8 places to buy barkcloth

adirondack barkcloth from full swing textilesVintage or reproduction barkcloth is a wonderful fabric for mid century rooms. I particularly like it for draperies and coordinating pillows — be sure to get upholstery weight. I have experience with at least three barkcloths on the market today — and today spotlight eight places to buy vintage style reproduction barkcloth.

1950s style barkclothThe first two images above are from Full Swing Textiles. They have a wonderful, wide selection of barkcloth styles — from tropicals and botanicals to 1950s googie atomic… to Adirondack camp style…. to solids and stripes. Their fabrics are not cheap — but they sent me a whole bundle of swatches last year, and oh my, they are the real deal. Link: Full Swing Textiles.

aquamarine atomic barkclothRecognize the barkcloth above? It’s the atomic style barkcloth that I used for the valance in my kitchen. It’s from Melinamade, which also has a nice selection of designs. Note, the piece of fabric that I received and use was quite stiff — I don’t think that I would have used it for pinch pleats. When choosing a fabric for curtains, you want to be very attentive to its “hand” … how it drapes. Link: Melinamade barkcloth fabrics.

hawaii barkclothWhen I think of vintage barkcloth, I first think of tropical designs — for the kind of curtains that go with rattan furniture or in tiki bars. I tend to think these were the “originals” more so than other designs. There is a site called Barkcloth Hawaii that seems to have a good selection. Note, we are now getting into the more mass produced manufacturers, I *think*. Before making a big purchase you are going to want to see samples and do research on durability, colorfastness and hand remembering that, usually, you get what you pay for. Link: Barkcloth Hawaii.

boomerang barkclothTonic Living has one design I didn’t see anywhere else, along with others I see repeated on other sites. Cindy bought her drapery fabric (which was not barkcloth) here and reported a positive experience. Link: Tonic Living fabrics.

mambo barkclothJ&O is a big online retailer, and they have a number of designs to look at, too — many of them also seem to be for sale at Tonic Living and Barkcloth Hawaii. Link: J&O Fabrics.

retro-barkcloth-midcenturyDiamondhead Fabrics has an impressive and affordable collection of 27 patterns and 68 color ways of barkcloth fabrics in retro, botanical and tropical prints.

vintage style barkclothWe’ve seen samples of all of their fabric selections and agree that the quality of this fabric is very good — especially for the affordable price of $19.95 for the first yard and $15.95 for two or more yards.

Of course, when it comes to draperies… or for fabric for pillows… you also can put your vibes out there and wait for the retro decorating gods to send some vintage your way — eBay and etsy are also good places to stalk.

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Comments

  1. Tina says

    I’ve found some amazing barkcloth on eBay, but I’ve discovered that too many sellers use the word “vintage” incorrectly. Or, like J&O, use the expression “vintage style” to get their items to show up in searches–not fair and quite annoying–and enough to get them excluded from my searches, even though they look like an amazing source of fabric.

    Etsy is a great source for all things mid century. My kids even bought my Christmas present this year from Etsy’s Vintage category.

  2. karen says

    I’ve purchased several pieces of barkcloth from Tonic Living, including the two you featured. Gorgeous! I plan to make a kitchen window valance, a few pillows for the couch/chairs, & some handbags to sell in my etsy shop.

  3. karen says

    I forgot to mention that sometimes the true vintage barkcloth won’t stand up to heavy wear & washing. I made some potholders & placemats out of a piece I bought on etsy, which looked & felt sturdy enough, but the fabric began to fall apart after several washings.

  4. says

    J&O Fabrics is 20 minutes from me, and about 5 minutes from where Nikki works, so if anyone needs me to do any recon work to scope something out, just let me know.

  5. Susan says

    I have not been able to access the melinamade website for some time now. Sad because I loved her designs. The link goes nowhere for me.

      • Edwin says

        AND tell her that she needs to find a supplier to make her wallpapers that have been out of stock forever! I spoke to her a couple of months ago and she is actively looking for a supplier for the paper to print her 50’s style wallpapers on. The former supplier stopped producing the paper she needed

        Maybe someone that reads the comments on this blog can help her find a new supplier source!

