I love reproduction shirting prints, the ones with white/light/cream backgrounds with small motifs repeated across the fabric. I buy a fat quarter or more when I see them and can't resist taking them home. My love of shirting prints also includes the ones used to made men's shirts these days. (Sitting in church a little over a year ago I noticed a young father wearing a shirt with a wonderful print on it. It took a lot of self control not to ask him for it when he was finished it with.) I sometimes find shirts with those tiny prints at the thrift stores and bring them home. I've learn to take a needle with me to test a shirt's worthiness to be hand quilted.
These are current-day shirting prints from a few of the men's shirts I've found. I think they are fun and useful for some kinds of quilts.
These fabrics below, with flowery prints instead of tiny repeats, come from women's shirts and blouses. I believe a few of them are lawn, perhaps Liberty of London fabric, but they weren't marked so I can't know for sure.
And these next four are not from clothing but from sheets or pillowcases. Some sheeting fabric is too densely woven to hand quilt but the needle went through these easily.
It's probably a little unorthodox to buy thrift store clothing for quilting fabric (though I know some other quilters who do, too) but it seems like I'm following a long tradition of women repurposing clothing for other uses. It feels thrifty to me. I can get the equivalent of several fat quarters in one shirt for less than the cost of one fat quarter at the quilting shop. Fabric for clothing is not like fabric made specifically for quilting; the texture may be different and the quality is not the same -- sometimes even better and the colors even faster, other times not. So I admit I have to be careful in my choices or I can bring home some duds.
What about you? Do you use fabric from thrift store finds? Do you look for particular kinds or styles or colors of fabric? Do you have a good success rate using them?
Oh how I love your collection of shirting. Wonderful finds--and the depth of your collection made it possible for you to rescue me when I was making Blue Baskets, and couldn't find block on white shirtings. Also your Liberty blouse fabrics are a delight.ReplyDelete
I too buy thrifted shirts and skirts sometimes, for my quilts. My collection runs towards plaids, esp the lovely Ralph Lauren plaid cottons. But since I have known you and seen your finds, I now look with new eyes. And find lovely shirts.
If only we / or I/ could go thrifting again. Soon I hope.
Thank you, LIzzy. The modern shirtings are usually pretty different from the reproduction ones but still offer light backgrounds and some variety. I had forgotten that I sent you fabric for your blue baskets, and I didn't include any of those in these photos.Delete
I buy plaids, too, but I don't think I've come across Ralph Lauren plaids yet. I'll have to keep a lookout for them. I'm sure they are wonderful.
I've been out and about to the thrift stores for a while now, always wearing a mask and always sanitizing my hands after I leave. I hope we can get back to something close to the old normal soon!
I think these fabrics/prints are just terrific. Versatile and sweet. I have never specifically bought clothing to use in quilting, but I love incorporating fabric from my husband's or son's shirts, here and there. When I move back to the U.S., I will think about "thrifting for fabric" - I think it's a terrific idea.ReplyDelete
You're so lucky your husband and son will give up their shirts, Cynthia. Whenever I eye and comment on one of my husband's shirts he's positive I'm going to take it and cut it up. I have cut up a few of his shirts but they're ones that either no longer fit or have worn areas. In fact, he doesn't even notice when they're gone.Delete
i have bought thrift store shirts after verifying they are 100% cotton and find that they work up nicely....ReplyDelete
Oh, yes, Grace, cotton is a must. Except I occasionally buy cotton/linen blend shirts if the needle goes through easily and they seem in good shape.Delete
You've been collecting diligently and must have some outstanding thrift shops near you as those shirtings are pretty amazing. I especially love the lovely pastel florals. We don't have many thrift stores around here and sadly the ones we've visited didn't have the best quality for reuse in a quilt. A couple ladies in our quilt ministry have come up with some pretty amazing sheets for quilt backs though.ReplyDelete
Thank you, Pat. It seems like these days I come away from thrift stores empty-handed more often than not. I especially like the florals, too. They are perfect for some quilts.Delete
I have found two sheets that are not too dense for hand quilting but have not used either yet. In fact, my daughter is using one on her bed. But I keep looking!
You have a nice collection of prints! I don't do a lot of thrift shopping, but I'm not against using fabric from clothing for quilts--especially plaids since those are so hard to find in quilt shops lately. I don't think there is anything wrong with using them--I'm pretty sure that's how scrappy quilts were invented--as a way to use those precious fabrics!ReplyDelete
Thank you, Karen. Oh, yes, plaids are really hard to find in the shops, though I've seen some while looking online, more now than a few years ago. It's hard to tell how they'll be if you can't feel them, though. I've noticed it's also hard to find plaid shirts that don't have white in them.Delete
You're probably right that's how scrappy quilts were invented. You can see it in some of the antique quilts.
There are some great prints in the men's shirts. I think being thrifty is always important in quilting.ReplyDelete
I agree, Robin. New fabric seems so expensive these days. I first started using shirts when a pattern I wanted to make used plaids and I couldn't find any in the stores. I'm so grateful for thrift stores!Delete
I absolutely love to gather thrift store shirts--mostly plaids and stripes, but I have been known to pick up a print now and then. And my daughters have donated a few of their husbands' shirts on occasion--and hubby has sacrificed one or two. I think I have scared a particular grandson because he wears a shirt I would love to cut up, and I have told him so a few times. LOLReplyDelete
Oh, yes, the plaids are wonderful, Janet. Perhaps your grandson will give you the shirt when he's finished? Like you with your grandson, I occasionally comment on shirts my husband is wears. He tells me he's afraid they will disappear. I think he tries to hide them. Sometimes the plaids are just too good to resist. Here in Ohio thrift stores it seems that plaid shirts are less prevalent than they were 6 or 8 years ago.Delete