Sunday, August 23, 2015

Vintage Stash: What's It Worth to You?

Vintage 1930's Depression Era Fabric Baby Quilt

A friend of mine--the same one in the wooden quilt post-- was offered 5 boxes of fabric for sale, and had no way of digging through it before she decided. By only looking at the fabric on the top, she called me to say it was 'old', and looked like 'stuff I would like'. She lives hours away, so I took a chance and said, "Buy it." 

Around here we use the term, "Pig in a Poke." I was hoping that wasn't the case with the fabric, but you never know. Last weekend I paid her a visit, loaded the entire back seat of my car with old boxes, and brought it all home.

I was told there was a hexie quilt in there, and was pleased with what I found. Yes, it's worn and has a two thin spots, but it's still beautiful. The backing is simply flannel, if you're wondering. The next thing I pulled out was this well-loved baby shirt. 

I was impressed to see how well it had held up for such delicate fabric, and the sewing details were amazing. Gussets in the arms, and long slits in the sides to accomodate cloth diapering.

The fabrics were spread throughout the decades. Here are some of what I believe to be the oldest.

The chunk that has ozidization marks on it (on the left) is a vintage muslin. Vintage fabric may have those, especially if it's been repurposed. In an era where there was little waste, whole yardage is not easy to come by now. Several other parts of this lot have been reclaimed from previously worn garments, and that was often the fabric that went into quilt construction during the early decades in the U.S.

There was a small panel of Irish linen along with several vintage tablecloths. All of these could be incorporated into a quilt or other repurposed item.

Two of my favorites: The bunnies with veggies is right out of my childhood, and the teepees below are great! There is around 5+yards of the navy teepees. Score!

Typical 1980's fabrics, but I have a good stash of other 80's yardage to pair them with. Just like I love the 60's-70's era prints, someone is going to be into the 80's stuff too.

Chunks with larger amounts of yardage below. The owner of this stash had to be a quilter along with a garment maker.

A whole laundry basket of scraps ironed out so I can make sense of them. There are bits of feedsack among some other older fabrics I can see. This quilter and I had similar taste. Another stack of flannels, tablecloths, and oddities sits in the back.

Silly Effy claimed this shirt as hers the first day we started sorting. She's spread it out nice and flat, and seems very attached to it. I don't think I can take it away from her, though it's a lovely print.

One box was full of wool yardage and wool sweaters to felt, but there were several cashmere sweaters in there, too. They were luxurious, and I have no idea what I'll do with them, but they stayed. Three small boxes were unsalvagable. They had mainly polyesters, and fabrics beyond saving. 

Was it worth $125? In the beginning I was doubtful. By the end, I was happy. Yes, it needed elbow grease to get in shape, but I feel good that it was saved. And let's admit how fun it is when someone sees a familiar fabric from their past in our work, and wonders how in the world we got it. The nostalgia factor is worth it to me.

Come on, Doxie girls. 
Let's rebuild our stash pile.

Linking Up With~
Show and Tell with Bambi
Cooking Up Quilts
Molli Sparkles


  1. Love the vintage hexi quilt! How exciting rummaging through & finding lots of treasures! Look forward to seeing what you do with some of it.

  2. Hi Julie! So glad Effy found her favourite piece, too! You did good job saving all that - obviously it has been stach of someone like us. Lot of beautiful and fantastic fabrics! You could make an afghan blanket with those cashmere and wool sweaters! Or poncho or at least bed for Effy. x Teje

  3. Lovely vintage fabric. Do you have a project in mind for them?

  4. Looks to me like you hit the jackpot! That little baby shirt is so darn sweet! Have fun with your new treasures!

  5. If you're happy, then it was worth it! Lots of possibilities await!

  6. What a treasure trove. I love the little baby shirt and that pink panel with the flowers on it. There should definitely be some cool quilts coming out of all this.

  7. Some very cool treasures in those boxes.

  8. Not a pig in a poke at all ! We say that too in NIreland, maybe it originated here and travelled across the Atlantic . Anyhow , That was a gamble that paid off

  9. That is just too cool! I would never have thought there'd be such a goldmine to be had...I love the top fabric on the left in the teepee photo. Love that old hexie quilt too, and the baby shirt. It will be interesting to see what you do with these. Awww, Effy! 'Mwah' to her.

  10. Thank you Julie for your inspiration and linking to Show and Tell Monday !! Hugs from the autumnal Sweden

  11. Lovely fabric find. I was gifted with two big tubs of someone's old fabric. Much of it is heavier weight -- good for pants for little girls. But lots of lovely quilting fabric too. Except, much of it had been organized for a yard sale decades ago and the little masking tape signs 50¢ or 25¢ for a yard of fabric left their marks. So, I'm using the fabric "around" the mars from the adhesive. Didn't wash out with my normal quilt soap. Sigh.

  12. I have several of those fabrics. Now I know what year they fall in. Thanks, Julie! I'm glad I followed your link to get to see these.


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