  6. Naomi says

    After finding Tonic Living through your site I ordered samples. Janine, the owner, is a model of prompt customer service. I can vouch that her site photos are very true with colours and descriptions and the barkcloth has a great fall for drapes. Even though I live in Australia I got Janine to make my curtains, in Canada! They arrived within weeks, lined, pinch pleated and ready. Keep meaning to take some photos, but they do look great.

    • pam kueber says

      Wow, that’s great to hear, Naomi! I’ll repeate: Tell Janine she needs to advertise on my site — she’ll get even more customers! It’s hard to find someone to make custom pinch pleats these days…

  7. Susan K says

    I’ve purchased pillows and drapes on line from joanna ha http://www.joannaha.com. In fact, I have a pair of pillows that match your valance, Pam!

    I’ve also purchased contemporary barkcloth from Hawaiiana sites. You just have to be willing to sift through the scantily clad hula-girl calendars! I love barkcloth–the way George Costanza loves velvet! :)

    How about a Friday post of people’s uses of barkcloth? I have handbags, photo albums, and I’d love to see chair covers, pillows, and drapes in the context of a cool MCM room!

  8. Kay says

    Speaking of great MCM decorating…have you, Pam, or any other readers seen the recent movie “Flipped”. It is family friendly and has some of the yummiest late 1950s touches that I have ever seen in a movie. Get it on video! You’ll like it!

  9. says

    thank you for this post! i used to get tons of great repro barkcloth from reprodepot but over the holiday i discovered they pretty much closed down the site. :(

    all these listed have been bookmarked!

  10. Anita says

    I have ordered from J&O, Tonic Living and Full Swing Textiles. All have been very pleasant and easy to deal with. We just got the cushions done for our vintage rattan 3 piece sofa – we used Full Swing’s Bird of Paradise in neutral for the body of the cushions, red piping and yellow sides – love love love it! Looks perfect behind our other new find which is a vintage coffee table I can’t describe, but we saw it at Prime Time Cafe at Disney Hollywood Studios and had to have one. Two tier formica boomerang-ish amoeba-ish shape, so fab!

  11. vintigchik says

    I LOVE to sew and LOVE to collect vintage fabric as well as vintage patterns. (and everything else in between) These fabrics are wonderful, Pam. I get so excited when I find a great piece of fabric or a pattern. Vintage clothing is getting harder to find, so it’s nice to be able to recreate these pieces. I love using vintage fabric and patterns together. I have saved so much money sewing everything from curtains, to pillows, to clothing. It is a great hobby.

  12. Jeff says

    I have to admit to being a fabric junkie- barkcloth being one of them.

    My best find of recent years is an amazing bark in chocolate brown with wild tiki design motifs in aqua, pink, yellow and white, like masks, zulu warriors, atomic looking straw huts, canoes, just about everything island tropical you can imagine.

    And I have six 8 foot wide lined panels 96″ long! All in great condition, being retrofitted this next spring for the breezeway/familyroom with knotty pine ceiling (soon to be installed, and vintage, BTW).

  13. Shelly says

    Here’s a little insider tip for Tonic Living purchases… enter “airstream” in the promo/coupon code box and you’ll save 10%. Yippee!

  14. Palm Springs Stephan says

    MelinaMadeFarics seems to have gone out of business. The contact page on their site is non-functional, as is the newsletter sign-up form. The telephone number listed is answered by a machine and a voice named Jacqueline, but calls go unreturned. Postal mail sent to the street address in Dixon is returned as undeliverable. If anyone knows what happened, I’d be curious to know.

  15. sputnikmoss says

    I recommend J&O. Seven years ago when we bought our house we tried to find vintage fabric for curtains. We were lucky with Ebay to find enough for most of our windows except for the 18 foot wide, floor to ceiling windows in our front room. We ordered 25 yards! of the Calder print online and they shipped the same day! We took the fabric to a drapery company that made us muslin lined pinch pleat curtains. We love them!

