I often scroll through Pinterest in the evenings, admiring quilts, embroideries and crafts in general. I came across some ‘name’ pillows and decided that’s exactly what my granddaughter needed for her new bed. I don’t know about you, but when I see something I like or get a new idea, I MUST make it immediately! I love to make a pillow directly on my long arm, so this photo heavy post will cater to the longarmmer, however, you can sure do this on your regular sewing machine. The first thing I did was free hand draw the letters onto freezer paper. With the shiny side down, I ironed the letters onto the fabric.
Next, I added a layer of fusible interfacing to the back of the fabric, then I cut everything at the same time. This way, I can iron my letters to the background fabric and I’m ready for handstitching the edges.
I spent a few evenings, using a buttonhole stitch and pearl cotton to embroider the letters. I love the background fabric! A hand dyed piece I found somewhere on my travels.
The background piece is about 20″ x 30″. I basted around the perimeter of the piece so I have a nice frame and area to do the quilting. I used one layer of Hobbs 80/20 and Glide 40 wt. thread.
I use my notched rulers to outline around the applique before I set off on the free motion quilting. I had a blast doing a whimsical, free flowing design.
Yes! I quilt every tiny space, yikes!
You can see I added a stitch line at the halfway mark. This way I will be able to easily add the fringe and have a cut line to split the pillow.
Can you believe I found this perfectly matching fringe at my local Hobby Lobby! I couldn’t believe the colors were so perfect and who doesn’t love fun fringe!
I used the horizontal channel locks on my long arm to stitch down the fringe. Of course, this could all be done on your regular sewing machine, but I try to do everything I possibly can on the long arm so that when I take it off, it’s just assembly!
Now that the fringe is all stitched, I’m ready to take it off the frame and give it the old, ‘right sides together’!
You can see how easily it split apart.
Right sides together now and I’ll take it over to my sewing machine. I will tell you, it takes a bit of thought. I kept repeating to myself, ‘right sides together, inside out’, things like that.
As I worked on this pillow I thought, how much fun would Junie have if she had a treasure pocket! Juniper is a treasure LOVER and a pretty good treasure hunter. SOOO, I created an envelope with a secret pocket underneath. Hopefully you can follow my photos to see what happened!
I stitched on ready made patches for some fun!
The most special part is this secret pocket under the false envelope that ONLY Juniper will know about! 😉
There you have it! What a fun project that can be completed pretty quickly. I think any child would love this. I hope you’ll give it a try!
CONGRATULATIONS TO Queen of Fifty Cents!!! I don’t know your name, or who you are, but you are the winner and I love your thrifty blog! (please email me with your address and I’ll get those in the mail) Comment #122 out of 481 comments this weekend! I read each one of your comments and loved them. You inspire me to get quilting!! What I did find out is that we all have LOTS OF UFO’s and we ALL want more time in a day to sew!
Thanks to all of you who entered and follow my blog, Facebook or Instagram page. I believe in paying it forward, sharing ideas and learning from each other. Isn’t that what we are all here for?! Have a fabulous year of quilting and try something new. Until the next project, happy quilting!
I FINALLY have a video made on how to use my rulers at a sit down machine. Remember, it’s purely home grown with the hubs filming over my shoulder!! In honor of this amazing feat, I’m giving away a set of my rulers, for longarm or sit down machine use. In the comments below, tell me your sewing goal for 2018. Mine? Sew MORE!
I’ll draw a random name on Sunday evening, Jan.7, about 8ish. If you just can’t wait, these RULERS can be ordered here on my website. I also have another ruler set (sorry, not this giveaway), specifically made for longarmmers, check out these RULERS too!
****There is also a fabulous YouTube video I’ve just watched by Bernina on the use of a ruler foot. If you are still confused, this is a great tutorial!!! Bernina #72 Ruler Foot
Check with your dealer for a ruler foot before attempting to use rulers. Most machines are adaptable to this technique.
What to do with all those scraps? I’ve got loads of fabric scraps and even more embroidered linens that I’ve collected. I will admit it’s hard to cut into perfectly fine handwork, but much of it has been used and tattered over the years. I pulled out a few old dish towels that had seen better days, cut out the handwork, and went to town creating some new placemats. I used reproduction print scraps to give these an authentic era feel, but you can use anything you have laying around. They sew up fast and are super cute when finished.
