Tuesday, August 30, 2011


I know that a lot of you have been asking to see some of my extensive antique fabric collection. So I have listened and am uploading a few of my favorites.  I have also decided to list a few for sale through my Ebay store Fabric Diva antique/vintage fabrics.  We will see if you are all satisfied with how it works and if not we will adjust our efforts.  Please let me know what you are looking for?  We will start with early-late 19th century French textiles.
Above is a photo of a small area of the first antique fabric I ever purchased in NYC.  I then later went on to reproduce the design as a new print.  It too was our very best seller and has sold over one million yards and has run for over 19 years.  It is only now just being retired and we have only about 60 yards left.  It can be seen in our Ebay store or on our website:www.americanfolkandfabric.com

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Antique & Vintage Fabrics and High Quality Reproductions

If you’ve read my profile or previous blogs you know that my company, American Folk and Fabric™, Inc. specializes in the manufacture and sale of reproduction vintage and antique fabrics. As you might imagine, one of the questions that I’m most frequently asked is “exactly what are the definitions of vintage and antique fabrics.” I’d like to spend a little time today to provide you with the definitions, and to talk about the characteristics to look for in the original fabrics and high quality reproductions.

Technically speaking vintage fabric is considered to be fabric of a certain style produced in the 1930’s and later. Antique fabric is fabric that is more than 100 years old. People tend to prefer these fabrics over many contemporary designs because of their detail, color and general sense of style. In my personal fabric archive I have in excess of 1,000,000 fabric documents dating from the 18th century.

During my career I’ve touched literally millions of pieces of fabric so I’ve developed an innate feel for the original article, and that experience has been invaluable in helping me to create high quality reproductions. Obviously the age of fabric can tell you a lot about it, but how does one determine age? One of the first indicators is the width of the fabric. For example the width of fabric in the 18th century was generally between 12-16 inches wide. Older fabric might also have tell-tale signs such as a musty odor (from being stored in certain environments), water stains, and even evidence of having been eaten by small animals.

Subject matter is another key indicator with antique and vintage fabric. For example on older French or British fabric you might see elaborate hunting scenes or portraits of patrician-looking people. With certain vintage prints you might observe distinctive looking fruit or floral arrangements that immediately evoke thoughts of the 1930’s or 40’s. Color also plays a prominent role; fine elegant fabric with vibrant color has a shine that light tends to “bounce” off of. You can also look at fabric and think about the number of colors involved and the color “sensibility”.

I’ve had the unique experience of going to fabric shows and week-end sales and seeing my high quality reproduction fabric being sold as the genuine article. I spend a great deal of time and take great pains to ensure that I use numerous screens o put sufficient color into my designs while devoting a lot of attention to engraving detail, so that my fabric has the tight, crisp designs that are generally found in original antique and vintage fabrics. I also only print on high quality base-cloths (cotton, linen) to ensure that my reproduction fabrics have the natural feel and rich quality of the original fabrics that they are emulating.

Above you see an example of a high quality antique reproduction fabric that I manufacture called Toile Francais. It’s a French inspired design that features aristocratic people in a countryside setting. The original fabric document appears in the right upper corner, with my reproduction on the left bottom corner. The original fabric dates from the early to mid 18th century, and was used as part of a bed canopy. Note the beauty, detail and color of the original. It was made using a copper plate printing process. If you look at my reproduction you will notice the same sharp color and detail. We used between a six and eight screen printing process to capture the same level o amazing detail. I’m proud to say that it’s truly difficult to distinguish between the original document and my high quality reproduction. To see more beautiful high quality antique and vintage reproductions, please visit my website at www.americanfolkandfabric.com.

I hope that this short primer has been helpful in clarifying the differences between antique, vintage, and reproduction fabrics. I also hop that it has provided a basis for helping to understand that exceptional quality can also be found in high-quality reproduction fabrics. When you are looking for that “perfect” fabric, pay attention to feel, color and engraving detail, you will rarely be disappointed in your choices.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Style Sense

For most of us, our use of fabric involves apparel and home décor. That means that our attention is largely focused on the look of the things that we wear, and the environment of the things that surround us on a daily basis. For example regarding clothing you hear of colors being associated with seasons, and when we visit public places or even peoples private homes, we describe places as being cheerful or morose depending on the look and feel of carpets, window treatments, furniture, etc…

Therefore it’s safe to assume that although there are many things that we take for granted, a lot of thought goes into the selection of fabrics that fashion designers and retailers choose for clothing collections, and equally as much thought devoted to what interior designers and home décor manufacturers select for the items that you place in your home.

Although I have done costuming for the entertainment industry and even designed fabric for the apparel market, my primary focus today is on fabrics that are used in home décor. I create designs that are typically used for window treatments, bedding and furniture. There is a famous saying that “there is nothing new under the sun”. As I have stated previously, I have a vintage and antique textile archive numbering approximately 1,000,000 different documents. I make extensive use of my collection as inspiration in the design of new things, not to be used as exact replicas, but as ideas when I reinterpret classical designs.

As you know from my profile and previous posts, I’m a huge fan of classical American, English and French design. I favor a traditional look that is not influenced by “fads” or recent trends. A beautiful floral or paisley design from 18th century France is often as elegant and timely today as it was hundreds of years ago. That’s important to me, and why both personally and professionally, I favor a classical or traditional design style. Conversely, a design of geodetic shapes or bubbles might be ideal for a contemporary “Austin Powers” inspired home, yet it will be totally out of style five years from now, and your friends will be asking “Austin” who?

So the next time that you prepare to purchase something for your home, think about your own style sense, and the fact that with the cost of things today, it’s likely that you’ll need to “live” with your choices for awhile. And whether your choice is modern and contemporary or traditional and elegant, the bottom-line is that it will be your choice, reflecting your style, and to that I say groovy…

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

The Importance of Fabric

It’s probably safe to assume that few of us rarely stop to consider the important role that fabric plays in our daily lives. We sleep on it, after which we get up and wash and dry with it, before using it to get dressed. Almost every facet of our lives involves an intimate connection with fabric.

I have loved fabric for most of my life, which has prompted me to begin this blog. More specifically I am enamored of American, English, and French vintage and antique fabrics. They “speak” to me with their timeless designs, beautiful prints, and warm sophistication. Over the years I have collected vintage and antique fabrics, and now have a collection in excess of 1,000,000 fabric documents, which is widely considered to be one of the largest private collections in the United States

As a collector, I watched over the past twenty years as the amount of original vintage and antique fabric in the marketplace began to drastically decline. Over a span of about five years, I went from canvassing the country and stuffing a 20’ truck full of original vintage fabric, to being lucky to canvass the country by airplane and fill a good sized suitcase.

I had an almost missionary zeal to ensure that the beauty and quality of the original fabrics did not get lost in the trendy commercialization of the mass marketplace. Consequently I left a high-paying job as a costume designer in Hollywood, to chase my dream. I began designing and producing high quality reproduction vintage and antique fabrics, the kind that had so captivated me as a child. Today I am founder, chief designer and CEO of American Folk and Fabric, Inc. ™, arguably the country’s leading producer of reproduction vintage and antique fabric. You can view my collection at www.americanfolkandfabric.com.

Part of my fascination with fabric stems from its historical significance. Fabric pre-dates photographs as a window into our past, while documenting history, time and place. Fabric can make a room, create a mood, or simply make a statement. I often say that “the magic is in the fabric”.