Stash Report

When I bought a box of fabric at an auction a while back there was a individual bag of fabric in the box.  I set the bag aside thinking that I wanted to give it a good look at a later date as what I saw from the outside, I loved.


The fabrics are somehow different.  I don’t really know how to explain it.  The colors are SO much more vibrant.  They don’t really feel like a feed sack fabric but not quite like modern quilting cotton.  Although I am sure they are cotton.

Here’s a closer up picture of the fabrics once the package was opened.

Do any of you have any idea or more information on the fabric?
The entire gallon bag Ziplock is stuff to the top but I’m still not sure if that would be enough fabric for a quilt.

I know…I know…if I didn’t always make GIANT quilts there would be enough for a quilt.

I’m hoping one of you who is smart about dating fabric might know more about it and maybe I could find a few cuts on ebay or something.    If nothing else, I’d just like to learn more about it.  Best of all…it’s not musty smelling.  So please one of you fabric sleuths, tell me more!!

42 thoughts on “Stash Report

  1. Judith Fairchild

    Looks like the fifties cotton patterns. I had a bright yellow poodle skirt made from a similar fabric

  2. Carol Lorraine Stearns

    It does look 50s /60’s to me also. That red/white check on bottom right with daisies on it, daisies were popular in the 60’s. On the other hand, could be 30’s. I have a friend who is a quilt appraiser. I might send her your blog and see if she can put a light to it. I think I would cut the whole lot into same size squares and make a trip around the world or just sew the squares together for a fun baby quilt.

  3. Judy in MO

    I’m thinking 70’s also. I’m especially looking at that blue eagle print. Remember the nation’s bicentennial in 1976? There were lots of patriotic prints. I had some eagle print wallpaper in my living room.

  4. Chris Wells

    I sold fabric in the 70’s and they were prints pre quilt craze time. Many are more than likely VIP from Cranston. They are no longer in business.

  5. Mary

    Yes , these are prints from the 70’s. Cotton fabric was hard to find, not much available. I made a tree skirt (that I still have and love) using some of these exact fabrics.

  6. Lori

    I remember buying fabric similar to your when I was in high school, think 1970 – 1976. I still remember purchasing it at Ben Franklin.

  7. Sue Bowles

    I would say 70’s to 80’s also. I made maternity tops, stuffed animals, and curtains out of similar fabrics during those years.

  8. Sharon Malone

    70’s and early 80’s I’m thinking. I still have a few pieces from that era that look very similar. Not sure they are 100% cotton though. Lot of fabric from that time were 50/50 cotton/polyester. This may sound crazy but I have found that if there is polyester in a fabric, when it is ironed there is a distinct odor from the polyester that is not noticeable in a 100% cotton fabric. Also, the colors tend to be brighter.

  9. Ranch Wife

    I don’t know about the fabric, but I know that under your hands and needle, it’s going to be a wonderful quilt! I’d probably add some solids or neutrals and let the amount of fabric I had dictate the size of the quilt. Can’t wait to see what you do with it!

  10. Sally

    Whatever era it came from, lucky you to have found it! I’m here in Oregon wanting to touch all of those pretty prints!

  11. Patricia Boelens

    I’m thinking 70’s also and those fabrics are a much looser weave than current quilting fabrics. They would still make a nice smaller quilt, but be prepared for it to shrink considerably when washed due to the thread count.

  12. gayle

    I had some of those fabrics – I especially recognize a green that I bought at Woolworth’s to make Barbie clothes in the mid-60’s. Several others were bought in the late 60’s and early 70’s and ended up in my quilts and quilt stash. (There’s a red and yellow print in that last photo that I used in a quilt I cut most of the pieces for in 1975)
    And your description of the feel of them sounds right for what was available for ‘calico’ back then – before the quilt craze got going in the wake of the Bicentennial.

  13. Beth

    Hey Jo – I do not know what era this fabric is from – but I immediately thought “calico”. When I googled, I found some fabrics that looked similar so if you decide you need a few more – that might be a good starting point. Good Luck – I am sure it will be great!

  14. Dot

    I used to have several of those fabrics, until I had to leave my stash behind 6 months ago, for a cross-country move. (Sigh! I miss my stash!) I also think they’re from the 70s, and are by Cranston Print Works. They should be 100% cotton, but you can always check for polyester with a burn test.

  15. Lois

    I think 70’s also. I started quilting then and it looks familiar. Hard to believe it was so many years ago and considered “old” now.

