Society Silk Strawberries, Quilted!

I am seriously obsessed! I love these vintage society silk embroidered pieces and had the perfect gift in mind when I found this special linen from my favorite KS Ebay seller! I use them right from the package,  knowing that once the quilting is finished, the creases will never show.

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The next step is basting around the edges. I keep my fingers really close to the hopping foot to get right inside the outer edge of embroidery. I probably wouldn’t suggest this to everyone, it’s tricky!

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I use two layers of batting, 80/20 Hobbs Heirloom on the bottom and 100% Hobbs wool on the top. This gives the piece a nice “pouf” and will automatically look like trapunto!

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I also do a quick sketch in my notebook. I am not one to sketch on the piece, not knowing what our high tech pens will do in the long run. I do love the purple air pens for a few registration marks, but that’s about it! So yes, it is all free form and free motion quilting!

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The finish! These are “squeeze” pieces between large customer quilts and only take a few hours. I never know what they will look like when finished. I have some focus area in my mind and take off from there! I also sewed in my name and did use the purple pen for that. I didn’t trust my free motion on letters. A few close ups are next!

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This piece had a few small stains. Probably no one else would see them, but I would always know they are there. I took an afternoon to soak the finished piece in Retro Clean, out on the patio in the super sunlight. It turned out sparkling white and the silk embroidery isn’t affected at all.

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The big question now is “how do you finish?” I trim to the back edge, mount on acid free matboard, cut a mat and frame!

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My mom followed my progress on Facebook on this piece and loved it! So glad, since she got it for her 75th birthday yesterday ūüėČ Finished frame size is 18″ x 24″. Hope you enjoyed the journey!

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Beautiful on my mom’s wall!


OKLAHOMA! Society Silk Embroidery

I purchased this pillow cover from an antique dealer in California. What a terrific find! We lived a wonderful 15 years in Oklahoma. I was born there, my children were born there. Sentimentally, it’s fabulous!

Oklahoma original

As I collect these pieces I find that many are unfinished or minimally embroidered. I always wonder what interrupted the maker. Did they get ill, pass, become disinterested in the project. ¬†Nowadays, we might call these UFO’s (unfinished objects)! Nonetheless, they are wonderful examples of handwork history. On a piece like this it doesn’t matter too much. I know I’ll stitch it to eternity and beyond, so you’ll never miss the embroidery!


The first thing I do is baste the pillow around the edges. I’m using a double batting, 80/20 Hobbs Heirloom on the bottom and washable wool on the top. It makes for quite a “pouf”, but the quilting calms the whole. It’s a bit scary in the beginning and can drag the machine slightly.


The fun begins after everything is outlined. I start the design process with things I know I want for sure. Then the piece begins to “talk” and before you know, VIOLA!!


The leaves were very wispy, so I knew I had to do a bit of McTavishing. The greenery of the embroidery made me think of the garden, so I decided it needed a trellis of sorts.


I love how this almost 100 year old pillow was made modern! Enjoy the rest of the show!



Before and after!




I plan to do a very tiny binding in a green satin. My sweet hubs will make me a small wood frame for the backing and it will hang proudly on my wall.  Someday I may sell some of my pieces, but not just yet!


Another “Society Silk” Rose!

If you follow my blog you know I am obsessed by quilting vintage linens. My favorite being “silk society” embroideries. This particular piece was very old and fragile, most likely late 1800’s or early 1900’s.

I used two layers of batting and began by outlining around the original embroidery.

The initial stitching is a bit overwhelming with two batting layers! I almost regretted the layers, that puff is scary as a quilter!! Once I started quilting it calmed down and became something spectacular very quickly.

The final piece is stunning if I do say so myself! I quilted to the outer edge and plan to cut away the backing, mat and frame. One more piece of gorgeous handwork, salvaged!!

“Golden Oldie” Collage

I hardly ever have a chance to quilt for myself, so I decided it was time for a small linen. I started with a 34″ square, drawn thread linen piece from my stash.

I’m so glad I have this wrinkled before shot so you can see the magic that happens. ¬†Next, I chose this great “silk society” round (about 10″ in diameter), that I had found in an antique shop.

I always try to do a quick sketch of my plan. Trust me, it’s nothing fancy!