Really, not much life left in the dish towel! I cut out the corner for a great save.
Another great piece of handwork. I did add a piece of fusible interfacing to the back of each towel for stability.
I had to have this one! An embroidered “K’ on a printed dishtowel.
At this point, I dumped out my scraps and began to randomly stitch them together, creating strips that could easily be sewn to the embroidered pieces.
Once I had these pieced, I trimmed them to the same size, about 14″ x 17″.
I collect old tablecloths to use as backings on many of my quilts. I thought it might be appropriate to use this vintage tablecloth as the backing for the placemats, staying within the kitchen theme.
I used a simple crosshatch design on each placemat and was able to place them side by side on my longarm machine.
I cut them apart, sewed on the binding, and viola!!! A great way to re-purpose handwork. I used a double batting layer of Hobbs 80/20 and Glide 40 wt thread. I hope you’ll give these a try, they are quick and fun! Happy New Year everyone!
I came across a vintage hankie this summer that I knew I needed to quilt! Feel free to use this image if you’d like to wish a quilter Happy Birthday. It seems appropriate!
I adore old quilt tops. Antique, vintage, ancient, or old, whatever you like to call them! They are cool! A lot of the attraction for me is the fabrics from the early 1900’s. I can spend hours just looking over ever part of an old quilt. The technique also attracts me. Simply cut with scissors, most likely patterned around a piece of cardboard, then often hand stitched piece by tiny piece to create a WHOLE quilt! I’m astounded by it all!
I stopped at an antique store, Fleas An Tiques, in Independence, KS, last week and found this treasure. It was half price! I absolutely had to have it for $12.50! I’m going to take you through the process from found treasure to a usable quilt. I always feel the maker is smiling down on me when the quilt is finished!
I knew right away from the musty smell that it would need a bath! Most of these old tops I can’t even touch or work on the machine until I have soaked them overnight. I have a terrible mold allergy! I first soaked this one in Retro Clean, which can be found on Amazon or sometimes in quilt or antique shops. It will take out age stains, yellowing, and give the fabrics a general brightening. You notice I said SOAK, not wash! Never agitate a top that hasn’t been quilted, you will have massive amount of fraying and you take the chance that the whole top will fall apart.
Retro Clean will only take out stains, not the mold and mildew. This one had a second day soak in an ammonia water bath. I mix 1 part ammonia to 5 parts water. Except for bleach (which you wouldn’t want to use), ammonia is the only thing I know of to actually remove mold spores. I do this soak for another 24 hours at least. There have been times I’ve had to do a 2 or 3 day ammonia soak because a top is so mildewed. My nose never lies!
After a multiple rinse, I gently squish out all the water I can, then take it to the grass. Yes, smack dab on top of the grass! The ozone rays of the sun and the chlorophyll in the grass will brighten and whiten a fabric. I give that about a day in the sunshine.
This top is a mix of feedsacks, shirt cottons, and just your average bits of clothing. You can almost see the worn blouses, pants, baby blankets, and family wardrobes that are mixed together in a quilt like this. That’s the fun! I swear I even see the fabric from my grandpa’s boxer shorts! Can you imagine not having the fabric resources that we have now? This reminds me that life was certainly different 100 years ago! Women were frugal and used every bit of what they already had. I’m sure my closet alone could make a dozen quilts!
You can see from the back that someone worked diligently on the piecing. Would we even begin to piece a quilt top by hand? I find hand stitching to be mesmerizing and intriguing. Hand piecing does cause a few issues in modern day machine quilting, but nothing that can’t be worked out!
I do give these tops as good a press as possible, always from the top. There really is no way to press as we do nowadays, seams pressed a certain direction. I try to get them as flat as possible, always using a good spray starch.
There are also the random holes. Since these are not collectible, heirloom quilt tops, I am usually looking for a quick fix. I use a piece of fusible interfacing and any piece of cotton to make a patch on the underside.
Once I’ve soaked, shined, fixed and pressed, it’s finally time for the quilting. Let’s go!
