Once upon a time, Cedar City had a Coleman Sleeping Bag manufacturing company. Periodically, the company would rid itself of the many "leftovers" from the manufacturing process. Sometimes fabric was cut or sewn incorrectly. Perhaps the fabric was flawed. Or maybe that particular run or style of fabric was finished. Whatever the reason, they had a LOT of leftovers and (even though I never made it there to actually DO this) it was placed out on the loading dock on a certain day at a certain time and any body who wanted free fabric was welcome to it. They could take an armload, or a car load or a truck load. Lots of people did. Well, about 20 years ago, the Coleman plant closed its doors. Our neighbors lost their jobs there. One was transferred back east with them, temporarily. And the fabric free-for-all was over.
Have you any idea how many quilt backs were created out of discarded sleeping bag flannel? How many humanitarian projects completed with the likes of that material?
- Well, COLEMAN FABRIC LIVES ON!!
I cleaned out a closet a few weeks ago for my MIL, and in one of the boxes was some of that fabric! I took it home (because, dear reader , I collect fabric), washed and dried it. It's old. I didn't know if it would survive laundering or not. It fared quite well, actually.
The bottom of the stack in the photo above is some really nice black and white Houndstooth check flannel. It is a nice sturdy, soft, cotton flannel. I was surprised at its quality, actually.(Maybe it had not come from there) But WHAT would one do with it? The pieces are all about 1 to 2 yards long, and not really wide. Maybe the size of a sleeping bag liner?
Then there a few small remnants of that classic "flying ducks" flannel. They are just small pieces. I think those are scaps from camper curtains, actually.
The solid pieces are a very thick canvas/duck.
The rest of it on the top was the most popular and the most prolific of all the Coleman fabric. This stuff showed up in thrift stores and garage slaes for ages after. And it is showing up yet again from the depths of old forgotten boxes in closets. It is just a plaid, cotton blend. Small 1 to2 yard pieces. They just made me smile. I have in my fabric stash some similar stuff , but in blue.
Quilt blocks? Matching boys' shirts? Yeah, maybe in another decade. Maybe these pieces will end up as humanitarian aid things , too.