One thing I’ve always admired about quilters and other women who sew, besides their skill, is the way they feel about fabric. Most have a spare room, a cabinet, or at the very least, drawers or boxes stuffed full of lengths of colorful fabrics put aside for the perfect project.
They shop for textiles the way others of us shop for shoes – always on the lookout. They can’t resist showing their finds to friends and family and get great pleasure in working with the fabric to create things for themselves and for others.
Well, I’m no seamstress, but I do love fabric. Especially – no surprise here – vintage fabrics. I bring home vintage textiles from estate sales, thrift stores and antique malls. I squirrel everything away, stored in old suitcases, until a project comes along. And projects always come along.
I’ve moved around a bit. And a new house often means new cushions for the chairs or curtains for the kitchen window.
Even when I’m not moving, I like to change things around. When I get tired of those cushions, or they start looking a little worse for the wear, I dive into my stash of fabric remnants and start over. I cut and trim, and before I know it, everything’s different.
Add a little dye, or color remover, and things are really different. I never use bleach because it can damage fabrics.
Antique and vintage textiles have become very collectible. And unused fabric in mint condition is rare. Occasionally you read about warehouses full of 1940s bark cloth, or a kitschy 1950s atomic print, being discovered, but not very often.
A tour through my house illustrates my fondness for vintage cloth. I’ve used it to recover chairs, to make tablecloths and to decorate room dividers. An old cedar chest became a window seat when I dyed a 1960s slipcover and draped it over the chest.
I don’t really sew, but my home is a patchwork of beautiful, one-of- a-kind fabrics. And there’s a story behind each piece.