Finally! It has taken me all year to build up to selling some of my treasured vintage fabrics. It is an emotional and slow process: I chose a piece, press it, photograph it to list on my online vintage shop then remember how beautiful it is and all the wonderful items I could create with it. The next thing I know, it goes back into my ‘keep’, box whilst the ‘for sale’ box stays empty. No wonder it has taken me a year to declutter.
I’ve enjoyed sewing since I was a small child, making dresses for my Sindy dolls from old clothes, progressing to making clothes for myself during my teenage years with my Nanna Betty’s help. Then onto the London College of Fashion to learn design, pattern cutting and construction. Working life took over and I’d more or less forgotten about the thrill of finding a beautiful piece of fabric until I started working in the Cath Kidston offices five years ago. The company have created an archive room with floor to ceiling shelves, each shelf containing a length of fabric of every print they have ever sold along with pieces of vintage fabric used for inspiration, a wonderful library of fabrics. It was like walking into Willie Wonker’s chocolate factory but with bright floral prints instead of sugar daffodils and a chocolate river.
Vintage fabrics can be found in the most unexpected places: Tucked away under random kitchen items in a charity shop or those large antique warehouses that are like an indoor market. I’ll find a forgotten cardboard box under a rail of clothes filled with textiles from the past 50 years. I found the below Christmas print lost under a rail at the end of a very busy day at Pop up Vintage Fair. I remove the stains, unpick the hems (frequently vintage textiles were a set of curtains in a previous life) and it is ready to be made into something new.
I like to reflect on the history of a piece and wish it could tell it’s story: when it was produced? where it had been? who did it belong to? The below piece has Sanderson printed on the selvedge and I posted a photo of it on Instagram asking everyone which decade they thought it was from. 1970’s or 1980’s was the general concencious. Upholsterer Phillips and Cheers had a piece of the same print and he thinks it is from the 1930’s.
If you buy a piece of vintage fabric or haberdashery from me please promise you will post a photo on Instagram of what you have made with the fabric and tag me in so I know it has gone to a good home. Touch Wood Design from Brisbane, Australia did when she bought a few lengths of vintage fabric from my Etsy shop last month. She has already made one piece into this beautiful cushion.