Dating fabrics by eileen trestain

This particular fabric may ring a bell or evoke childhood memories for those of you who are familiar with these dolls.Regardless of its quality, lawn organdy is a great fabric to work with; grab it you find it.Color, designs, patina and fancy weaves are stronger giveaways.Old catalogs, ads, pattern and fashion magazines like the by Eileen Trestain, 1998, plus your personal knowledge are useful tools for a decade-by-decade comparison of fabrics.It is disheartening that even though we may be able to identify, date and feel a fabric, in all likelihood its trademark or special finish will never come to light, a part of its vital history forever lost.Despite these problems involved in vintage fabric identification, this column is to make you aware of and recognize bygone textile names even though you may never see or touch those fabrics.Unwashed old cottons seem to impart a certain glow or patina, mostly due to mellowing and special finishes now outdated.Novelty and variations on basic weaves can help define fashion trends of the day.

Identification of these two fabrics requires knowing what’s been on the market in the last several decades and using good textile-dating reference books with high-quality colored and black-and-white photos.Often width, color, design, weave and appearance can be good indicators.Widths, while iffy and weak signals, nevertheless can generate a time frame.They were used for tea-room, hostess and maid’s aprons; pinafores, children’s dresses, collars and other accessories.A cheaper grade of lawn organdy was the staple of commercial mama doll dresses from the 1920s through the 40s and advertised as organdy for obvious merchandising reasons.

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Dots became smaller and closer together, small pox effect, on crisper fabrics in the 1940s and 50s; around the mid-50s to present flocking replaced dots on nylon, some blends and polyesters.

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