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Thread: help me identify vintage fabric type, please!

  1. #1
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    help me identify vintage fabric type, please!

    I recently bought a vintage quilt top. The stars are all sack cloth or dress cloth, but I can't figure out what they are appliqued onto. It looks like unbleached muslin, but it is heavier and has a little stiffness to it. Also, any ideas on what I could used to back this with? I'm sort of new to all this. my grandmother quilts and sews. I have dabbled in and around fabric and sewing all my life, but am getting more and more interested as I get older.
    Thanks for any help y'all can offer.

  2. #2
    Super Member auntpiggylpn's Avatar
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    Can you post a picture? That would be really helpful!
    No one has ever become poor by giving. - Anne Frank
    Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that. - Martin Luther King, Jr.

    http://www.etsy.com/shop/TheQuiltedPig

  3. #3
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    Photos of quilt top in question

    Name:  IMAG0623.jpg
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Size:  1.24 MB Name:  IMAG0621.jpg
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Size:  1.37 MB Name:  IMAG0622.jpg
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Size:  1.33 MB Name:  IMAG0624.jpg
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    I should have thought to post these with the original post....d'oh!

  4. #4
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    feed sack fabric was often combined with dressmaking fabric for these types of quilts. There also appeared to be a variety of muslin type fabrics. You might post your question on the site for The Feedsack Club for indentification of the background fabric. I have some of these old tops and often there was differences in quality and type of background fabric. White feedsacks were sometime used as well. There are many interesting stories of folks being taken when their father bought grain and feed to choose the printed sacks for their next dress or other garments.

  5. #5
    Super Member quilter2theend's Avatar
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    Could it be material that was used to make things like slips or petticoats? How thick and stiff is it?

  6. #6
    Super Member auntpiggylpn's Avatar
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    That is a FABULOUS quilt top. I think it kind of looks like a cotton sheeting. . . I would think you could back it with anything you wanted to.
    No one has ever become poor by giving. - Anne Frank
    Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that. - Martin Luther King, Jr.

    http://www.etsy.com/shop/TheQuiltedPig

  7. #7
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    The stars on that quilt are beautiful. I"m wondering if the brownish fabric is unbleached muslin. Years ago muslin wasn't as nice to the touch as it is now. Good luck in your search for answers.
    Sue

  8. #8
    Super Member luvstoquilt's Avatar
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    WOW! I vote for muslin...there are so many grades and weights. In the 70's my mother made bedskirts for my bedroom of muslin....it is much heavier than what I find today.
    "You must do the thing you think you cannot do"....E. Roosevelt

    Sharon
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  9. #9
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    I wonder if it is a medium weight muslin? I it isn't super stiff.. I actually really like it. I have seen med weight unbleached muslin for sale in theater supply websites.

  10. #10
    Junior Member seam-ripper-sue's Avatar
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    The thick fabric looks like it could be flour sacks, they were the same size as feed sacks only thicker and denser, about the same as unbleached muslin. Some called them milk sacks also. I reconize a lot of the top as feed sacks early 40's to early 60's and some of it is old dress fabric. One of my Grandmothers' quilts I have has several of your same fabs in it. Beautiful quilt top.
    Linda Sue **** Live,Laugh & Sew

  11. #11
    Junior Member SewSydney's Avatar
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    That fabric looks like what we here in Australia call unbleached calico. I think its the same as unbleached muslin to you. There is a similar fabric here that we call homespun that is a more refined cotton, but going by the vintage of the quilt, I'd say it is calico.

    Love the quilt top, it is just gorgeous.

  12. #12
    Power Poster ckcowl's Avatar
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    there are many weights of muslins- just because it is heavier than what you've experienced doesn't mean thats not what it is- but it could be feedsack's too - either way it's a muslin
    backing it with a nice quality muslin would be nice- you could use white or natural
    the fabrics are vintage 30's-40's fabrics
    if you wanted to use a print for the backing instead of a solid-or muslin you could pick up a repo 30's fabric that goes nicely with it-
    connecting threads have some nice ones for very reasonable prices.
    great find- can't wait to see pics of it finished
    hiding away in my stash where i'm warm, safe and happy

  13. #13
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    Thanks for all the compliments. I bought it on ebay from a lady who found it in her grandmother's attic. It was DIRTY! but it is gorgeous to me, even stained. Y'all have confirmed for me that the backing for the stars is probably some sort of muslin or milk/feed/sack. I've got a bid on an old muslin featherbed cover on ebay, which looks VERY similar to what I have here. If I win the auction, I think I will cut it open/apart to use for this quilt.
    Last edited by windylou; 01-29-2012 at 04:38 PM. Reason: grammar

  14. #14
    Junior Member lynn_z's Avatar
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    I have some of that white fabric that I had identified as 1950s. I am making a"bunch of snowmen" quilt as it is nice and fluffy like a snowman should be. I was thinking that either me or someone I know had a blouse made out of it and that sort of dates me. I understood than muslin was always flat where this has some texture to it.
    http://lyndaswhoknew.blogspot.com/

  15. #15
    Super Member Grandma58's Avatar
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    WOnderful quilt, I think it looks like muslin.

  16. #16
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    I also think it maybe is flour sack material. Beautifule quilt....brings back memories of Grandma's stories.

  17. #17
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    Thanks! I really love it too. The stars are just perfect. I can't wait to play with it.

  18. #18
    Senior Member BSKTLOFR-QUILTER's Avatar
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    I don't have an answer for you but love the fabric and colors. Whatever you come up with it will be a precious quilt.

  19. #19
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    Well, I bought some backing fabric and binding fabric that I think will pull out the shades I like the most. I'm excited to put it together and see how it comes out. I'll post photos

  20. #20
    Senior Member Daisydoodle's Avatar
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    Looks like feed sack cloth, dress cloth and muslin. Remember muslin that is 100% cotton unbleached seems thicker and of course is rough. It is really a nice piece, I would back it in muslin also. Maybe take it to your local quilt shop they should be able to offer you some ideas. Good Luck
    Daisydoodle
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  21. #21
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    I had some of my great grandmothers fabric that I thought was heavy muslin but it turned out to be raw linen. She was born in 1862 and died in 1962. Old linen wasn't smooth like we can get today. Just a thought
    http://www.oregonquilting.net
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