Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Okay. Yes, I know it has been a while since I posted. Well, it's been a bumpy year. One I never, ever, ever saw coming. But life is long and life can be very hard. My empathy grows with every passing day for anyone with struggles or loves someone with struggles. I am not exempt and hopefully, happier times are forthcoming for all. That's all I'm going to say about that. Thank you for reading.

Now let's get on with the fun stuff.  One of my favorite things is browsing the pages of an old catalog - specifically old fabric in old catalogs.  Yard goods were everywhere from JC Penney to  Montgomery Ward to Sears Roebuck to Bloomingdale's.  Looking at old catalogs gives me clues in dating patterns and fabrics that are older than I am, but what happened last week has never happened before!

I found an exact fabric that I own!
Not once.
Not twice.
And in the same catalog!  
Enter the Sears 1953 spring catalog.  

Looking at some printed percales,
I spied the bright chevron in the middle and couldn't believe it.
I had it upstairs in my sewing room!

It was 36" wide and I thought perhaps it was from the late 60s.
WRONG!  1953!

Next I saw this barkcloth drapery fabric and I gasped, "I got that!"

Here's the proof in "Sunshine Yellow."

The last match was nothing short of a revelation and an education!   I had these two pieces of a very weird fabric that were buried in a box of vintage yardage that I bought at an estate sale.  In all my experience, I had never seen such a fabric.  Ever.  

It looked like a sheer seersucker or plissé, but felt like paper.

After burning a bit of it and watching it sizzle and drip,
I knew it was synthetic.

Truthfully, I considered it an abomination,
thinking the only possible use for it would be some kind
of artistic expression with it's papery, synthetic weird crispness.
Like bunch it up into a gigantic strange flower - it would hold the shape.

I thought surely it was an invention of the 70s.
One that failed and disappeared quickly.
I was right, but off by two decades!
Re-enter the 1953 Sears Catalog.

 Puckered nylon.  What?

And as you can see by the next year's catalog,
it was marked down and already heading
for the obsolescence graveyard.

There's always more to learn,


  1. Kathy, thanks so much for posting pictures from your vintage catalog! You're right, an invaluable resource for dating fabrics.
    I came across some of that strange papery puckered fabric at the antique mall not too long ago. I didn't buy it cause I wasn't sure what it was. Lol
    I'm sorry you've had a rough year...it's been a difficult one here, too. Wishing smoother days ahead for both of us. :)


    1. Thanks for your kind words, Kimberly. Yes, let's bring on the good karma for better days to come. And sometime you'll have to tell me phonetically how to pronounce your last name. I'm quite sure the way I'm pronouncing it in my head is all wrong. p.s. I am days away from finally opening that fabric shop on Etsy. Maybe I'm changing my mind about selling the puckered nylon!

  2. You have great fabrics! I'll keep my eye on your shop. :)
    And my last name is pronounced like the relative "niece"...just a very German spelling.

  3. Oh boy, I was making that way more difficult than I needed to. Thanks!


Lemon tree very pretty, and the lemon flower is sweet-
But the fruit of the poor lemon is impossible to eat.

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