  16. Linda in NE

    I recognize some of those prints and I had them way back when. I’m going to say early to mid-1970s. I probably still have a few stray pieces of some of them left in my stash.

  17. Candy

    These look very similar to the scraps I took to my first quilt class (late 70’s, I think), when I knew nothing about quilts or quilting! They were scraps from sundresses I made for my daughters … probably poly/cotton. We made a variety of small quilted projects. I still have a cushion cover I made with those scraps in a Dresden Plate design. I wish I still had the “puff” quilt tote bag I made (and actually used) … wow, that was ugly! We also made a little Cathedral Window wall hanging, a potholder, a sample of a quilt-as-you-go log cabin, and various other items. Your ‘new’ fabrics would make a cute baby quilt!

  18. Linddylou

    Hi Jo, Just wondering where you have your quilt books made with spiral spines.
    Enjoy all the quilts you make and the ones your going to make. I have so many ideas that my hands can’t sew as fast as my mind.
    Keep stitching
    Linddylou

  19. Bernadette

    The prints would look very good paired off with white in HST or shashing. That would add more fabric to make a bigger quilt. Should be pretty to see them all together. Have fun, Jo, coming up with a pattern.

  20. Virginia Grenier

    Oh that bag of fabrics sure brings back memories. They look like the fabrics my mom used to make shirts for me when I was little. I was born in 1964, so, I’d say that they are probably from the late 60’s or early 70’s.

    Virginia
    Clearbrook MN

  21. Pattypiecer

    I am not sure about the fabric. But I must tell you I made that cheesy ham soup today and my family thought it was delicious. Thanks so much for the recipe. I am going to try the ham and scalloped potatoes next.

  22. Sue Bowles

    Linddylou, you can get your books spiral bound at Staples for $5. I have done it with some of my Bonnie Hunter books and a sewing machine instruction book.

  23. Tonia

    We had fabric in the 70’s and 80’s called kettle cloth–a cotton poly that wore like iron. I use it in my mixed up quilt strips and what have you and it doesn’t seem to hurt anything and the colors never fade! Out of curiosity–someone–Sally? said they were from Oregon. How many Oregonians are out there following Jo? Count me as one!

  24. Janet Beyea

    Sears catalog had cotton fabric, 36” wide, that looked just like these prints. I have used up my last scrap of the fabric. I think my mother bought it in the late 1950’s or early 1960’s. I think that all calicos were 40” wide in the 70’s.

  25. Linda

    Fabric is from the late 70’s and early 80’s… I agree. I also seem to remember it being 36 inches wide?

  26. Gladie

    As many have mentioned…60’s and 70’s fabrics.
    Peter Pan fabrics (owned by Henry Glass,,does that sound familiar in today’s fabrics?) was a common manufacturer as well as VIP. I remember paying almost $3 a yard for some VIP calico (Cranston) in 1972. A scary amount of money at the time.
    Marcus Brothers in New York began in 1911 and changed their name to Marcus Fabrics in 2007.
    Cranston Print Works (Rhode Island Co) has a centuries long history in New England. In 1920 it was named Cranston Print Works.
    Spring Mills, a Massachusetts based mill, began in 1850 and still makes fabric today.
    FYI I have several pieces of this type of fabric…some in yardage.

  27. Betty Isaac

    Hello from the cold frozen north (Canada) If you burn a snippet of fabric with a match and the ashes are soft and fluffy it usually means the fabric is cotton. If it is hard and crunchy it usually means it is polyester.I know if this is a universal rule.

  28. Mary Jo B.

    Jo – the feel of the fabric might just be the sizing that is sometimes added when it is manufactured.
    If it is older fabric, the type of sizing might be different from today.

    Congrats of the 4 year anniversary of the house! There can’t be much left to do. Although I don’t believe that we’ve seen the basement. :>)

  29. Amy Walter

    I made my first (tied) quilt out of these fabrics. My mom, who really wasn’t a sewer, made Raggedy Ann dolls for her 4 daughters & many of her nieces. She bought quite a number of these prints for the doll dresses. I cut the scraps into 3-1/2” squares & sewed them into a twin size quilt. I still have the quilt. This was way before rotary cutters. I drew around a cardboard square to mark the cutting line & cut the squares out with scissors. We used my great grandmother’s treadle sewing machine. I wish I had that machine.
    Thanks for bringing back such great memories.
    I love following your blog.

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