I load a backing on my longarm, a Handi Quilter Fusion with Pro-Stitcher computer. On these particularly wavy tops, I usually choose a 100% polyester batting, this one is Hobbs brand. The fluff of the polyester tends to fill in the excess fabric, eliminating any stitched in wrinkles.
The next important tool is my Glide foot by Handi Quilter! I couldn’t quilt so many of the things I quilt if I didn’t have this foot! It’s magic for me! On these lumpy, bumpy, uneven tops, this foot glides over everything. It’s easy on, easy off with a quick flip of my allen wrench. I can pop my regular hopping foot on at any time.
I start by basting a horizontal line across the top of the quilt using the channel locks on my machine. This locks the machine in a horizontal position. I manipulate the top with one hand while moving the machine with the other.
After I have a line across the top, then I do a vertical line down both sides. Once again, I use the option on my machine called a vertical lock. I manipulate the fabric as much as possible to the vertical line. Both of these locks will square the quilt as much as possible while it’s on the frame.
I keep a spray bottle of water at my side, using it to spray the top, keeping it pliable and easily manipulated.
Another tip, when choosing a design for these busy tops, choose an all over design. Custom quilting on anything like this is really not even possible and would be lost. I look for a dense and flowing design, something that will secure a lot of seams and give the quilt strength. On these beauties, I’m looking for some great texture. I chose a digital design by Susan Mallett, called “Paisley”.
While I’m working each row, I often run into excess fabric that can actually be flattened with a good can of spray starch and a steam iron. You can see a quick video here on how I do that, but simply, spray your starch over the fabric, then run a steam iron (mine is a cordless Panasonic) over the area. You will see almost an immediate tightening of the fabrics. FYI, this only works on cottons.
The last row definitely tells the true shape of the quilt. Sometimes, you can try as hard as you might, but you can’t make a wonky quilt, square. I get very close though 😉
I did one more soak in ammonia water after the quilting. I realized when I started to put on the binding that I had used an estate sale fabric for the backing, which meant mold and mildew. I couldn’t work with it again until I soaked that fabric! Dang!!
Finally, I stitched on the binding. I usually don’t tell anyone this, but binding may be my favorite part of the quilt. Honestly, I love to hand stitch.
I hope you were inspired by this post to finish an old quilt. If everyone reading this did just one, think how many quilts we would have!!! Have a wonderful day!
I LOVE parts and pieces of vintage linens! Most of us have doilies, embroideries, old quilt parts and various linens from our mothers, grandmothers, aunts and maybe just found treasures from long ago. I’ll take you on a “how to” journey so that you might be able to bring those pieces out of their drawers and make them into something usable and memorable. Let’s go!
This particular piece began with an unfinished block of applique. I was given a bag of treasures from a friend, who felt that I would be the best ‘keeper’ of her grandmothers’ linens. I would guess these fabrics to be from the 1930’s or 40’s. Baskets with flowers have long been a popular pattern for quilters. When I find a one block wonder, it makes me think the maker made one and then said, “boy I’ll never do that again!” LOL!!
This block is about 20″ square. It was relatively clean so there was no need to give it a bath. If a piece has stains, I like to give it a soak in Retro Clean. You can see from my work table that I am NOT a tidy girl. I usually have multiple projects going at the same time! Plus, I like to pull out everything that might work with a piece.
The first thing I knew for sure, was that I wanted to use a bag of reproduction fabrics I had picked up at a garage sale. Yes, 5o cents for all this!!
I always like to share the back of a piece because you see the real work of the original maker.
I started by cutting 4 strips that are 1 1/2″ wide. I wanted a simple border using colors from the appliqued flowers. These are not the same fabrics, but they blend nicely.
I also wanted to bring in some of the hundreds of doilies I own. Who has doilies?? I’m guessing LOTS of you! Seems our ancestors loved to crochet, tat, and do all sorts of lace work. I will be the first to admit that I will never use them all in my lifetime, but I do admire them and the hours of work that someone put into making them!
I put them around the perimeter of the block and cut them, yes, I cut them. Trust me, it’s OK! Lightening will not strike you 😉
I sprayed each doily with some 505 temporary baste spray. This way they would stay where I placed them until I could get them sewn onto the block.
With right sides together, I stitched the border to the block, catching in the doilies.
