Vintage Fabric - Retro Fabric - Vintage Fashion blog

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Cyberdeal This Week

Cyberdeal This Week at Revival Fabrics!

This week only through Sunday December 5th, save 20% on your order. No minimum order needed, no hassles. Use coupon code at checkout: cyberdeal20

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Julie's "Friendly" Little Rant about Upcycling

Have you noticed lately the words "upcycled" and "repurposed" becoming more popular? Green is good, but is Green doing a disservice to historical and vintage textiles and clothing? Decide for yourself, but don't decide until you read what my guest writer Julie Bergmans of Fab Gabs Vintage Co. has to say about it:

We live in a world where being green is becoming a necessity. In fact, many environmentally friendly choices have shifted from seeming inconvenient to simply being a habit. The campaigns of the 80’s and 90’s to “reduce, reuse, recycle” have largely done their job. I’m on the bandwagon – green is good!

Lovers of vintage everything know that reusing old things is one of the best ways to recycle in style – whether you’re decorating your home, or yourself! When green becomes bad, however, is when “green” buzz words are used to describe the destruction of pieces of history. The two words most commonly heard in the world of altered vintage are “upcycled” and “repurposed.” These words put a positive spin on something that isn’t admirable at all.

Upcycled = vintage altered in such a way that the intrinsic historical value is irreparably destroyed. It is sad, but true - this term is often used to describe perfectly good vintage items that have been damaged to make them more appealing to modern sensibilities and current trends.

Repurposed = (vintage) that was once used for one purpose, and has been adapted for another, either by redesign of simply use. Generally, a term that is acceptable for small bits & pieces of vintage items, but potentially dangerous on a larger scale.

Now, there’s a lot of worn out vintage clothing and textiles out there. You’ll never catch me getting on someone’s case because they decided to alter a dress that was shattering, or because they made one good necklace out of two or three broken ones. That’s responsible reuse – refashioning, if you will. It is one of my preferred methods of dealing with imperfect vintage.

GOOD, positive words for use of vintage things include: restored, renewed, rebuilt, revived, refashioned.

Denise Morden of Unforgettable Vintage is the best person I know to represent responsible repurposing and refashioning. She restores every piece she can to a fine, wearable state. Broken pieces, lonely components, and irretrievably damaged hats/garments are turned into beautiful creations that often look entirely authentic to the era, and ALWAYS evoke the feel and mood of the eras they are pieced from. Her Egyptian revival jewelry is a particularly excellent example.

At her business, no wearable or restorable piece is ever sacrificed for the sake of art - vintage is already art & history in one. But per her motto - nothing goes to waste. I recommend that anyone interested in "repurposed" pieces take a look at her inspiring creations.

Vintage is already wonderful. The pieces are a part of our history - both fashion history and social history. Moreover, there is a finite amount of it. Destroying something beautiful, historical and hard to find in order to satisfy the fickle tastes of now is irresponsible and short-sighted. Deconstructing it isn’t art – it is destruction. Upcycling isn’t improvement. And repurposing is frequently misused and misguided. Before you pick up your scissors, grab your glue and that bag full of random lace, think; is this item useable/wearable as it is? Can it be restored to wear/usability? If the answer is yes, then there’s no need for upcycling or other destructive measures. And there’s plenty of damaged vintage seconds you can work with instead.

If you love to create, look for components. Bits of jewelry. Broken clothing. Damaged d├ęcor. You can’t “repurpose” them – raw materials are intended to be used! But please, no more “upcycled” vintage gowns with the skirts chopped short, feathers glued on and cheap bedazzling. Believe me, in this green-minded buying culture, the pieces will still find a place with someone who will reuse them exactly as they are. Enjoy your eco-friendly collecting and crafting! Many thanks to Revival Fabrics for allowing me to share my thoughts.


Julie Bergmans
Fab Gabs Vintage Co.

Julie, thank you for your insightful thoughts. Nan
Readers, do you have thoughts about this subject?

