I know Krista and I scored a bunch of vintage ginghams at a garage sale, but I was curious to see if I could still buy them commercially.
Yep. JoAnn’s had them in the “homespun” section, along the wall. They had a range of large to small checks, even micro-checks measuring 1/8″ inch. I hope you’re not wanting an exotic color or anything.
Fiber content: I have been used to ginghams in the 50-50 range, but this one is 65% polyester-35% cotton. What this means is that is has a bit different hand, or how the cloth feels when you touch it. The polyester, since it is over 50%, will be dominant, so the surface will have more of a commercial feel, rather than a homemade feel. It will be more wrinkle-free, and probably won’t shrink at all. The colors most likely will not run or bleed, so you can combine any combo you want. No need to pre-wash this either, as the character of the fabric won’t change much. It will wear like iron. I once made a dress out of gingham–it was a Betsey Johnson Vogue pattern, way back in the 1970s on Betsey Johnson’s first go-round. Because this is more poly than cotton, the drape will be finer and the fabric will feel a little lighter-weight. I say all this not to scare you off, but to reassure you that when you take the fabric in hand and touch it, what you are feeling is normal especially if you have been sewing with only cotton. As far as the China part, over 90% of the world’s clothing and textiles and thread and trims comes via China. As quilters, we’re more used to Japan for thread and fabrics.
I saw an apron done by my mother-in-law with chicken-scratch embroidery on it. I guess I could have ironed it to show you, but I just pulled it out of an old sewing basket up on top of my armoire.
This is how far I got–the square of gingham cut out, the embroidery half-way across. Add this to list of Things To Do When I Retire.
Doesn’t gingham just remind you of days gone past? It has such a timeless quality and that’s why I suggested to Krista that we try to use up our little find by combing it with some Kona White or something and seeing where it goes. Some times it’s interesting to get an idea and explore it, without a pattern or pre-determined place to arrive.
You can buy gingham-look-alike fabric. This one’s from an Etsy shop online (I did a search for gingham and Denise Schmidt, as this is her fabric line.) But the unique quality of gingham is the fact that it is yarn-dyed, and that the plaid is made from the white threads crossing the colored threads. I much prefer that to printed ginghams.
Luckily for you, Robert Kaufman has yarn-dyed ginghams listed on their website, and it looks like you can order directly from them.
I also found these at Fabric.com–look for the Carolina Gingham fabric, as it is yarn-dyed, and that’s what you want if you are looking for a true gingham.