15 Tammis Keefe fabric designs in stores now — reissued by Michael Miller

tammis keefe fabrics

tammis keefe
Photo used with permission from Michael Miller, with thanks to Ruth Stone Berg, second cousin of Tammis Keefe, who supplied the beautiful photograph of Tammis Keefe.

Already, one of the most important mid century product news announcements of the year: Fabric designer Michael Miller is reissuing a whole host of vintage Tammis Keefe fabric designs, with the first wave coming into stores right now. Tammis Keefe was one of the most prolific textile designers during the heart of the baby boom years. Take a look at her vintage handkerchief and tea towel designs on ebay and etsy, and you will see right away what an amazing and spirited talent she was. I had a wonderful conversation last week with Christine Osmers from the Michael Miller team, and she explained that 15 designs should be arriving in stores right about now. They include:

tammis keefe dogs in gray

Tammis Dogs — in gray…


…and in red.

tammis keefe cats

Tammis Cats — in gray…

tammis keefe cats in red

… and yes, in red.

tammis keefe owls

“Hoot” comes in blue…

tammis keefe owl fabric

as well as red…

tammis keefe christmas designs

Unruly Reindeer…

tammis keefe alligator fabric

Later Alligator…

tammis keefe cage free fabric

Cage Free … and a number of coordinating prints — like dalmation spots to go with the dog prints.

In addition to these 15 prints, Michael Miller has just started promoting four additional prints to retail locations. You won’t be able to get these designs at stores for another few months. They will  include:

tammis keefe out to lunch pattern

Out to Lunch (a cotton/linen blend)…

tammis keefe contented cats fabric

Contented Cats (a cotton/linen blend)…

tammis keefe reproduction fabric

Snow dots …

tammis keefe angels

And Tammis Keefe angels, in red, or green.

So now that I have calmly laid these designs out in front of you … OH MY GOSH, this is SO EXCITING. I have been a fan of Tammis Keefe for quite a while now. I first came upon her designs when I began a love affair with Tammis Keefe vintage tea towels and handkerchiefs on ebay*. As I mentioned above, she was an incredibly prolific and popular textiles designer from around 1948 to 1960. She also designed under the name Peg Thomas. While Vintage Vera — Vera Neumann — seems to be a big name today — it looks to me like Tammis Keefe was every bit her equal in terms of design skills. Different. But equal. Amazing women, both.

Very sadly, Tammis Keefe died at age 46, of cancer. Very graciously, Michael Miller is donating all royalty equivalents to cancer research. What a spirit this woman had. I would loved to have met her.

Note, these fabrics are all what’s called “cotton shirting” — 100% cotton, except for the two linen/cotton designs indicated. This material is pretty lightweight — targeted in particular at quilters, and it is 44″ wide. (I have not seen it personally, but I think I understand the “weight”, from my sewing experience.) For Retro Renovators, I think that appropriate usages could include: Cafe curtains and valences — line them, maybe. I think you could also piece together some fabulous shower curtains… make aprons… sew your own placemats and kitchen towels… even lightweight clothing. Oh, and quilts, of course. I think I might have to take that up.

You can find the fabric in specialty quilt shops (but not places like Jo-Anns). Christine also says that you can find it online. Update: Readers are reporting you can find this fabric on ebay* and on etsy. Pricing there looks to be about $8.50/yard. *Disclosure: I am an ebay affiliate – I get a teensy spiff from anything you buy there when you click through via my site.

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  1. Atomic Mum says:

    And this is why I love RR, from here I find all the things I can order to get in Australia. If not I can drool over it one the screen.

  2. Jen says:

    *supersonic shriek* WOW, I LOVE these!!! Especially “Later Alligator” and all of the bird prints!

    Shirting makes beautiful shirts and dresses, as someone else noted. I also doubt it’ll take long for someone to make a pet bed with these (pricey as they’re likely to be—at least for me, my apparel sewing skills are not so good I want to spend $10 a yard yet!). I also think these might make a fun lining for apparel items…bit of a surprise on the inside. 😉

    IIRC, Fabric.com sells Michael Miller fabrics (SUCH cute prints, all of them…), so more likely than not these will be showing up there, too; they have good sales on a regular basis, so it’s another place to watch!

    In fact, I just looked…”Cage Free” and “Unruly Reindeer” are there right now. I’ll bet the rest are on their way!

  3. 75Heather says:

    So fun! I think I’m definitely going to have to get some of that birdcage fabric. And I must make some throw pillows out of Unruly Reindeer before next Christmas. =D

  4. karen says:

    WOW. Thanks Pam for sharing this news. Sewing is my #1 hobby (and etsy business) so I will definitely be buying some of these designs!

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