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Polyester double knits-vintage

Jonagold | Posted in General Discussion on

We are in the process of preparing for a sale of the accumulated hoarding of two ladies.  There are piles and piles of double knits.  We will donate to various charity quilting groups but I understand that they don’t really like to use double knits, although they used to use it all the time. 

Our local group uses polyester batting which must be purchased.  Has anyone ever used polyester double knits as batting?  I know that it would be heavy so we would need to donate to homeless shelters in the states rather than paying for the shipping.  Other than the fact that they wouldn’t have much loft and it might be more difficult to tie, would there be a problem?  I thought we would have to cut the selvages off and then just overlap the edges and stitch the two lengths together.  There are many pieces that are 8 to 10 yards so there wouldn’t be tons of piecing for the fillings. 

Any other suggestions for uses of polyester double knit?  Can pet shelters use it for bedding?

It has been a bit overwhelming.  I received some wonderful thoughts for coping with hoarding from two Canadian ladies on Sewing World but I can’t tell those ladies thanks as the site is down and I don’t recall their names.

I hoping many people go home very happy with their buys next weekend!

Thanks for your suggestions.


  1. Teaf5 | | #1

    A friend's mom always used polyester double knits as the outer layers on quilts.  The colors were awful, but my friend said that they were the warmest things in her house, even with very little batting!

    I like to use those knits for bags: tote bags, duffel bags, stuff sacks, grocery bags.  They are nearly indestructible and will hold even heavy items with ease.  I use some lengths as picnic tablecloths.  They would work well as dust covers for outdoor furniture stored indoors, or you could make boutique-style hanging clothes dust covers.  If you have incredible lengths of them, you could probably construct boat and car covers of them.

    Local theatre groups or schools might really like some of the stash, as costumes made from poly double knit have the nice, heavy hand of period fabrics but look good under theatrical lights.  They are easy to work with, hold up to wear and tear, and can be laundered without worry.  I've made many costumes from poly double knit, using regular spray paint on the finished piece to achieve very effective stripes, fur, and decorative designs.

  2. mygaley | | #2

    Poly double knits make nice lap robes for nursing homes; just serge the edges and it's finished. Since you have a surplus of fabric, be sure and make some extra long for the tall and big patients. Also, this fabric can be used inside a recycled denim quilt. I'd dry each element on hot first and then just channel quilt by machine. I wouldn't use it for heirloom quality quilts and coverings, but for car throws, yes, pet beds, or any fast project, use it. Galey

    1. Jonagold | | #3

      Great ideas!  Thank you.  I'm wondering what was meant by channel quilting.  I know that channels are made for feather comforters but I am uncertain about this. 

      Could rugs be woven or crocheted out of polyester? 

      I will share the idea of spray painting with our local little theatre person.  Perhaps she hasn't heard of it.

      I will share the ideas with our shoppers. 

      1. mygaley | | #4

        What I referred to as channel quilting means simply finishing the edges of your project, and sewing long rows of stitching equal distance apart to hold the layers together. I think if you're using cotton face and back and polyester double knit in the center about 3-4 inches apart should be enough. The thing about using this fabric is it is hard to cut. To cut enough strips for a crochet project would be a laborious task, bruising your hands as well as eating up your cutting tools. I know from volunteering at school that pdn makes wonderful stage hangings, so try your theater arts department. Galey

      2. User avater
        Thimblefingers | | #5

        My mom makes the niftiest rugs out of poyester double knits.  Even my daughter loves them.  They're squares sewn onto a base of polyester and look kind of shaggy.  I just moved so don't have access to my rug at the moment, but could get back in a few days when I find I.  They wear well and wash like a charm!

        1. Jonagold | | #6

          Sounds interesting!  I'm picturing something that looks like a hooked rug?  Has anyone else  seen one of these?  Perhaps I could get one started or even completed to display at the sale. 

           My first thought was that we could have several living-room sized rugs!  I'm certain that they would be small rugs, probably rectangular or oval?  It will be interesting to hear more details.

          1. User avater
            Thimblefingers | | #8

            I found my rug!  Unfortunately, I don't own a camera so a description will have to suffice.  Now the way my mom makes them, they look very 60's/70's earth mother but with a little artistic flair and forethought, they could be a little more chic!

            The base is heavier cotton or poly/cotton with the edges turned under and sewn.  I'd make it a little larger than what you actually want, as it appears that it will "shrink" when it completed.

            Then you cut your polyester into squares.  My mom's range from 1 1/2 to 2" square but you might want to cut them all the same size.  (My mom has arthritis so they were probably meant to all be one size!) 

            Then you fold your little squares in half, wrong sides together to form a triangle.  But don't fold them all at once.  What you do is, sew them onto the base in rows, so you just have to fold as you sew them on.  Lay them on so your folded edge is at the beginning of the row, and points toward the end.  Sew down the middle of the triangle from the middle of the folded edge and through the point.  When you're about halfway through one triangle, lay down the next one in the same direction so they overlap.  Continue overlapping and sewing triangles until you reach the end of the row.  The next row starts about 3/4" away.  Keep folding, sewing and overlapping in rows until your base is covered.

            What you end up with is a sort of shaggy looking rug.  I think they would be nice done in colour themes or a stripe design of some sort would be nice. 

            Hope this explanation is adequate!  If not, just post back and I'll see if I can make my description any better! 

            Happy sewing!  

          2. Jonagold | | #9

            I understand!  I shall have to attempt a row or two as an example to display at the sale.  There is every color so it should be possible to make some neat designs.  I have never tried a rotary cutter on polyester so that might be an adventure but should be easier than cutting with a scissor.

            Thank you so much!

          3. Jonagold | | #10


            Has anyone ever tried this or seen a completed article? 

        2. mygaley | | #7

          Can't wait to see instructions/photos of your mom's rugs. Galey

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