I’m pretty surprised I’ve never made a stocking out of a vintage quilt before, because it seems like something that would be right up my alley. When I was thinking about what kind of stocking I wanted to make for Cirilia, who is my son’s girlfriend, I initially thought I might try knitting, since she is a famous knit designer. I soon realized that was a crazy idea because I am a knitting novice, and do not have the experience to make the type elaborate patterns I am attracted to. Then I remembered an online interview where Cirilia mentioned to the interviewer that she loved old, soft quilts, and that cinched it for me.
To make the stocking, I purchased a 1930s era feedsack quilt piece that had a nice jadeite green border (the Etsy seller, Chenille Bliss, has another piece of the quilt available with some different feedsacks, which would also make a great stocking). I used 3 colors of red and pink floss to embroider Cirilia’s name on the quilt border, stitched a vintage Vogart rose appliqué on a green square (Rose is her last name), and also embroidered a running stitch inside each of the quilt squares. To add more strength, there is interfacing sandwiched between the quilt and the reproduction fabric lining. The bias binding is a vintage scrap from my stash that just matched the green in the quilt.
The background quilt is one I recently posted about, made from a piece of a vintage crazy quilt top sent to me by my friend, Patty. It is machine quilted in the ditch around the inside and outside of each block border, and then tied with red floss. The back is a cute floral feedsack.
Best & Co. was a New York company founded in 1879 by Albert Best, and was initially named the “Liliputian Bazaar.” This 1953 catalog still references the original name with a funny illustration of a hand holding some very tiny children. I had never heard of Best & Co., probably because all of the stores were located on the east coast. The dresses for sale in this catalog, however, are very familiar, and I remember wearing similar styles (or at least have seen myself wearing them in old photos), because I was 6 years old in 1953.
The catalog contains fashions for children of all ages — babies, toddlers, girls and boys, “sub-teens,” and teens. Today I am posting the baby and toddler clothing, which are my favorites. Click on the thumbnails a couple of times to enlarge.
Laura Wheeler Wall Hanging
Needlecraft Services, 1942
16″ x 20″
This is one of those unusual patterns where the main pattern (the sunburst) appears only when you sew the blocks together. Click a couple of times on the image below to enlarge it to the original size (28″ x 17″).
I love this pattern, and I think the construction is interesting, but it’s pretty tricky to join 16 seams together in a point, and for me it’s even trickier when the point is formed at the intersection of 4 blocks. Also, I’m not crazy about the edges in this layout, which have the appearance of half blocks. If I were making this quilt, I would stitch the block with the sunburst in the middle, sew the blocks together with a single row of pieced sashing to complete the nine patches, and then, on the outside edges, I would add one more row of sashing like this:
Here is a 1958 newspaper ad for this pattern. Although the mail order pattern only identifies the quilt as Design 712, the newspaper ad refers to it as a Sunburst Quilt.
UPDATE: Check out this great version of the Sunburst pattern by Chris (chrisquilts.blogspot.com.au) — she calls hers “Scrappy Windmills.” You can order Chris’s pattern from her Etsy shop Patchwork Fun.
A couple of months ago I saw this adorable quilt, which sold on ebay for $550. I had never seen this pattern before, and was unable to find it in any of my reference books. It’s probably a published pattern, but I think it would be pretty cool if the quilter designed this herself. Although the seller said it was a girl holding flowers, to me it looks like a Sunbonnet Sue, and I think those are balloons she’s holding, because they have colorful embroidered strings, as opposed to the flower at the bottom of the block.
At first I thought surely she didn’t made the center section out of little squares, but maybe she did. I can tell from close-ups of the prints in the individual blocks that the dress and bonnet are individual squares and half triangles, but because of the square patterned quilting, it’s hard tell about the white fabric — is it seamed, or am I just looking at quilting stitches? I would probably be inclined to construct the blocks with individual squares and triangles, but make the sashing solid, and just quilt the square lines. Here I’ve straightened a photo of one of the original blocks and added lines to show the pattern.
The seller described it as a postage stamp quilt, which measured 89″ x 89″, which would make each square 1.5″ finished. Of course, you could make the squares 1″, which would make the quilt 59″ x 59″, or you could reduce the size of the outside solid border. I think this quilt would also look really cute with a scalloped edge.
Anyway, here is a pattern that I drew, based on photos of the original design, although I moved the embroidered flower stem a little bit.
George Carlson, Illustrator
Hazel Frazee, Illustrator
Fern Bisel Peat, Illustrator
Lots to Color
Western Publishing, 1953
Eileen Vaughan, Illustrator
First of all, I want to thank everyone who made a comment on my Flower Garden Quilt Quandary. After reading all the comments (most of which politely suggested that I am crazy to take this quilt apart), and looking over the quilt again, I have decided to keep the set the way the quilter intended. I evened up the edges, and will add the flowers I removed, together with about 20 I’ll need to sew from vintage fabric, to make the quilt two rows wider. Thank you so much for your great advice.
Now to the paint-by-number I’ve been working on all this week.
Paint-by-number kits were very popular when I was young, and I really wanted one, being someone who liked coloring books and was generally a “stay-in-the-lines” type of colorer. Unfortunately, I was a little too young, and it was my older sister who got the cool oil paint set in the real wood case, as well as a paint-by-number kit. Neither of us remember what the picture was, but I definitely remember being envious.
So, last week on Etsy there was this great paint-by-number picture from a kit produced in 1953, but I didn’t want to buy it — I wanted to paint it. And I figured out a way to do it.
