Vintage Fabric Inquiry

by Mkonieczki on March 21, 2013 · 23 comments

in Vintage Sewing

Hello! I’m currently working to get my supplies and materials organized. Most recently, I tackled my fabric stash. I have some pieces of vintage fabric I’d LOVE to know more about. I thought your collective knowledge might be the best way to get some direction,  information and answers.

.These fabrics are all marked, Peter Pan Fabrics, Inc on the selvedges. From what I can determine, they’re cotton. They’re also incredibly light weight and semi-sheer. In addition to being printed, they’re textured.  The lines, or in some cases, grids are raised.

I’ve tried to do some research online to see if I could find more information about them, but there doesn’t seem to be a lot available. Based on what I was able to find, Peter Pan Fabrics, Inc. did file a series of copyright infringement suits against several clothing manufacturers, starting in 1960. And, it appears, they may still produce quilting cottons today.

I’ve found some listings on Etsy and Ebay selling fabric boasting the same maker’s mark, but they’re all flat finished, and heavier.  I’m pretty positive these aren’t quilting cotton, but I can’t say for sure.  Is there a name or classification for textured fabrics like this? Do you have similar fabric in your stash? Do share! I’d love to know more about them. If you have any leads, please leave them in the comments here or on my blog 

I really appreciate your help on this one! You’re the best.

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{ 23 comments… read them below or add one }

Anna March 21, 2013 at 11:44 am

I know of Peter Pan Fabrics. I don’t know if they’re still in business, but they were quite prominent once, I think in the 60s and 70s, but I don’t know how far back they go. These fabrics have the appearance of a cotton voile? They have the sheerness. It’s a bit difficult to tell without being able to feel it and see it in person, but that would be my guess. I also would wonder if they could be a cotton/poly mix? Anyway, I hope this may help a little.


Mkonieczki March 21, 2013 at 12:40 pm

Thanks Anna! That does help. Thanks for sharing your knowledge. :-D


LittleBlackCar March 21, 2013 at 12:09 pm

They’re not quilting cotton. I know very little about fabrics but I do know that. It wouldn’t make sense to have sheer quilting fabric because you’d just see the batting, and it wouldn’t hold up to use.

This and this suggest that they are now owned by Henry Glass Fabrics, if that’s the same Peter Pan Fabrics.


Mkonieczki March 21, 2013 at 12:41 pm

Good point. I, obviously, don’t quilt. That makes total sense now that I think about it.


Anne March 21, 2013 at 12:10 pm

I remember Peter Pan Fabrics very well…my best guess is that you have some lovely dimity cotton, probably 1960′s by the prints. You could do burn tests to determine fabric content. However, I believe that mills began putting chemical finishes on 100% cotton fabric (sold for home sewing) from the 1940′s, to reduce the need for ironing. That could affect your burn test results, and make your 100% cotton dimity behave more like a blended fiber fabric.
They’re beautiful fabrics–hope you find the time to make something lovely with them!


Mkonieczki March 21, 2013 at 12:47 pm

Interesting point about the chemical finishes. I didn’t know that. Dimity definitely seems like a real possibility now that I’m searching that term. I’m learning a lot today. :-D


Peggy Jennings March 21, 2013 at 12:35 pm

I second the vote on cotton dimity. Probably intended for curtains, or maybe a ruffled skirt around a vanity. Could be used for a semi sheer blouse under which you would be wearing a lovely full slip (which would have been the equivalent of a camisole today). Very pretty. Probably just 36″ wide, right? That would help date it as well.


Mkonieczki March 21, 2013 at 12:51 pm

Cool! Thanks. They’re all “45 wide.


Laura D March 21, 2013 at 12:43 pm

Interesting. Because I have some fabric that looks almost just like that… only with different flowers on it… that I picked up at a yard sale


Mkonieczki March 21, 2013 at 12:52 pm

Neat! What does your print look like?


Jamie "ChatterBlossom March 21, 2013 at 2:53 pm

How interesting. I’m not very helpful but I really love that first one’s color on the floral print. Very pretty. Hope you find out more!