Working around the piece, I stitched each strip to make a frame around the block and envelope the doilies.
I put a total of three small borders to frame this piece. I ditch stitched them on my domestic machine and then put the piece on my longarm to do the quilting. Any of this work can be done on a domestic or longarm machine, but I wanted to try out my new, notched rulers, so I worked on the longarm to finish this piece. These rulers are ONLY for use on the longarm because the hopping foot nestles in the notch of the ruler and gives complete control around the applique shapes.
Before I start to free motion quilt anything, I stabilize the entire piece by outlining each and every applique and embroidered line. This gives definition to the block. Now I’m ready for the fun, quilting!
This photo shows the definition created when the outlining is finished. While I outlined, I also went into a few of the flower centers and leaves. I always to try to work in an area while I’m there, that way there are less starts and stops and I am able to do a continuous stitch line.
Here are a few technical details of this piece. I quilt on a Handi Quilter Fusion, longarm machine. I used a layer of Hobbs Heirloom 80/20 batting and my thread is Glide, 60 wt, color Cream, by Fil-Tec.
At this point, I changed to the Glide foot. This may be my most used tool! It glides over crochet, applique, anything that is not flat on the surface. A few other machine brands have their version of this foot. Check with your dealer to see if your machine has one! Even on my Bernina, I have a disc type foot that I think they call an echo foot. This can be used with great ease over doilies and embroideries.
I used my favorite pebble, spiral mix and when the entire piece was finished, I added a few pearls and glass beads to pull down the trim edges. I rarely stitch down an edge as I like to save that for embellishing.
When I make the back of a pillow, I also use batting to give the finished pillow a sturdy structure.
I put together a few pieces of fabric, sandwiched with batting and a piece of muslin for the backing, then quilted on my domestic machine with a random wave. I think it makes a great texture and is super simple!
I’ve made an envelope pillow with this one. If you’ve not seen that done, check YouTube for a tutorial. They are super easy and go together almost quicker than a regular pillow. Put the right sides together and then stitch around the perimeter.
Turn inside out and there you have it! A usable, beautiful, heirloom pillow, with possibly a lot of sentimental value if you’ve used your family treasures!
I used a Hobbs pillow form for a very quick fill!
I hope this inspires you to pull some things out of your drawers and closets and create something to use from your parts and pieces of vintage linens. There is a challenge and a thrill that come from these creations. More than anything else, HAVE FUN!
I’m so excited to share my two new rulers! You can watch the video to see how I use them. They can be ordered on the tab, Notch Rulers. I am SUPER excited with the control and accuracy I can achieve with them. I hope you’ll give them a try!
I LOVE this quilt by Victoria Findlay Wolfe! It is currently being exhibited at the Festival of Quilts in the U.K. The exhibit is called, “Victoria Findlay Wolfe:Traditions Made Modern”. I’m so excited for Victoria and the adventures she is having. How cool to have an entire exhibit with your name on it!!! You go girl!!
I quilted this quilt for her last summer and had forgotten about it until it showed up in my Facebook feed this morning! What a surprise! It’s hanging in Birmingham, UK, August 10-13. I hope some of you will be visiting what looks to be a fabulous show!
Victoria and I met a few years ago when she visited my quilt guild in Lawrence, KS, and also did a workshop. I typically sew the way she does, improvisational and never follow a pattern! I loved her workshop and always try to get in ’15 minutes of play’ when I’m home and near my machine.
She had asked me to quilt this quilt in the spirit of artist, Matisse. I had SO much fun with each area, using bits and pieces from his artwork.
It’s such an interesting quilt and you’ll need to see it close up to really understand the Matisse influence.
There was an incredible amount of ruler work on this one, but then again, I LOVE ruler work, so WIN WIN!!
I hope you will get to see this in person one day. It’s just fun! Have a lovely weekend folks, especially those of you attending the Festival of Quilts.
Just what you’ve asked for and so many have waited for! Finally, a video that shows you how I approach quilting vintage linens on the longarm. Thanks to Handi Quilter, who recently filmed a 45 minute segment on this process. I hope you enjoy the episode and don’t hesitate to ask questions. If you are interested in my rulers or lectures/workshops, find those tabs for more information. Thanks for visiting!