About Fabric.

What is vintage fabric? There is always lots of debate over this, but vintage is generally accepted as fabric which is over 30 years old. Antique fabric earlier than the 1930’s.

Fabric width, measured selvedge to selvedge, can give a general idea as to age of the material. Looms were originally people powered and for comfort the average loom was approximately the length of one arm (about 24″to 28″), this allowed the weaver to throw the shuttle back and forth with very little movement of their body. Generally 24″ and 30″ widths indicate the fabric was manufactured before 1930 or so. By the early 1930’s as machine looms were introduced narrow widths were replaced by 36″ to 39″ for most dressmaking cottons and by the early 60’s the standard was 42″ to 44″. The exact time of the change-over varies, as manufacturers updated their looms over a period of years.

Hand_weaving_looma

Burn Test

It is often difficult to tell what type of fabric you have, doing a burn test can give an indication. Done by burning a small piece of fabric and observing the results.

Natural Fibers

  • Cotton: Burns, but does not melt. Has the odor of burning paper, leaves, or wood. Residue is a fine, feathery, gray ash.
  • Linen: Same as cotton
  • Rayon : Same as cotton.
  • Silk: Burns, but does not melt. Shrinks from the flame. Has the odor of charred meat. Residue is a black, hollow irregular bead that can be easily to a gritty black powder. Is self-extinguishing, i.e., it burns itself out.
  • Wool, and other Protein Fibers: Burns, but does not melt. Shrinks from the flame. Has a strong odor of burning hair. Residue is a black, hollow irregular bead that can be easily crushed into a gritty black powder. Is self-extinguishing, i.e., it burns itself out.

Man-made Fibers

  • Acetate: Burns and melts. Tends to shrink away from flame. Has an odor similar to burning paper and vinegar. Residue is a hard, dark, solid bead.
  • Acrylic: Burns and melts. Tends to shrink away from flame.Has a fishy odor. Residue is a hard irregularly-shaped bead. Gives off a black smoke when burned
  • Nylon: Burns and melts. Tends to shrink away from flame. Has an odor likened to celery. Residue is initially a hard, cream-colored bead that becomes darker.
  • Polyester: Burns and melts. Tends to shrink away from flame.Has a somewhat sweet chemical odor. Residue is initially a hard cream-colored bead that becomes darker. Flames give off black smoke.

Fabric Designs.

Fabric prints and designs are often typical of an era.  Like this 1940’s cotton apron.

apron6

Certain designers became well known for their fabric and would put their name on the selvedge, such as Barbara Brown in the 1960’s who designed for Heals.

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and  Laura Ashley in the 1970’s.

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Further information about Vintage Fabric can be found at the links below.

Website
Ebay
Facebook
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2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Judy Cheon
    Oct 05, 2013 @ 22:27:59

    Love the vintage patterns and ideas. I love to make aprons with vintage fabric and dress them up with bling!

    Reply

    • Vintage Fabric
      Oct 06, 2013 @ 08:43:14

      Hi Judy, thanks for your comments..you have a great website..just been having a browse. Best wishes Ali

      Reply

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