I love to find these beautiful, vintage pillow covers. They tend to be about 100 years old and created in the early 1900’s during an era called, Society Silk. Many of these use silk floss and came in a kit with a pre-tinted linen, just as our kits come today. What makes these very special to me are the quirky sayings and silk threads that were used. I quilt these on a Handi Quilter Fusion, longarm.
This the the original cover. I removed the backing, which was a depression era, green linen.
I’m pretty sure the maker would be mortified if she knew she missed a spot. The magenta stitch is hers, the satin stitching would have gone over it to give some padding.
When placing designs on cloth, I use a blue, water soluble pen. I only make registration marks and try to do the smallest bit of them. A great tip for removing the blue marks, mix 1 heaping teaspoon of baking soda to one cup of water. Put in a spray bottle and marks disappear, forever! At least I’ve had no reappearing marks since I’ve used this method!
I usually don’t have a big plan for these pieces until I begin them. I let them ‘talk’ to me while I stitch and they usually SCREAM at some point! 😉
I use my rulers for all straight lines. The longer one is great for ditch stitching and long runs and then the smaller, Palm ruler, is super for short lengths.
The maker on this piece did some luscious embroidery!
I use these notched rulers for guiding me around the embroidery.
Viola’! Another great finish! I adore these pieces and hope you’ve enjoyed the beauty and re-purpose also!
While teaching and traveling in Australia this last February, I was given quite a few lovely pieces of handwork and Aussie fabrics. I have them all hanging in my studio and a few weeks ago I was inspired to create something special with two of the pieces.
On my longarm I have a backing, then Hobbs 80/20 batting, then the super cute, Koala background fabric. At this point, I ran an edge to edge design over the background fabric, THEN, laid the two doilies on top of the fabric.
Let’s start at the beginning and I’ll take you through the process. Under each linen I added a single layer of Hobbs 80/20 batting to give an extra loft. It also hides the print that is under the doily. I cut the batting larger than the doily and trim it away after I have quilted the linen.
I stabilize the piece by “ditch” stitching around the inside edge of the crocheted trim. I leave that scant 1/8″ so that I can trim away the batting later. You’ll see what happens when I finish quilting. I quilt on a Handi Quilter Fusion and here I am using the “Glide” foot. It is almost a necessity when stitching lace and embroideries. You can see it glides right over all the thickness.
At this point I will stitch around ALL the embroidery. I never stitch over the handwork, but around everything! It gives the piece great definition and pops it right out of the linen. Deciding on the design usually comes as I am outlining all of the embroidery. You can see the spine I have created for the eventual feathers. I like to use a blue, water soluble pen for marking. (TIP: to remove blue marks completely and seemingly forever, mix 1 t baking soda to 1 cup of water, place in a spray bottle. This mix must be fresh each day it is used.)
I trimmed the batting to the inside edge of the trim crochet, using a curved pair tiny, sharp scissors. My favorites are a simple pair of cuticle scissors!
After the batting is trimmed, I lay down the crochet and stitch the outside edge to cover any of the batting that might have not been precisely trimmed. It always covers that raw edge of batting.
You can see here how much stitching I put into the embroidery.
The full piece was taken off the frame and split in half, therefore, creating both sides for the tote bag. I made both sides a bit different. I also TEA stained the pieces once I had the quilting done to make the fabric match the age of the linen. This really made the whole thing come together!
Next, I sewed the halves together and also made a lining WITH a pocket for the inside.
Handles were added, also tea stained.
And there you have it! A new tote bag made by repurposing an antique linen. It’s also a fabulous reminder of the great friends I made in Australia! (Special thanks to Lynne for the handwork and Caroline for the fabric!)
I hope this post helped to see the process for some of the bits of handwork we all have hiding in our drawers. Try it, you’ll become a lover of vintage repurposing!
This is a small project I’m doing for a friend. She will be doing a giveaway next month and I’ll be sure to report back and show the final piece when she’s ready! You may want to follow Stephanie Palmer at Late Night Quilter 🙂
When I say small, I mean the linen was tiny! All of 5″ square. I almost didn’t choose this piece, but I’m glad I did. This was a drawn threadwork coaster. I used a satin backing and placed the linen in the middle.
I used my rulers for the piano key border before I began the inside work.
I stitched an inside line, then pinned back the outer edge so I could finish the border.
Once I have the border finished, I start the work on the inside. I also put a shiny little piece of costume fabric underneath the linen. It’s amazing what a tiny bit of sparkle will do for one of these pieces!
I’ll add a few beads, mat and frame this piece. I’ll be sure to show you the whole thing when I can! Until then, happy quilting!
This started out in the bottom of a bag full of linens. I guess it might have been a dresser scarf, probably with a set that had larger pieces. It’s only 6″ x 12″, so quilting it was a challenge to stay small and compact.
I used two layers of batting, 80/20 and wool. On top of the batting is a piece of gold lame, to show through the tiny cut work. First things first, I stitched around the outer scallop edge.
I also do a VERY quick sketch. I don’t like to mark on the fabric. If I need to, I might make some registration dots with a purple air erase pen or a water soluble blue pen.
There you go! The fun thing about small is it’s also fast. This piece might have taken an hour, but what a mighty little thing it turned out to be!
Even that tiny bit of gold that peeks through is perfect! You can really see where my outer stitch is in this picture, just inside the scalloped border edge.
Then I take some very small scissors (I like fingernail scissors!) and trim to the stitching line on the back. The raw edge won’t matter on this one because it will be matted and framed.
TA DA! SO cute! I used acid free, double stick tape to mount it on acid free matboard. I cut my own mats, so I’m never too concerned about the size of the finished linen piece. I do, however, try to make the total mat a standard size to fit in a standard frame. Otherwise, you’ll be spending way too much for something so small!
A great finish that ended up in a friends’ home. I love to give these away. They are a small piece of me!
I’m on a hankie kick! I realized, everybody has them, many collect them, and grandma left a LOT of them!
Yes, these are all hankies! Unbelievable really. The variety is stunning! This entire quilt was created on the long arm. I started with a 1950’s tablecloth, quilted a nice circle meander over the whole thing, then began a sort of applique on top of the quilted tablecloth.
I started with laying it out on the floor, placing each “block”, and then using a blue water erase pen to mark where they would all go. I also numbered each hankie with the corresponding place on the tablecloth.
I actually started with the middle square and worked out. I used a mix of computer designs and my own free motion. Under each hankie is a piece of white fabric and another piece of batting. I also double batted the tablecloth, so there’s a lot of batting on this quilt!
Now, imagine these were your grandmother’s hankies, put away in a trunk or dresser drawer for years. Wouldn’t it be fabulous to put them on display?
My home state, Kansas. I realized there really aren’t many rivers across Kansas, especially when I needed more quilting lines! I let each hankie take on it’s own personality. Enjoy the show!
If you are a lover and quilter, or wanna be quilter, of vintage linens, join our Facebook group Quilting Vintage! for inspiration and support, and always, always, ALWAYS…..sign and date your work! Your great grandchildren will thank you!
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!