  16. says

    spoonflower.com is another interesting resource. They don’t sell actual vintage barkcloth, but Spoonflower is an interesting concept though. Basically, you design your own print or pattern and Spoonflower will print that onto various types of fabric. Or there are some designers that have some nifty atomic-y and mid-century prints too.

  17. Raelene from Australia says

    I used the Mambo barkcloth (last picture) but in gray on our club lounge with co-ordinating cushions in black & red. Had it done about 10 years ago & I still love it. I got it from reprodepot.com but they appear to have closed down.

  18. Dee Dee says

    Why oh why are the retro gods not providing us with all the awesome repro barkcloth anymore? For a while there, a new line would come out every couple years (Boomerang Beat was always my favorite), but there hasn’t been a sign of new stuff from the major manufacturers in a few years now. Don’t they know there’s a whole horde of us desperately seeking atomic barkcloth loveliness?

  19. says

    Aloha, I just wanted to mention that the nubby upholstery barkcloth on our site was copied from a vintage piece of bark cloth. The weave was examined under a magnifying glass and followed precisely. In order to offer a wider variety of vintage style tropical patterns we also offer a bark crepe style where the threads are not twisted so the fabric is flat as well as a few other style choices that range in price. Currently Barkcloth Hawaii Fabrics is offering a discount to Facebook members or mention you saw us here and we can give you a 10% discount. I’m available to answer any questions.

  20. mcDevlin says

    Beware of buying unseen on eBay. We bought some new vintage-patterned “bark cloth” from a seller (edited), listed as drapery weight but it was NOT. It was very flimsy, maybe suitable for making a Hawaiian style shirt. We also bought some new barkcloth in a medium weight, with that great texture, from J&O in New Jersey. That was indeed drapery weight and made fabulous curtains. So, good reproduction barkcloth is out there, just be careful where you shop.

    • pam kueber says

      mcDevlin, I edited your post with the name of the ebay seller. NOTE: You have recourse to return items that do not match up to the listing.

  21. Terri says

    Okay, I just went swatch crazy. I’m looking for something to go in my knotty pine kitchen that will be redone with red formica countertops and a red/cream/chocolate linoleum floor. Many windows in kitchen, must have curtains. Can’t wait!

  22. Jean says

    So, question. I just bought some really lovely vintage barkcloth with geometric design on ebay for only $2, and though it arrived smelling heavily of cigarettes and stale perfume (which the seller didn’t note…surprise), I’m not bothered because I have an online vintage clothing store and so have done more than my fair share of dealing with such things. But I’ve never made curtains before. I want to line them so they don’t fade in the sun, but will that mess with the drape? Barkcloth has such a unique texture. I was thinking of using a cotton flannel interlining and a cotton of some sort outer lining. Bad idea? What’s the best cotton to use as the outer lining? I’m planning to make scalloped pinch pleats a la the 4th image at http://retrorenovation.com/2009/08/17/16-cafe-curtain-designs-and-ideas-from-the-1950s/, since the two relevant windows are very tall and comparatively narrow. Help, help, help please…

      • Jean says

        Thanks for responding anyway! Any idea of where to look for this sort of info? I’m really at a loss…I don’t even know how to find professionals who would be familiar enough with barkcloth to provide a good answer.

  23. Dale says

    I recently lost all of my mid century stuff in a fire. I had some really great Barkcloth drapes. Black background with a kind of “fireworks” design on it. Reds, yellows, greens, etc. When I got it several years ago, it was also available in red. I purchased it and had the drapes made by a woman in CA. Don’t remember her name, shop name, or anything. All I remember is that she talked A LOT! I really want to find the same material, but see nothing available even close to it. Can anybody help?

  24. Martha says

    I made cafe curtains out of the Boomerang in an aqua background from Tonic Living. It was wonderful to work with, and the curtains are beautiful. The Tonic Living folks are out of Canada, and they were great to work with.

  25. dianne shelton says

    I want to buy the Boomerang Beat Fabric, I see it on websites, but can’t figure out how to order it. Please help me. Thanks

    • pam kueber says

      Dianne, I am not sure which fabric you are talking about. Click through the links in the story to get to the different retailers to see their current selections.

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