Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Help with Old Fabric

A couple months ago, my DH and I stopped by a church rummage sale in town. I found a couple small things, and also some plaid fabric. Not knowing the content of the fabric, I decided I could buy it, and take it to my quilting group that makes charity quilts. It sat in a bag until tonight, when I decided I needed to sew the edges to prevent fraying, and get it washed. As I took a closer look, I found that all but one of the pieces was 2 yards and the others were each 3 yards in length, but each fabric is just 36 inches wide!! It has a very firm hand, almost stiff, but had a funny smell to it. (that's why I thought it needed to be washed.) But look at the tag that I found on the 2 yard piece!!

Yes, the tag says 2 yard remnant, original price 1.38, on sale for 87 cents!! And look how the tag attached... there is a wire on one end that went through the tag, then was pushed through the fabric, then through the small slot in the other end of the tag, then the wire ends were bent over, away from each other. The wire, after all this time is NOT rusty! And the tag says the fabric came from Montgomery Wards! Now Wards disappeared from my area many years ago, and I don't remember them ever selling fabric. And oh, yes, the plaid is woven, not printed. Yes, each thread in the fabric is a color, either white, red, yellow, green, or blue. And if you look close, where the red and green thread cross over each other, you can see both colors in that area.

Also, I did a burn test of one of the fabrics, it burned clean, just leaving ash. And there was no "plastic" smell when I burned it. The first piece (the remnant) is in the wash now. After I get them washed, I will post a picture of the fabrics (I can't stand to be near them right now. Maybe it is the dye? Doesn't smell like smoke to me. Sure hope washing them takes the smell out of them!)

So any experts out there? Any idea of when this fabric was made? Should I go ahead and give it to the group to make quilt backs? Or should I use it for something else?


Brenda said...

Wow great find! A friend of mine said it was the late 60s or 70s when MW sold fabric, but she is not sure. I am sure you know this, but just in case; try adding vinegar to the wash water...it is amazing the way it fights odors! What to do with the fabric....hmmmm...great for quilts, shirts, pillows, backings the list goes on. Have a great time with the choices and decisions!

Carol in Sweden said...

That's so fun...what a story that tag could tell if it could talk!

I'd use it myself (I"m selfish) or part of it anyway just to have that piece of history and a great story to tell each time you use the piece!

Is it sort of a flannel wool?
I could see doing a plaid- cozy quilt with it.

Rhonda said...

You are so good at looking closely at the tag......I'm so happy you did that. As for MW info, you might go online and do a query about the store's history and what was sold and when. Hope that helps.