Monday, October 04, 2010

Japanese Sewing and Pattern Terms

I love Japanese textiles and occaisonally come across sewing patterns or other sewing related printed materials. Knowing what the common sewing terms are in Japanese help.

If you need to translate Japanese patterns or sewing magazine, check this site

Thursday, September 23, 2010

September is National Sewing Month

We have a little over a week left of September, let's celebrate that last week and embrace our inner sewer!

September is National Sewing Month

There's even a really cool website devoted to sewing month:

"Official home of September is National Sewing Month co-sponsored by the Sewing & Craft Alliance and the American Sewing Guild"

Thursday, September 16, 2010

VIDEO: How to Sew a Straight Stitch by Hand

Sometimes I don't feel like using my sewing machine.

I just want to sew something quickly. Or I don't want to run to the fabric store for more sewing machine thread if I have just enough thread for a small project.

Sometimes I just want to whip out my sewing needle and thread.

Here's a useful video for days you want to be unplugged from the sewing machine

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

30% off orders 9/7 only! Coupon code on Twitter

Are you on Twitter? Follow revivalfabrics on Twitter to get the 30% off coupon code for your Revival Fabrics website order. Hurry though, the coupon code is only good through TODAY 9/7

Friday, September 03, 2010

Deal of the Day! on Facebook

Happy soon to be Labor Day weeekend to you!

Just as a friendly note, Revival Fabrics has a Deal of the Day

Every day I pick one special vintage fabric. You get a heavily discounted price for one day only.

Find the Deal of the Day on Revival Fabrics Facebook, or on the website.

Check out today's deal, it is a sumptuous, butter soft, vintage 1940s fine cotton muslin fabric.

Thursday, September 02, 2010

Five Things I Never Knew about Scissors

As I used my favorite pair of Fiskar sewing scissors yesterday, I wondered about the background of scissors. Here are a few interesting tidbits and knowldedge found on Wiki:

1) Scissors were invented by Leonardo da Vinci
2) You could find people in Japan playing rock-paper-scissors game in the 19th century
3) Scissors were probably invented in Egypt circa 1500 BC (hmmmm...see #1)
4) Buy sewing scissors at a fabric store and not an office supply store
5) Sewing scissors often have a sharp point blade and a blunt point blade

#4 and #5 are more "oh yeah, that's true" than never knew facts. #5 hit me as a truisim after I looked at my Fiskar scissors and realized that I hadn't thought about the blades after using sewing sewing scissors for years.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

In Love with this Ethereal MOD Retro Vintage Fabric

Ever find a vintage fabric that just "speaks" to you?

I love the tranquil, happy, calm design of this retro fabric. *Sigh*, the rolling flower power daisy hills; hills that you'd roll down in a fit of laughter with a best friend to see who could reach the bottom first.

12 uncut lovely yards available, of MOD Tree vintage fabric

Friday, July 16, 2010

List of Sewing Magazines

Here is a list of my favorite sewing magazines. Be sure to keep an eye on this list as it grows. Also on on this list are online sewing pattern websites that read like hardcopy glossy magazines.

Please add a comment and tell us about your favorite sewing magazine!

General sewing:

Threads Magazine - sewing magazine for many skill levels
SewNews - "the trusted sewing source"
SewStylish - fashion, crafts, Etsy features

Online sewing pattern websites:

VoguePatterns - designer sewing patterns
BurdaStyle - sewing patterns, free patterns, online community, featured projects
McCall Pattern - sewing patterns, sewing school

Handbag sewing:

Haute Handbags - beautiful photos, for the handbag designer and handbag fashionista

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Online fabric dictionary with photos

Just found: a really great online fabric dictionary with fabric photos. Need to know what drill, faille, or gauze looks like? Check this website out:

Fabric Photo-Dictionary Power Sewing

The Fabric Photo-Dictionary is a collection of pictures and definitions for Fabric types.

