Tuesday, 20 August 2013

Fall for Cotton

A couple of days ago, Rochelle of Lucky Lucille and Tasha of By Gum, By Golly announced their latest sewalong: a joint endeavour called Fall For Cotton. It's a fairly open sewalong, with the only rules being that participants use a vintage pattern ('20s to '70s) and that the fabric used must be 100% cotton.


I really enjoyed Rochelle's last sewalong, Sew For Victory, so I've decided to put my name in for this one too. Having had some time to consider, I think I've settled on what I'm going to make. As I already sew frequently with vintage patterns, and with pure cotton fabrics, I wanted to up my game a little for this. Taking part in a sewalong always seems to demand more effort of me than my normal sewing would. Not a bad thing. I've decided to make my first ever garment using vintage fabric! Properly old vintage fabric, anyway. With the exception of making dolls' clothes with my nanna's scrap fabrics as a kid, I don't think I've ever knowingly used vintage fabric for anything.

A few months ago I bought 4 yards of a blue and red on white printed check fabric for next to nothing. The photo in the listing was terrible and out of focus, but I decided to take the gamble based on what I could make out and the low price. When it arrived it was actually very pretty, but also very grotty! I can't decide how old it even is. It's only 27" wide, so OLD. That's for certain. I'm thinking 1940s or maybe even '30s. What do you all think? The weave is quite coarse and a little uneven in places, so I wonder if it was hand-loomed or just low quality. The latter is a possibility if it was produced during wartime, I suppose. I don't really have enough experience with vintage textiles to be sure though.

So, on to washing. The whole length had spots and stains and little rusty marks on it, and had that typical old smell that always puts me in mind of the inside of the cupboards at my Nanna's house when I was a kid. I dunked it in a bucket of warm water and oxy stain removal powder, and this was the result after two minutes' gentle swishing:

Gross, I think you'll agree. Two more buckets and a soak later, followed by a good rinse with clean water, and I hung it out in the sun for a few hours. Most of the stains have come out, except for a few spots on the worst area (pictured above), and it's also a lot softer now the starch has all been washed out. It's certainly a lot brighter at least!

So, looks like the fabric's a goer! The next important question: what pattern am I using?

This one:

I bought this one a few months back and have been saving it for my Autumn wardrobe. I'll be making it up in a polycotton check first to test it and find out any fit issues before cutting my precious vintage fabric. It's a very rare thing that I find decent yardage of vintage fabrics that I can afford, so I don't want to waste it!

And yes, I'm very susceptible to influence from pattern illustrations regarding fabric choice, heh.

You can join in and keep track of everyone's makes for the sewalong via the Flickr group.


  1. Love the fabric and the pattern! Can't wait to see how it comes out! :)

  2. What great choices! I've also signed up and will be starting my test very soon.

    1. Ooh, good. Will you be posting in the flickr group, Claire?

  3. Ooh looks like you've got a great combo there! What a great vintage fabric find!

    1. Thank you. I'm a little nervous of cutting into it!