Cover of Silver Moon sample book which J.C. Penney distributed to its store buyers for spring selections.
Sales pitch on last page of sample book. This was intended for store managers to send to their buyers. J.C Penney described its Silver Moon line as a superlative fabric of true excellence when it introduced it to its 1,200 store buyers in the fall of 1939. The range was impressive from 100 smart small to large prints in 80 sq percales [160 thread count], broadcloths and heavy slubbed poplins aka cotton shantung or Himalayan cloth.
New to the line were pigment prints, often called shadow or over-print and usually found in higher priced fabrics. Silver Moon prints used a white on white, barely visible and which do not show up in the following photos. In addition, Penney extolled the advanced finishing method of a special mercerization technique which brightened colors and “made them easier to launder without the need for starch.” Fabrics were 39″ wide, shrinking to 36″ after washing and sold for 19¢, It was noted that other similar fabrics sold for 29¢.
Shown here are swatches from the Penney’s spring sample book which would have been suitable for quilters, namely the smaller prints in percale and broadcloth. Poplin with its textured slubbing would not be friendly to the needle nor would the larger prints intended more for household items such as curtains. To see actual size of fabric and colorways, click on photos.
80 square percale:
The arbitrary cut-off date for this Vintage Fabric column is 1960. To stay within the scope of this timeframe, reference materials published up to that date are the prime source of information to more accurately capture actual thoughts of the time.
Joan Kiplinger is an antique doll costumer and vintage fabric addict who learned to sew on her grandmother’s treadle and has been peddling fabrications ever since.