And speaking of faille fabric, this gorgeous vintage 1940s faille fabric with roses and paisley was just added to Revival Fabrics website.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

EVENT: Designers Needed for Boston Fashion Week

If you have an upcoming fashion, design, textile, antique or vintage event drop me an email. I'll post it here on the blog, Revival Fabrics Facebook and Revival Fabrics Twitter.

Here's an event for Boston designers

EVENT: Designers wanted for Boston Fashion Week

High Fashion Emerging Designers Wanted for Fashion Week Show: The Emerging Trends 2010 for Boston Fashion Week promises to bring the best Euro chic designers to the Boston market. In the last two years, we have worked with over 25 international and national designers, major sponsors, buyers and press and 30 photographers from Boston and New York giving extensive opportunity for emerging designers to shine. Spots are limited and we book months in advance. At the show, you will receive all models, hair, makeup, video clips, photos, buyers contact and networking opportunity at one of the biggest and prestigious shows in Boston. Over 600 fashion forward individuals come to our show and our designers are promoted to over 200k people via online and offline marketing.

For more info about our past show, please visit: or our promo video from last year:

About Us:
The SYNERGY Events ( uses very unique online and offline marketing strategies to produce themed events in both Boston and New York City, which have been covered by Boston Globe, Fashion Boston, Boston Common, Improper Bostonian, Boston Magazine & many other online and print publications. These special events present known, and soon to be talents with a great opportunity to introduce their exceptional work, while networking and enjoying other talents from around the world.

Contact Us:
Please send all contact details with your portfolio to:

Monday, June 14, 2010

Have an upcoming fashion, design, textile, antique or vintage event?

If you have an upcoming fashion, design, textile, antique or vintage event drop me an email. I'll post it here on Revival Fabrics blog.

Thanks! Nan

Saturday, June 05, 2010

Answer to the Win This Vintage Fabric Contest

The name of the red and white 1960s vintage fabric is:

"Whipped Creme" and also known as "Whipped Cream"

So called because the fabric has a subtle ripply, crepe appearance similar to whipped cream.

Thanks to entrants for entering the contest.

On Monday the fabric will be added to the website. More fun contests in the future!

Friday, June 04, 2010

Win a Vintage Fabric Contest Still On!

The contest to win the red and white polka dot vintage 1960s fabric is still on until tonight at 11:59 p.m.

I'll reveal the correct answer tomorrow, Saturday morning, if there isn't a winner.

TODAY'S HINT: the fabric name is two words. The first word starts with a "w"

Good luck! Let's have a winner!

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Can You Name This Vintage Fabric? Win It! Hurry!

Join in a fun contest to win a vintage fabric valued at $59

Do you know what this type of fabric was named in the 1960s?

Name this vintage non-stretch, fluidly draping polyester red and white polka dot fabric by Friday, June 4 and you win it! All three yards of it.

Leave your answer here, or over at Revival Fabrics Facebook page. If you are the first person to answer correctly by Friday 11:59 p.m., you win the fabric with shipping included.

Here are some hints:

* the name is a food that is sweet and yummy
* the fabric has a subtle crepe appearance
* its a fabric from the 1960s - 1970s
* a garment weight fabric

Game on!

Thursday, May 27, 2010

You Know a Fabric is Vintage Fabric If.......What Do You Know?

I thought it would be fun to share how you know a fabric is vintage. Let's share those random gems you've learned over time or discovered lately.

Here are a few things that I know.

You know a Fabric is Vintage Fabric If......

~ ...paperwork, receipts, and envelopes found with the fabric have addresses without zip codes. I just learned from Antiques Roadshow that most zip codes started in 1963

~ ...the fabric is a yard long and has little holes that curve around the corners at the ends, you have a vintage fabric feedsack. These little stitch holes are called "tenter holes"

~ ...the printed design has metallic gold, the fabric is likely from the 1950s

~ ...super bright, neon loud colors can be found on late 1960s retro fabrics

~ ...border prints were popular in the 1950s and sewn into skirts, curtains, and tablecloths

~ ...a color called "Old Rose" was used in 1940s fabrics, a similar color to mauve of the 1990s

...What do you know?

