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Thread: vintage fabrics

  1. #1
    Senior Member quazyquilter's Avatar
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    I inherited yards and yards of fabric, i know by the patterns, that some of these are 30, 40 years old, maybe more. most have been stored in tightly wrapped plastic for the past 10 years. I even have fabric that someone told me was printed feed sack fabric. My question is- Is this fabric going to hold up in making quilts? How do I tell if it's got dry rot. They are the most beautiful fabrics. They don't make cotton fabrics the way they used to. These are much thicker, sturdier than the ones we buy today. Thanks for all your help.
    Conni

  2. #2
    Esqmommy's Avatar
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    I have no idea, but it would be lovely to see some photos of it posted!

  3. #3
    Super Member beachlady's Avatar
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    I have no idea either, but like Esq I would love to see some pix.

  4. #4
    Super Member Elisabrat's Avatar
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    Feed sacks came from the 1930-s 40's.. and were cotton. Fabric 30-40 yrs ago hence 1960-70's is quiet often a blend of both cotton and poly. Its thicker, tougher and does work fine in a quilt I just dont like to work with poly. Feed sacks work great in quilts get softer with time and are easy on the hands to work with.

  5. #5
    Super Member Maride's Avatar
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    I would say to try it on something small. We have quilts made hundreds of years ago and many are holding up well. I can't see why the fabric alone wouldn't hold. How come I never have finds like that? Maybe I am not looking.

    Maria

  6. #6
    Super Member NorBanaquilts's Avatar
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    Wow, all that fabric must be great. Please post a pic so we can all drool over it.

  7. #7
    Moderator kathy's Avatar
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    try tearing it, that should tell you if it's getting rotten or not

  8. #8
    Senior Member quazyquilter's Avatar
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    As soon as I can get a digital camera (to borrow), maybe from my Dad, i will post some pictures.My camera in on the fritz.

  9. #9
    Super Member Quilt Mom's Avatar
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    We'll be waiting! I can't wait to see the pics.

  10. #10
    Super Member Oklahoma Suzie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Maride
    I would say to try it on something small. We have quilts made hundreds of years ago and many are holding up well. I can't see why the fabric alone wouldn't hold. How come I never have finds like that? Maybe I am not looking.

    Maria
    I agree.

  11. #11
    Super Member Shorebird's Avatar
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    If the fabric has dry rot, it will be very obvious if you give it a strong tug......threads will be weak and tear where they should not........I have several pieces that belonged to my Grandmother (who was born in 1899) that are still good and solid.............Cannot WAIT to see the pictures you post.

  12. #12
    Senior Member quazyquilter's Avatar
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    Okay, Ladies, thanks for all your help. I will try to post pics in the next few days. There's a lot!!

  13. #13
    Power Poster RedGarnet222's Avatar
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    Oh Lucky Lady!!

  14. #14
    Super Member ghostrider's Avatar
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    You can also tell if a fabric is cotton or a blend by burning a small cutting of it. Cotton will turn to a light, dry ash. Poly or man-made fibers will melt and turn to a lump of gunk.

  15. #15
    Super Member jljack's Avatar
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    I would wash them in the washer on gentle. It rehydrates the fabric and gets all and any dust or other debris out of it. It will make it pliable again, and should soften it.

  16. #16
    Power Poster Ninnie's Avatar
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    What a great thing!! Can't wait to see pictures of your find,

  17. #17
    JS
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    What a wonderful find !!! Wish I could catch a break like that. I love the traditional quilts and the old fabric. They go so well together. Count yourself very lucky. Have fun.
    Jean

  18. #18
    Super Member GailG's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by quazyquilter
    I inherited yards and yards of fabric, i know by the patterns, that some of these are 30, 40 years old, maybe more. most have been stored in tightly wrapped plastic for the past 10 years. I even have fabric that someone told me was printed feed sack fabric. My question is- Is this fabric going to hold up in making quilts? How do I tell if it's got dry rot. They are the most beautiful fabrics. They don't make cotton fabrics the way they used to. These are much thicker, sturdier than the ones we buy today. Thanks for all your help.
    Conni
    Give the fabric a good washing and drying. If it holds up to that is will be fine.

  19. #19

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    I also inherited fabrics such as these. 38 boxes of. I washed and ironed it all. If it shreds, it isn't any good. :thumbdown:

  20. #20
    Super Member sewjoyce's Avatar
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    I also came into a bunch of old fabrics. These fabrics were NOT taken care of -- they were stored in boxes in a barn. Well the mice and bugs had a real field day. So I washed everything is warm water with Tide. If it fell apart, I trashed it. I was surprised at how well some of it came out -- however, washing didn't get rid of the little mice holes (LOL)

  21. #21
    Super Member butterflywing's Avatar
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    if you plan to try mixing the poly with the all-cotton be sure to wash and preshrink everything first. if not, the cotton will shrink at a greater rate than the poly and you'll end up with a distorted quilt.

    i think you should share.

  22. #22
    Super Member sewjoyce's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by butterflywing
    if you plan to try mixing the poly with the all-cotton be sure to wash and preshrink everything first. if not, the cotton will shrink at a greater rate than the poly and you'll end up with a distorted quilt.

    i think you should share.
    :lol: :lol:

  23. #23
    Super Member mrspete's Avatar
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    Awww, lucky you! When I feel a difference in a fabric I lay it aside and look for others with that same feel. A more open weave or heavier weave do not sew or cut or pull the same, so I do not put diffent 'feels' in the same project. BTW, if you find a piece, even if it is a very small piece, of a green fabric with turtles on it, they are white, black, yellow and red turtles (all colors on the turtle) on a bright green, I would be so interested. Long story, great memory, too. I'm still looking for a piece of it. Circa 1970's Thanks

  24. #24
    dsj
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    Connie, Your fabrics should be fine. If they are brittle then you probably have some dry rot happening, but since they have never been washed they should be fine for a long time. Remember the civil war quilt I just finished, some of the fabrics dated back to the 1830's and are still intact, it has seen a lot of washings and sunlight. I think you will be okay using them. Try washing some small pieces and see how they hold up.

  25. #25
    Super Member Rainbow's Avatar
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    Hoping you can borrow a camera soon.....

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