Valerie March 21, 2013 at 7:29 pm

i remember these fabrics–from the early 70s. A friend of mine made a spring prom dress with them (lined of course). They are dress/blouse weight, and are pretty for garments that have gathering or ruffles. Of course they could be used for informal curtains. Wash first to see if they shrink.


Elle March 22, 2013 at 9:54 am

No, not meant for vanity skirts (although you could). I second Valerie’s description. 45″ is from early- to mid-1970s. I have one original to my stash from 1972 that is very close to your third pic. Cotton or cotton-polyester (we all wanted new “no-iron” fabrics by 1965!) striped voile. Interestingly, I do not recall the flowery prints coming in any colors other than pinks & reds. Maybe they did and I didn’t notice.

These were for the summery “babydoll” or “peasant” style blouses and dresses of the early ’70s, such as these:

I own 4098. Made it in view C in white cotton. Still want to make view B. :-)


Brooke March 22, 2013 at 10:30 pm

Beautiful fabrics! They may be printed muslin – I’ve been working on an opera costume that is made from 19th century style printed muslin (still made the old way by a company in England) and the fabric looks very similar in weight and even has the lines running through it. Here are a couple photos I posted on Twitter. (The fabric is underlined with a less sheer fabric so you can’t really see the sheerness in the photos.)


Millie Jaggard March 23, 2013 at 9:01 am


These are beautiful examples of a fabric that is called dimity. You have some lovely pieces. This fabric is today quite espensive. It was used for children’s clothes and womens’ summer frocks. My mother had a beautiful yellow dimity dress that I can remember because we were in a field and a grasshopper jumped on her dress skirt and left a grass juice stain which never came out of the dress – it was ruined.

This was a favorite fabric for small girl’s full skirted dresses and pinafores. It would be perfect in a vintage pattern of that type.

I always enjoy reading about other’s retro sewing – since I am 73 years old, this is not retro to me! Happy sewing.


Mrs Leapheart March 27, 2013 at 11:40 pm

Ah Millie, you made me have a memory! The grasshopper story reminded me of Granny telling me that the juice in the grasshopper’s mouth was because he chewed tobacco.


carole schoonover March 30, 2013 at 8:17 pm

0′s believe it it cotton batiste I am 70 and I used it a lot in the 60′s for childrens clothes and summer dresses COTTON BATISTE is te correct name. G !!


Tookie Clothespin April 7, 2013 at 4:46 pm

In the 70′s, I made a maxi dress out of fabric #1. Very Springy and pretty.


Jann Gaston June 29, 2013 at 2:20 pm

I have some of the same as #3 and a couple other ones in different prints. They were bought at a store I worked at in the early 70′s and I believe the fabric is cotton/polyester blend. I do not recall carrying any fabric titled ‘voile’ or ‘batiste’ or ‘dimity’-those were way ‘old fashioned’ fabrics by the 70′s….so technically not this, but like it, and way before the rage for ‘all cotton’ fabrics began. It is definitely not iron free because a dress made for my daughter 25 years ago needed to be ironed. The fabric must have a finish on it because it is much limper after washing. The store’s name was “Daytex Fabrics” and was in College Hill, Ohio, near Cincinnati, Ohio.


Tisha August 19, 2013 at 6:33 am

I just bought a set of fabrics similar to this with the texturing and I do believe asset least one of them was Peter Pan fabrics. Are you selling yours? I have many yards of mine I would love to sell.


Nancy October 19, 2013 at 3:39 pm

I have some Peter Pan Fabric. It is a deep rick purple with purple flowers. It’s light weight but not sheer. Can it be from the 60′s or 70′s and 100% cotton?


Brandon May 17, 2014 at 10:41 am

genuine Peter Pan Fabrics have been around since the late 1800-early 1900′s. I have an original sizing chart wood framed tin sign with a manufacturers date at the bottom right that says 1918. Very old company pre everything mentioned, just thought i’d throw that one out there, thanks


Victoria June 9, 2014 at 3:33 pm

Sheer, textured fabric such as yours is called “dimity”, at least the ones with the lines going through like stripes. I have some of the same fabric! Love vintage!


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