Friday, May 21, 2010

Original Label from Vintage 60s Moygashel Linen Fabric

It's always fabulous to find a vintage fabric with the original fabric label or fabric hangtag --- valuable information to add to your knowledge base of when a fabric was manufactured, and the manufacturer.

This vintage Irish Moygashel linen fabric came with the original label, letting us know with absolute certainty that it's from one of the finest linen manufacturers in the world.

I read online that Moygashel Linens was bought by Ulster Weavers Apparel from the Lamont Group in 2001.

Find this vintage Moygashel linen fabric, with the original label, is on Revival Fabrics website.

Also, be sure to check out the photos of vintage fabric labels, and vintage fabric hangtags on Revival Fabrics Facebook page.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Haute Handbags: A Magazine for Handbag Designers

Being a magazine junkie, I'm always on the lookout for new and interesting magazines.

I don't have Haute Handbags magazine in my hot little hands yet, I need to get a copy.

Handbag designers, have you looked at this magazine? Good? Bad? Useful?

Friday, May 07, 2010

OP Art - Optical Illusion - Retro Fabrics

Just in! and added on website are some really cool, and not so easy to find vintage optical illusion and OP Art fabrics from the 1960s.

Wikipedia has interesting information on OP Art, be sure to check it out.

Happy Friday to you and have a great weekend!

Monday, May 03, 2010

Crafty Project for Mother's Day

Need a crafty idea for Mother's Day?

Make a unique teacup pincushion out of vintage fabric --- and try your hand at the handmade greeting card as well.

Check out the easy instructions at Vintage Image Craft

Mother's Day is right around the corner!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Yardage! uncut vintage yardage just in

Happy Earth Day! Aren't you glad to know that as a fan of vintage fabric and textiles, you are keeping these pieces of history out of the landfills? I know that I am.

Just in on the website are some pretty cool vintage fabrics in uncut yardage.

Photo #1: 6 uncut yards of vintage VHY Von Hamm-Young sateen fabric
Photo #2: 8 uncut yards of vintage cowboy fabric - Ropin' Cowboy vintage cotton fabric
Photo #3: 9 uncut yards of vintage satin fabric - Roller Derby Flower Power
Photo #4: 6 uncut yards of vintage polyester fabric - Art Nouveau Woman
You don't see this type of uncut vintage yardage fabric prints every day

Thursday, April 15, 2010

VHY Hawaiian Textiles fabric - Von Hamm-Young hangtag


It's always exciting to find vintage fabrics with scarce, original hangtags still attached to the fabric. But wait! It gets even better! Also still attached is a paper label at one end of the fabric from the Japan Dyer's Inspection Institute Foundation.

Hawaiian fabric and textile collectors, you'll like this vintage circa 1950s - early 1960s VHY Hawaiian Textiles fabric ! It's a fabulous quality 100% cotton sateen fabric --- garment weight, smooth to the touch, with a dull luxurious luster appearance. This vintage Hawaiian fabric is offered on the website in an uncut 6 yard piece with the original Von Hamm-Young Hawaiian Textiles hangtag attached.

Have you ever wondered what VHY Hawaiian Textiles stands for when you see this printed on vintage Hawaiian fabric? It stands for Von Hamm-Young Hawaiian Textiles.

Gathered from the Hawaiian government website, some of the Von Hamm-Young corporations merged into or changed names to The Hawaii Corporation during the early 1960s to the early 1970s. If you find vintage Hawaiian fabric with THC on the selvage, you know it's a The Hawaii Corporation fabric from the early 60s - 70s.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Diane von Furstenberg and Gloria Vanderbilt - Only A Bit Naughty

After adding one of my favorite Gloria Vanderbilt vintage fabrics to the website, I wanted to walk a bit in her shoes, to discover some tidbits of what makes Vanderbilt tick.

