Vintage Fabric Source Guide
“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.
Contemporary Cloth’s primary focus is new commercial fabrics and hand-dyed/printed fabric by fiber artists. But owner Sondra also carries a small selection of vintage fabric too.
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.
Pindot is also a Tokyo, Japan brick-and-mortar shop at: Suginami-ku, Shouan 3-39-11, Citycorp Nishiogi 202 (two minutes on foot from Nishi Ogikubo JR station, south exit). All fabrics on the website are sold by 22x22cm pieces and they accept postal transfer, bank transfer, COD, credit card, and Paypal. They only list shipping fees for inside Japan but try contacting them for international shipping. Alternatively, use a shopping service like Shiratama Zenzai (who graciously helped us decipher the Pindot website!)
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 her blog. 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 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.
Spinster’s Emporium Vintage Fabric
This UK-based web shop stocks half-meter cuts of vintage cottons and silks (and occasionally other fabrics) with a mid-century floral bent. Free shipping within the UK, and the fabric descriptions are very detailed.
Elizabeth built her reputation on eBay Australia selling cotton, wool, and synthetic vintage fabric under the name Fabric Deli. Her rebranded eBay store, Vintage Fabric Addict, is still going strong; and she’s also got a new stand-alone website. Don’t miss the vintage fabric scrap packs; she also sells notions, trims, and patterns, and ships worldwide.
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 dating back to the 1930s. They also sell quilts and notions and advertise standardized thrift pricing. Look for the building with the big pink kitten.
Garrard Commercial Center, 200 S Garrard Blvd, Suite 3, Pt. Richmond, CA 94801
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.
In With the Old
In With the Old has been in business since 1998. The Etsy shop carries vintage appliques, aprons, fabrics, lace, trims and other notions, and yarn. There are many midcentury delights among the fabric offerings; photography is consistent and prices are very affordable.
Moxie is a great source for vintage fabric — she always has a wide selection of excellent prints, and best of all, they are priced very reasonably. At this writing there are 50s painterly florals and midcentury mod botanical prints and mod 60-70s florals that would make Mrs. Roper proud, amongst sweet vintage quilting calicos and traditional cabbage roses. Also offered through this Etsy store are fabulous vintage dresses, purses, accessories, kitchen textiles, and jewelry.
Ms. Legacy Sews
Legacy is a vintage shop in Knoxville, Tennessee, and Ms. Legacy Sews is its Etsy outlet for vintage fabrics and sewing patterns. It’s a well-stocked shop with sections for cotton, linen, silk, rayon, and more.
This shop specializes in decorator fabrics from the 1950s-70s, sold from the bolt. Owner Susan bought the collection from the estate of a woman who had a thriving drapery and custom sewing business for 30 years — as such, the fabrics are all of a similar aesthetic, which may or may not be your bag (for the record, it’s definitely our bag!). Shipping is from Buffalo, NY. Paperhill also offers patterns, notions and trim. Catch Susan’s blog here.
Pintucksew is a shop with nothing but vintage fabric and sewing patterns. Fabrics span from pre-1960 to the 1980s, and there’s also a small selection of ethnic fabric. Fabrics are well-described with measurements, fiber content, weave, and colors, and the photographs document the print scale well. The owner writes a blog about vintage fashion here.
Rope specializes in reclaimed sheets, and offers them in a variety of precut packs as well as yardage.
Specializing in vintage fabric and sewing patterns from Swing Era 1940s, Rockabilly Full Skirted 1950s, Mod 1960s and Retro 1970s.
Vintage Fabric Jane
British designer Jane Foster is known for her screenprinted goods and home textiles made from cheery vintage European fabrics. She offers her surplus fabric and scrap packs through this Etsy shop.
Whimsie Dots sells a variety of handmade items, but today we’re most interested in the well-stocked sections of vintage fabric and supplies (which includes lots of bundles and scrap packs), and the popular upcycled vintage sheet packs.
Look to Zinnia for vintage basics for fashion and home dec sewing: wools, velvets, etc. There’s also a good selection of quilting cottons, vintage quilt tops, and quilt squares.
Aah eBay, enabler of thousands of vintage fabric addicts. There is an overwhelming number of listings there at any given time, to be sure, but you just need to get into a groove with search terms. You can also browse eBay Stores that carry vintage fabric to wander aimlessly or to find sellers that specialize in your particular niche (feedsacks, say, or antique ticking, or 40s rayon, or atomic-era barkcloth). The following is not meant to be an exhaustive list, but a handful of sellers we have come to know over the years or who stood out as having a significant amount of cool old fabric.
Antique Vintage European Textiles
This shop’s focus is French ticking and antique French fabric and textiles, vintage grain sacks, and homespun linen. There are about 800 items for sale (yowsa), and they ship from the U.S.
Effie’s Quilt Shop
Kim loves Effie’s. In fact, if she ever has a daughter she just might name her Effie. These are vintage finds from rural Kansas auctions, including lots of great feedsacks and packs of assorted squares (great for little projects or just collecting.)
Vintage feedsacks, novelty prints, and quilts and quilt tops are the focus of this shop, which also offers a selection of half-sack cuts. Fabrics-etc welcomes international buyers.
Fabric Sew Cheap
This eBay shop is true to its title, with bids starting at 99 cents and free shipping on buy-it-now (shipping to the U.S.) items. A wide assortment of fabrics falls under the category “Vintage Fabric Materials.”
Silvia’s Vintage Treasure Chest
Silvia’s offers a variety of prints in assorted lengths and cuts from the 1920s through the 1960s, including feedsacks but also vintage linens and other related items.
Sodapopdreams specializes in vintage fabric as well as tablecloths, feedsacks, floursacks, runners, towels, and linens, including a number of trippy 60s prints.
Sweetpickins Fabric Store Feedsacks & More
Sweetpickins is definitely feedsack-centered, though they also deal in other vintage fabrics (yardage, aprons, et cetera) and items with a more country flavor.
Vintage Blessings has every kind of vintage and antique textile you can think of, and a lot of it, so it’s hard to walk away without finding something you can’t live without. Fabric is divided up into categories from the 1800s to the 1950s-70s, and they have a substantial amount of coveted 40s rayon dress fabrics.
We’re not as familiar with Ruby Lane, the gigantic virtual antique mall. Look for “offers considered” on items if you’re in a haggling mood. Overall on Ruby Lane the selection is not nearly as vast as eBay’s, and there doesn’t seem to be a way to easily locate shops specializing in fabric, but do a search and see what you can come up with today.