• Tara Deighton

Perfect Fabrics for the Vintage Seamtress

One of the challenges for the dressmaker wishing to create a vintage inspired reproduction wardrobe is finding the right fabrics. Have you ever stood in front of a rail of gorgeous dresses from the 1930s and 1940s and marvelled at the beautiful prints and colours? And when you run your hand along them, you feel the weight and texture and the magical, wonderful cold kiss of the material under your fingers? You simply don’t get this with modern fabric and genuine vintage fabrics from days gone by are, sadly, a dwindling supply.

I have a recurring dream where I find a warehouse that has been shut since 1947 and I’m the first one to walk through the doors after decades. There I find bolts and bolts of beautiful untouched cloth and I am allowed to take my pick… but maybe that just makes me weird. The fantasy certainly makes me very happy but, like all good fantasies, very unlikely to happen.


So where to find modern fabrics that are a good substitute? Here are my recommendations for the Vintage seamstress……

One of my favourite fabrics for getting that vintage Tea dress look is a Viscose and most particularly a Rayon. Developed in the 1800's and coming into it's own as a silk substitute from the 1920's onward, that gorgeous cold and heavy weight Rayon is perfect for achieving the Vintage look. You just have to be careful about prints and colours, so I recommend doing lots of research ~ Pinterestland is perfect for this! {You can find my research here}. You can't beat a good crepe for vintage style texture either!


Fabric Godmother has a lovely selection of vintage inspired Viscose Crepes and Twills, both patterned and plain and they are a beautiful quality. A recent collaboration with the Print Pattern Archive has seen the reproduction of some stunning vintage prints in more vintage style fabric finishes ~ Perfection!

Madison Viscose Twill - Multi | Fabric Godmother


I treated myself to a couple of metres of this ~ It's GLORIOUS! I'll be making an updated version of my Lana Tea dress for Spring and I'm so excited to see it made up into a treasured item in my vintage inspired wardrobe.



Jackie Viscose Lawn - Pink | Fabric Godmother


This would make a beautiful blouse or Summer skirt! I might need this one too!







Hana Viscose Twill - Black | Fabric Godmother


Anyone who knows me, knows of my deep love of dark florals! And this one, is stunning!








I have recently stumbled across Rainbow Fabrics Kilburn and they have some fabulous viscoses and crepes at incredibly reasonable prices with vintage style prints. They sell out fast so it's worth checking regularly and buying when you fall in love ~ I've missed out on some beauties as I tend to think awhile before I buy and have been disappointed.


Pink/Blush Floral Viscose Challis


I bought myself this lovely pink flower on black background drapey fabric and want to make a long sleeved version of Butterick B528, which is a favourite vintage reproduction pattern from 1946.













Red/White Floral Party Viscose


Another dark floral, unsurprisingly! How gorgeous is this mix of red, white and blush pink florals on a black background?!














Black/Green/Blue Floral Viscose Challis


I basically want to make everything in this for my Summer wardrobe!









Another favourite of mine is Missy Mop Fabrics run by my lovely friend Nicki. She has an amazing eye for textiles and her sustainably sourced collection of deadstock, vintage and ex- designer fabrics is a real treat for the avid seamstress!

Emma Floral Viscose | Missy Mop Fabrics


I have this in a satin and am making myself a 1940s inspired house dress in which to enjoy a more glamorous lockdown.


Delicate Floral on Black Base | Missy Mop Fabrics


Such a beautiful and classic vintage inspired print. It would make a gorgeous blouse with billowing sleeves.



Remnant Jessica- Ditsy Floral /250 cm | Missy Mop Fabrics


So pretty and so 1930s! I love this one and it would make a stunning tea dress for picnicking in!




I hope you've enjoyed this round up of some of my favourite online fabric vendors and my vintage inspired picks from them? If you have recommendations for other excellent sources of vintage inspired fabrics, do let me know! My hunger for fabric is never really satisfied, like all committed fabric addicts and I love to support independent businesses that are as passionate about cloth as I am!


I hope you're keeping warm, well and as happy as you can!


Love, Tara x









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