Then the magic begins! I may put in a few registration lines with a blue, water erasable pen, and then I start quilting. I first attached the round embroidered piece in the center by quilting around the edges and outlining the butterfly/heart motifs. I didn’t want to compromise the piece too much, so I kept it simple. The initials in the middle are amazingly stitched and I wanted them to really stand on their own! Those ladies of yesteryear were meticulous in their stitching. I can’t stop admiring the handwork!

Underneath the drawn threadwork I placed a piece of gold lame to make it really pop! The silk embroidery is so pronounced and I wanted to compliment the golds in the thread.

After 10 hours of quilting, here is the big TA-DA!! I cannot tell you how pleased I am with this beauty!

OH, don’t forget the stitched butterflies! These are very subtle, but I like to mimic something from the original linen and this was perfect!




I finished this with an ivory satin binding, added a few crystals and viola!! Enjoy!


Quilted “Society Silk” Pansies!

Society Silk Embroidery | February 3, 2015 | By

OH, how I love this piece!!  I found it recently on Ebay, from a seller named Melanie….THANK YOU MELANIE!!!  I asked for the history and she said it was from an Italian area of western New York.  I always like to know where a vintage piece originates!  

I have oodles of vintage, embroidered pieces just waiting for me, but this one spoke especially LOUD and made it’s way to the machine over the weekend.  I’m so glad it did!
What is Silk Society embroidery?  “Society Silk” or “Silk Society” refers to the Royal Society of Embroidery.  The Silk Society produced the silk thread and the embroidery patterns.  The Silk Society also promoted the cottage industry of producing fine embroidered pieces.  Favored by the “Society” women of the early 1900’s, these are some of the finest examples of embroidery.  Strawberries and roses were some of the most popular patterns.  I have collected quite a few rose patterns, but have not seen anything to date as beautiful as these pansies!
Even in its original state I found it breathtaking!  This is how it began, straight out of the package.
The magic begins…..
There is some staining, but once I get it all stitched it’s very hard to notice.  I am still toying with a “Retro Clean” gentle bath.  
I pressed it very gently, but once I baste all the edges it becomes very smooth.
I don’t do any drawing or sketching on these, I just let them speak and work my way through or around the embroidery.  I outlined all of the flowers and then did a beautiful, whimsical feather in the center.  I try not to overuse feathers, but these elegant linens SAY they want feathers.  Crazy linens!
There you have it!  The rest was easy, a few more feathers, fill, and outlining the embroidery.
The handwork is stunning!  The ladies of yesteryear BLOW ME AWAY!  I mean seriously, their embroidery skills were amazing.  
Here are a few close up of the corners.  I may put a few beads on this one and I’ve chosen a burgundy, satin binding.
Finished size is 21″ square and I will proudly hang it on my wall when finished.  I’m SO lucky to have found this beauty!

1920’s Vintage “Society Silk Embroidery”, Quilted!

Society Silk Embroidery | January 21, 2015 | By

My forever favorite quilting is vintage linens! ¬†Oh how I love to bring them alive! ¬†I found this society silk embroidered linen in an antique store a few months ago for $18. ¬†I finally had an afternoon to quilt for myself so this is what I quilted. ¬†Here are a few “before” pictures.

The handwork and lacework is just amazing.  It was originally a pillowcase and came with the original green satin underlay.Here are a few pictures of the back so you can see the stitching.  So precise!  Those women of yesteryear, WOW!!
 The finish is spectacular and changes everything about this piece.  I am spending a few evenings doing some minimal beading to bring down a bit of the puff and add to the shine of the whole.
Finished size is 21″ square and will eventually become a wall hanging. ¬†Ready to find that next treasure!
I finally finished the binding! It took forever to find the right color as I wanted to stick with that early 1900’s green. I ended up with a 1/2″ satin ribbon. It was a little tedious to stitch, but in the end I love the tiny edge!

Vintage Kansas Pillow Cover, 1920’s

I found this antique pillow cover in my favorite central Kansas antique shop last spring, D. Palma & Co. Mercantile.  I fell in love with it! A huge thanks to my cousin, Bonnie Fisher, who had found it in the first place and had it in her booth.


It is hand embroidered with silk floss, which gives it that nice sheen. ¬†A great example of an early 1900’s embroidery called “society silk embroidery”. At first glance you might think that the word, KANSAS, is in two different colors, but actually the red floss has worn off over the years, revealing the thread underneath.


It has a few stains, but once I quilted it they all but disappeared!!





As a Kansas girl, this will be my forever treasure!  A brand new look to a piece that could have been lost.  What would the maker think of it now?  I hope she would be pleased!



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