Here at Morrissey Fabric I have been repurposing and selling vintage global textiles as a business since 2015. Decades ago I fell in love with the textures that can only be found in hand crafted, loomed-by-hand fabrics. Just recently I put together a group of Guatemalan indigo pillows that each have hand-embroidered details. The indigo is durable and colorfast, and the hand embroidery is heavy, so making pillows has given the textile a second life as home decor.
The faded denim textile the pillow rests upon is an authentic African Mossi, commonly known as mud cloth.
Clients often ask about the origin of my vintage textiles. What they don't realize, is that many fabrics come from garments. I find these garments in countries where hand crafting is celebrated and the skills are carried down through generations. In the example above, a Guatemalan woman is wearing a Huipil (Blouse) and a Corte (skirt) filled with colorful indigenous patterns. This may help to visualize how the fabric in the first photo of the pillow was originally worn.
Beautiful textiles have been a source of income to Guatemalan villages for centuries. Each small town has a specific woven pattern that identifies the place of origin. Seen in the "Friducha" dolls hand made for Folk Project, Huipil remnants now honor Frida Kahlo. Repurposing the vintage textiles into one of a kind dolls is a wonderful way to educate people about the artist and Guatemalan culture.
Creating products with anything vintage usually means some clean up is going to be necessary. This is certainly the case with antique textiles. Sure, you can skip the washing, but I don't recommend it. I always hand wash or gentle machine wash vintage textiles. You should test a corner to be certain the colors won't bleed. It is likely natural dyes were used and not all of them are colorfast. Caution is always essential. You can find Guatemalan corte fabric like this in the MorrisseyFabric.Etsy.com shop.
I hope you can see the joy I find in repurposing vintage textiles. The accessories and pillows you find in my shop were crafted in California from textiles that already had a life as apparel. Now that I'm in my fifties, I see this process as a reflection of my own creative life. I began my career as a fashion designer, and my current life is to reimagine antique apparel into something new.