Tuesday, September 21, 2021

Indian Head Fabric

 I have a lot of memories of visiting fabric shops as a child.  Back in the late 50s and through the 1960s, our valley was populated with textile factories and all of them seemed to have outlets.  It was the outlets that attracted my mother and Nana Betty.  They were on a budget and the outlets provided more affordable options.  

There was an outlet where they got fabric for tablecloths, another for notions like buttons and iron appliques, and I remember distinctly that most of the fabric they bought was by the pound.  One of the fabrics that my Nana spoke of longingly was Indian Head Fabric.  

"Like the nickels?" I asked Nana and she laughed and laughed.

Indian Head fabric wasn't made in our area but it was shipped throughout the U.S. and exported to other countries.  An ad in an Australian newspaper announced that "The famous Indian Head Cloth" would be displayed at a local store.

You can read about the rise and fall of the company here.  Years later I admired the beautiful ads that were run in my antique sewing magazines like this one:

I finally got to feel the fabric when I stumbled upon this piece.  I suspect but am not sure that it might have been a sample given to customers.   Of course, I was attracted to the sunbonnet dancing with the sheep:

But at the bottom of the piece was the important part:

"A Spread of Indian Head for Dolly's Bed."
The fabric has a wonderful feel like any percale.  I was smitten.

As most of you know, I love vintage embroidery and especially unfinished pieces that I can use to copy the patterns.  This charming piece I found years ago:

The bottom of the panel advertises: "Use Star Brand Thread on Sanforized Indian Cotton Head By Nashua."

On Thursday, I'll write about why that intrigues me.

Have a safe and happy day!


  1. I have never heard of Indian Head fabric. This is all new to me.

  2. I had skirts and shorts made of Indian Head. In fact, I think my 7-8th grade cheerleading skirt was red Indian Head. It was fully lined, went well past my knees, and weighed a ton -- but I could still get it to twirl full circle!

  3. I've never heard of Indian Head fabric either. Now I have. Thanks.