Found on Youtube is a fabulous conversation between Diane von Furstenberg and Gloria Vanderbilt. The topic may seem a bit naughty, but isn't. I so appreciated the pure "woman-ness" that exudes from both women.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Gloria Vanderbilt Vintage Fabric

Oh how I love this vintage Gloria Vanderbilt fabric! It's been in my personal clutches for quite some time and I'm now offering it up to you on the website. Raise your yard stick if you are a vintage fabric pack rat --- yes, up high. That's me too and some vintage fabrics stick around with me longer than others before I put them on the website.

Gloria, I've enjoyed having you around. It's time for someone else to delight in the roses, hearts, dots, polished finish, summer colors, and seersucker texture of this fabric.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Just In! Many Vintage Novelty & Floral Fabrics

Keep an eye out on RevivalFabrics website, I recently found many really unique vintage cotton fabrics. Most are vintage cotton fabrics from the 1940s - 1950s, there are a few 1960s fabrics.

I'll add these fabrics to the website over the next month. Check out the vintage fabrics that I added today. I especially like the vintage fabric with yellow butterflies and purple background --- it's a stunning color combination.

More added soon!

Monday, February 08, 2010

Yardage - Vintage Cowboy Fabric - Get a Yard Free

I'm so excited to have a vintage cowboy fabric in uncut yardage, I'm extending the Deal of the Day!

I have 11 uncut yards of this 1940s - 1950s vintage cotton cowboy fabric. If you buy 10 yards, you'll receive the 11th yard free.

Very rarely will you find vintage cowboy or novelty fabric in this kind of yardage. It's also sold by the yard, if you don't need the full yardage.

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Valentine's Day Vintage Fabric - Cool Sepia Colors

Here's a fun vintage 1973 cotton fabric just in time for Valentine's Day!

In this vintage fabric you'll find bears holding hearts that say "This Bears My Love for You." Cute, yes?

Not only is this an awesome design, the date of 1973 is on the selvage. This is a Klopman Mills Burlington retro fabric.

My grandmother used to hand tint family photos. If you compare a hand tinted photo (photo from Wikimedia) to the bears in this fabric, you'll notice a resemblance in the wonderfully rich sepia tones and colors.

Happy early Valentine's Day to you.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Handbag Designers : A Competition You Need to Enter

If I were still designing handbags, The Independent Handbag Designer Awards would be one competition I'd be interested in.

The event is held on June 16th, 2010 in New York and has some high profile sponsors, great prizes, recognition, and if your handbag wins it will go on a press tour.

Submissions are accepted until April 15, 2010. Independent handbag designers, you can do it, and you may just win!

Monday, January 11, 2010

Deal of the Day!

Be sure to check the NEW Deal of the Day! on

Check out today's Deal of the Day!

I'm offering a great daily deal on vintage fabrics and retro fabrics that could be:

* a great price for the day on a fabric
* buy a yard get a yard free
* who knows what other kind of steal or deal it could be! You have to check the Deal of the Day to find out.

Don't forget to check back on often, the Deal of the Day will change often.

Thursday, January 07, 2010

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Full Bolt of Retro Fabric - Buy the Bolt get 1 yard free!

I sure get stoked when I find a full bolt of retro fabric and vintage fabric ! It's much more common to find fabric remnants in 3 - 5 yard pieces.

On Revival Fabrics right now is 11 uncut yards of retro fabric on the original Everfast cardboard bolt. I'm offering the 11th yard free if you buy 10 yards. In this economy, I want my designing and sewing friends to have all the help they can get. (The discount will automatically apply upon checkout. The fabric is also sold by the yard, if you don't need 11 yards)

This vintage fabric is quality, reflected in the original $4.00 per yard price sticker on the end of the bolt --- quite high for it's time in the 1960s - 1970s. And also cool to find original sticker prices.

Printed on the selvage of the fabric is Everfast Fabrics, Inc.

Everfast was known in it's time as a manufacturer of deeply dyed fabrics with colors not prone to fade in the sun or in the wash.

If you are an independent designer, and have a large order from one of your buyers, you certainly could make many handbags, purses, jackets, pillows, or tablecloths from this authentic retro fabric.