The season to make things is upon us. So grab your vintage fabric and let’s get ready!
Whether you’re a maker who sells projects on Etsy or at local artisan pop ups, or you are just whipping up customized presents for family and friends, it’s helpful to know what’s trending now — and why — in fabric-made gifts.
So let’s dive in.
Sustainability is The Watchword
Vintage fabrics will continue to be a favorite with shoppers and not just for their obvious charm, uniqueness, and variety. Vintage fabrics are the single most sustainable choice in any fabric buy because they’re not asking anything new from Earth. They’re:
- NOT using current water resources
- NOT using current soil resources
- NOT using pesticides or herbicides
- NOT using current fossil fuels for manufacturing
- NOT using current inks, dyes, fiber, and more
Vintage fabrics have what’s called “embedded” energy and resources. Since they’ve already been made, vintage fabrics are asking nothing new from the planet, thus becoming an alternative to buying new fabrics that are harming the planet in their production.
Also, using vintage fabrics means keeping these precious and beautiful and very useable items out of the landfill. Many vintage fabrics offer a quality of design and production that’s hard to find today, so they can make your projects stand out while saving the Earth. Read my blog post all about this.
Shoppers today expect sustainability and vintage fabrics can deliver every time. So tout your vintage bonafides wherever you sell — or give — your vintage fabric-made goods. It’s a great way to connect with buyers on values that really mean something important to them.
My Aching Back!
A big trend this fall is going to be…lumbar pillows!
Everyone seems to have an aching back in America. One way to ease the pain is a lumbar pillow. Folks use them in cars, at work, in bed or at desks in college dorms, while relaxing at home with a good book or the tube, and even in camp chairs on vacation.
A lumbar pillow is a great gift to give to almost anyone on your list. Just make the pillow with that person’s taste in mind — florals, geometrics, luxe velvety or silk fabrics, or something they’re into like dance, equestrian life, sports, fishing, history, chinoiseries, folk art, animals, dinosaurs, botanicals, nostalgic throw back looks, and more.
In your maker shop lumbar pillows are sure to be a hit, too. People seem to like them two ways:
- Sized right for a chair or for in the car
- Quite long, stretching across a bed or long couch
Pick a style or try both styles, make a bunch, have fun, and good luck with your sales!
The other trend I keep hearing about is story pillows. Here’s where you can have a lot of fun both in personalization, and in artistry.
Story pillows seem to take two forms.
One is a playfully- or whimsically-themed pillow with a pocket in it for bedtime stories. Mostly targeted at kids, these pillows also typically have a distinctive look reflecting a child’s interest — woodland animals, gnomes, unicorns, kings and queens, knights and ladies, dinosaurs, first responders or astronauts. (Not so much pre-made products like Barbie or Harry Potter, though pillows can tell those stories too.) The pillow pocket even offers the evening’s bedtime story a place to live.
A child delights in grabbing their story pillow and then tucking in with the beloved pillow for that special end-of-day story time!
The other story pillow is even more artistic and unique. Again, they can be highly personalized for a specific person’s interest, or just fancifully made to touch on a theme or even to be highly abstract.
In these story pillows you begin with gathering base fabric, scraps, and other sewing elements like buttons, lace, ribbon, and other sewable pieces. Then you patch, layer, appliqué, slow sew, collage and use other techniques to come up with an artistic expression that is truly one-of-a-kind.
When these pillows are highly personalized, they can tell a story that’s meaningful to, and even all about, their owner:
- Reflect on a retiree’s career, a person’s achievement, hope, or rite-of-passage
- Highlight a religious, social, or political passion
- Celebrate an anniversary or birthday
- Remember a loved one, or document a trip that was or is to come
- Create a mood, vibe, or vision
Cuddlier than a plaque or a trophy, more lasting than a greeting card, and more noticeable than a framed certificate, a pillow themed to someone’s interest or to an important milestone in their life can touch the heart and offer a lasting tribute that will become a family heirloom.
And for those of you who make projects for sale, though not customized for a particular person, themed pillows still can offer designs unique to your maker’s shop with an originality that people love. And you can still solicit personalized work for the story pillows by querying your customer and even by having them send in elements for the pillow.
Have fun with these — making them can really let the inner artist out to play!
Keep in mind that fabric lovers also…love fabric! So if that’s you, don’t be afraid to put vintage fabric on your wish list and let family and friends get you that piece you just have to have. Or treat yourself. A palette of fabric is as important to the tailor, seamstress, and maker as a palette of paint is to the watercolor artist, portraitist, and landscape painter.
I hope these vintage fabric trend alerts help you with your gift and market planning this holiday season. As always, please share with me your works — I LOVE to see what you make!
— Lindsay Curren, Lady Virginia Vintage Fabrics