March 13, 2006
A few people have asked about the Harry Potter fabric I used in my latest quilt, so I figure there are at least a few more who did not ask but would like to know, so here we go. First, where to buy it: eBay. As far as I know, the only officially licensed HP fabrics were those produced by Springs Industries in 2001 and 2002. All are now out of print, but there are plenty of pieces available on eBay. (Some of which are labeled “RARE” when they quite clearly aren’t. I don’t know if these sellers really think the fabric is scarce or if they’re trying to trick ignorant/gullible buyers into bidding more.)
When this fabric was new, I remember eQuilter mentioning in their newsletter that their initial stock had sold out but they’d be getting more. I didn’t care; I wasn’t paying much attention to the Potterverse back then. When I did start paying attention, it was only reasonable that I start collecting the fabric, at least the cottons appropriate for quilting. Here’s what I’ve found:
Harry with wand panel (Springs #9189). The usable portion of the panel is approximately 34 by 44 inches. The rope border, letters, and wand swoosh are all highlighted with gold glitter. (Detail view here.)
Scattered shields (#9193). The biggest shield is about 1-1/2 by 2-1/4 inches. In between the house shields are silhouettes of quidditch players and the words Beater, Seeker, Chaser, and Keeper, and all of it is sprinkled with silver glitter.
Initials (#9194). The two letters together are around 1 inch wide. Like the scattered shields, this print has overall silver glitter.
Harry and the snitch (#9195). The largest Harry is about 6 inches tall. There’s gold glitter on this one, but only in the background, not on Harry or the stars and snitches.
Pillow panels (#9196). The red square is about 15-3/4 inches on a side. The Hogwarts shield and rope design are accented with gold glitter, as are the house shields, even Slytherin (though it has less than the other houses). The initials background matches fabric #9194, though here it is not all glittery.
Harlequin shields (#9197). The shields are approximately 1-3/4 by 2-1/2 inches, and all but Slytherin have gold glitter accents. Like the pillow panels above, Ravenclaw is neither book (blue/bronze) nor movie (blue/silver) colors. The diamond background matches the Harry with wand panel.
Hedwig (no number on my piece). Owl is about 2 inches tall. This is the prettiest of the lot because the swirls are highlighted with iridescent glitter. I am not sure why Hedwig is shown wearing a necklace of red pearls–possibly she was annoyed people kept referring to her as “him”.
Based on the numbers, look, and subject matter, I believe the seven fabrics listed above were in the first group of HP yard goods, produced to coincide with the release of the Sorcerer’s Stone movie in 2001. The ones I’ll detail below seem to be from a later group from around the time Chamber of Secrets came out in 2002.
The Burrow and flying car (#5775). The house is about 4 inches high, not including the green grass section. Unlike the others, this print has no glitter.
Polyjuice potion (#5777). The cauldron is about 1 inch square. Ingredients named and/or illustrated include fluxweed, knotgrass, lacewing flies, shredded skin of boomslang, and powdered horn of bicorn. This print has allover silver glitter.
Flying car and owl (#5778). This, too has allover silver glitter. The car is about 3 inches wide by 1-1/2 inches tall.
Pixies (no 4-digit number on my piece). Harry is about 5 inches tall. There’s, silver glitter in the background, but not on Harry, Hermione, and Ron. This is the one I had the hardest time getting a hold of–it seems to come up for auction less often than the other prints.
One thing I’ve seen up for auction but haven’t bought and thus can’t share a picture of is a panel of Harry escaping the Dursleys’ house in the flying car, similar to the same scene depicted in the burrow fabric. There are plenty of theses panels out there, so I figure if I ever have a hankering to make a quilt with one, I’ll just buy it then. Since the escape panel is oriented landscape (i.e. wider than it is long), I think it would be harder to incorporate into a bed quilt than the Harry with wand panel. Not that hard, but not something I’m itching to try anytime soon, either.
There’s another panel I’ve only seen up for sale once. That one featured the flying car and Hedwig–similar to the image in fabric #5778–and had an odd wide white border at one end. I have seen that same design on a sheet, but with the car pointing the other way, so maybe that panel was raw material for a sheet set, possibly the pillowcase? I haven’t bought any of the bedding, so I’m not sure how the thread count differs from the fabric intended for home sewers–that might have been a clue (if I’d bid on the panel and won it, that is). The weave on all the HP fabric I have bought is a little looser than top-quality quilt shop fabric, but not so loose that I didn’t want to work with it at all (obvious if you’ve looked at the pictures in the last entry). I haven’t bought any of the fleece or flannel, either, though some people do use them in quilts, I’m not one of them (yet, anyway), so I don’t know what that’s like as far as quality goes.
I’ve also seen auctions billed as Harry Potter fabric that seem like random wizardy stuff, not officially licensed designs. I haven’t bought any of this or even e-mailed the sellers to inquire about what the selvages say, since I have quite enough HP fabric in stock to meet my quilting needs for the forseeable future.