A Fabric Encyclopedia

by A Few Threads Loose on June 14, 2013 · 6 comments

in Notions,Vintage Sewing

Hello all,
The fabrics called for on the backs of our vintage patterns are sometimes a complete mystery to us. What the heck is sharkskin? Why on earth am I supposed to sew my bathing suit from it? For a long time now I’ve been consulting all of my vintage sewing books and patterns to put together a comprehensive vintage fabric encyclopedia.

It’s rather large or I would post it here. You can find the complete encyclopedia on my blog A Few Threads Loose.

I hope many of you find it useful for your future vintage sewing projects!

This post was written by...

– who has written 29 posts on WeSewRetro.com.

I'm just a military wife who is crazy about sewing, crazy about vintage lingerie, and REALLY crazy about sewing vintage lingerie.

A Few Threads Loose's posts / A Few Threads Loose's website

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Allison June 14, 2013 at 9:02 am

If you have a good resource for dating fabrics, please post it here! I have many old quilt pieces and wish I could accurately tell what decade the prints or colors might be from.


Caroline June 14, 2013 at 9:34 am

You are the BEST!!!!!!


Laura After Midnight June 14, 2013 at 10:50 am

This is great! Thanks so much!! I am an avid collector of Vintage Sewing Terms, and the fabrics listed on the back of Patterns are so very out of left field sometimes!!
I have recently started a Zine series called ‘Notions’ which is exploring the often forgotten and ”proper” terms/techniques in Vintage publications and patterns. Being a Costume Designer resources to help me figure out what they might be are sometimes a little more readily available however; this Encyclopaedia helps enormously!!
Thank you xxx


Lelie June 14, 2013 at 1:23 pm



Erika June 15, 2013 at 4:56 pm

Very helpful, as usual, Anna!


Tina June 16, 2013 at 7:46 pm

Thank you for the great list. It will come in handy.


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