DH drove up, which gave me some time to have a good look at my new book, 'America's Printed Fabrics' by Barbara Brackman. I'm very interested in quilt history, and rather miffed that there are loads of book about American quilt history and fabrics, but very little about British. Barbara gives a good history of the development of processes, patterns and colours, and encourages you to look for similar designs and colours in modern fabrics, to make quilts with an antique feel.
Edinburgh boasts an amazing vintage clothing shop called Armstrongs, which is a must-visit for anyone who loves fabric. While I was there, I saw this gorgeous 70s shirt, which looked very 1880s to me, so I bought it for £5.
The assistant kindly warned me that they didn't do refunds, so would I like to try it on, but I said it was fine, I just wanted to cut it up into little pieces and sew it back together again.
Once home, it went into the washer, and I cut it up into pieces. If you like using worn fabric, it's best to cut it into usable pieces first, as if you put it into your stash as it is, the chances are that it will never get used, because it's too much trouble, and will always be passed over in favour of a flat piece of fabric. I reckon that there is the equivalence of a good three quarters of yard of usable fabric in a shirt, which makes £5 a very good price.
Here is the fabric lying on two books with photos of 1880s shirting fabrics. On the right is Barbara Brackman and on the left is 'Dating Fabrics 1800-1960' by Eileen Tristain.