Palmer Paints, Inc., 1953
Suburb De Paris
Martha Dellasega Gray, 2013
Here’s what I did:
- Enlarged and straightened the picture in Photoshop (mine is about 18″ x 20″)
- Saved it as a Photoshop pdf and tile printed it in Acrobat on a color laser printer
- Trimmed the pages and carefully Mod-Podged them to a piece of foam board – let dry
- Brushed several more layers of Mod-Podge on top of the picture – let dry
- Lightly sanded the Mod-Podge which made the paint stick better
- Used acrylic paints and small to medium brushes to paint in the colors
- Brushed another layer of Mod-Podge over the finished painting
- Went to Goodwill and got a cheap frame which I cut down and spray painted
- Hung up my new picture
Of course, there are no numbers in my technique — I just tried to match the colors on the image. Seriously, this was a lot of fun, and I found a photo of a companion painting that is just as cute, but has the Eiffel Tower in it.
Here is my most recent purchase on ebay — a big quilt top made up of single flower garden blocks sewn together without a path. When I purchased it, I was planning on taking the blocks apart and resetting them, but now that I’ve seen it in person, I’m having doubts.
The top is a nice size (72″ x 90″) with a couple of uneven edges.
The 1930s dress prints are so sweet.
And, unlike most vintage tops/blocks I purchase, the stitching is very neatly done.
I just can’t get past the randomness of the set, and all those flowers butting up against each other. Since there’s very little contrast among all those pastels, it just looks like kind of a mush to me. Am I being ridiculous?
Here’s some alternative sets I was considering when I bought the top. The most obvious idea was to separate the single flowers with a white path.
The second idea was to add a third row to each flower in a coordinating solid, and add a white path. I love the printed hexagon border on this example.
The last set is a little more unusual, with a third row in white and a solid color path.
What do you think? Do you like any of these alternatives, have another suggestion, or am I crazy to take this top apart?
This pattern was published by Florence LaGanke in the 1930s, and was part of the Nancy Page Quilt Club series. The instructions call for each bird to be framed by appliqued fabric pieces meant to resemble strips of wood. Thumbnails of the bird patterns are shown below (click to enlarge), and the complete pattern with instructions is available on the sidebar under Downloads.
Other Nancy Page patterns are available in earlier posts: Falling Leaves, Brother-Sister, and Embroidered Snowflake
Ladies Home Journal
John G. Scott, Illustrator
My friend, Patty (Patalier on Etsy), recently found two vintage crazy quilt pieces at her local thrift store. She purchased both, keeping one for herself and sending the other one to me, because she knew I would love it.
She also sent a photo of the cute quilt she made from her piece. She cut squares out of her section, using her own fabrics for the block and quilt borders, and then she added her amazing machine quilting. The quilt is available in her Etsy shop, along with several other beautiful quilts she has made using vintage tops and blocks.
Patty’s quilt inspired my own, but I decided to cut out the individual prints in my piece to make my own smaller crazy blocks, adding some additional vintage fabrics from my stash. For the sashing, I used a vintage green ditsy Quadriga Cloth (a very smooth, tightly woven percale) that I purchased months ago from Patty’s shop. I’m still in the process of spiffing up the house, and I am making this little quilt to hang on the wall in our bedroom.
There was just enough of the ditsy fabric left to use as a background in my spray painted frame displaying these cute reproduction paper dolls — a gift my sister brought back from her recent trip to Copenhagen. It’s been ages since I’ve cut out paper dolls.
My younger sister, Mary, is a freak for Halloween. Unfortunately, she lives in a condo and doesn’t get any trick-or-treaters, which is a shame, because this girl goes all out in the decoration department. Fortunately, she has a wonderful Halloween party every year where she is able to show off new purchases and creations, in addition to all the things she has been collecting over the years.
In 2010, I made her a Halloween table topper based on a vintage paper doily or coaster (the original was only 5″ in diameter), and the next year I embroidered a haunted house pillow. This year I wanted to try something new, so I re-created a vintage German die cut fireplace screen that was produced in the 1920s. The original is quite rare, and the few I’ve seen on ebay have sold for over $500. Although everyone seems to refer to this as a fireplace screen, it was actually smaller than you might expect (around 20″ tall and 24″ across). I’ve seen some recreations that were enlarged to the size of a modern fireplace screen, but I decided to make mine the same size as the original. Even though there was no way to reproduce the cool embossed details on the antique screen, I still thought I could make a cute facsimile.
Vintage Inspired Halloween Screen
24″ x 20″
Sheets have been a mainstay fabric of mine since I first began to sew in the early 60s. Vintage 100% cotton muslin and percale sheets are still one of my favorite fabrics for hand piecing and embroidery. They have a nice feel and are usually easy to needle since the thread count is not as high as modern sheets. I’ve also used sheets to make curtains, aprons, toddler dresses, pajamas & nightgowns, tablecloths & napkins, bed skirts, and rag rugs (and I’m sure there are other items that I’ve forgotten). I never thought of making an outfit for myself out of sheets, but the “dance frock” and play suit on page 19 are pretty cute.
When I was growing up, one of my older sisters had a kidney shaped vanity with a ruffled chintz skirt that I loved. I think the vanity fell apart, because I remember the piece being sort of rickety and I know it didn’t make it to my teenage bedroom. There are seven pictures of vanities with skirts in this Cannon Mills booklet (including one kidney shape), and some of the skirts are amazingly elaborate. Click the thumbnails a couple of times to view the pages full size.
Wake Up! It’s time to find out who won the quilt.
And the winner is . . . . .
Number 8. Congratulations, Joyce! I hope you enjoy the Dean’s Cloth Book doll quilt.