlighten us regarding their international shipping policies!)
Retro Age Vintage Fabrics
This is an Australian web shop selling vintage fabric from the 1940s-80s as well as custom orders, serving everyone “from home crafters to Hollywood movie studios, from remnant to bolt.” Stock includes prints from Marimekko, Tampella, Heals of London, Verner Panton, Lucienne Day and Tuppen from Sweden.+Don’t miss Vanessa’s frequent giveaways on herblog. Retro Age has an eBay storefront, too.
Their motto: “We hunt and gather so you don’t have to.” The site is organized into two broad categories: 1920s-1950s and 1960s-1970s, plus a spotlight on Marimekko. Revival also offers vintage trim and ribbon.
Sharon’s Antiques Vintage Fabrics and Textiles
Sharon’s Antiques boasts more than 400 feedsacks and 300 vintage cotton print fabrics, plus vintage kitchen linens, aprons, hankies, antique quilts and quilt tops, rayons, upholstery and drapery fabric, vintage all cotton rickrack, bias tape, and trims. Owners Sharon and Bill also write a blog called The Rickrack Rag.
Vicky Grubb’s new shop, Something Fine, sells vintage fabrics from 1940s-1980s. “Most of my fabrics are thicker upholstery or curtain fabrics ideal for crafting and include linen, satin brocade, cottons and some synthetic mixed fabric … I also collect vintage designer textiles such as those designed by Lucienne Day, and fabulous art textiles produced for Heals and other retailers.” Vicky has an eBay shop as well.
Brooklyn General Store
128 Union St, Brooklyn, NY 11231
Brooklyn General was created by Catherine Clark and Katie Metzger. They sell vintage cottons, calicos from the 1940s and 50s, plastics, barkcloth, quilts, and tablecloths.
7530 N.E. Glisan St., Portland, Oregon, 97213
Billing itself as “The only vintage fabric store in the Northwest,” Portland, Oregon-based Knittn Kitten sells vintage fabric by the yard from bolts dating back to the 1930s: “pre-owned, but not used.” They also sell quilts and notions and advertise standardized thrift pricing. Look for the building with the big pink kitten.
170 Columbus Ave., Suite 110, San Francisco, CA 94133
Urban Burp offers rare vintage fabrics in categories such as tropical, geometric, novelty, juvenalia, tiki, and more in addition to design services. Read about True Up’s visit to Urban Burp here. To place an order or check availability, call Electra at 415-399-8761.
Did we miss any stand-alone websites or brick & mortars? Want to make sure your favorite (or your own) Etsy or eBay shop make it into Part II of this roundup? Leave a comment!
Please note: All images contained in this post are copyright their respective shop owners as noted.