Posts Written On December 2010

The Bride’s Own Book – 1923

As some of you may know, my daughter, Emily, is getting married next year. She and I have had a lot of fun collecting depression glass and old china plates for her vintage themed wedding. Last month I happened upon this beautiful book published by C. R. Gibson in 1923 and illustrated by M. Farini. The book is in wonderful condition — it even has its original embossed parchment cover. I think Emily will like it.


The Quilt Fair Comes To You – 1933

This is an Aunt Martha publication which contains patterns for some of the winning quilts from the The Century of Progress quilt competition sponsored by Sears at the 1933 World’s Fair. About 25,000 quilters submitted entries, hoping to win the $1,000 grand prize. Although the theme of the competition was “A Century of Progress,” almost all of the regional and national prize-winning quilts were traditional patterns. Of course, the women who designed original quilts based on the theme were very disappointed. Another controversial aspect of the contest was the quilt which won the $1,000 grand prize — the woman who claimed to have personally made the quilt had actually hired out the work to several quilters. It’s a great story, and the definitive book on the subject is Patchwork Souvenirs of the 1933 World’s Fair by Merikay Waldvogel and Barbara Brackman.

I have added a watermark to these pages because, although I want to share this booklet with my readers, I also want to discourage other people from copying and selling digital copies of this rare publication. I have one other book from this contest, Sears Century of Progress in Quiltmaking — the link will take you to an earlier post.


Happy Birthday Table Topper

The past week has been devoted to creating this Christmas gift for my niece, Jennifer. After I made the Halloween topper for my sister, Mary, I had this idea to make a birthday topper that Jennifer could use for all three of her adorable children (Max, Oliver & Marjorie). At first I thought of using some of my vintage book illustrations, but then I remembered this fantastic piece of 1940s fabric I purchased on Etsy. It’s a 36″ wide Waverly Mother Goose piece that is decorator weight — I think it’s cotton, but it has an almost linen feel.

I designed the patterns for the borders by utilizing the ribbon and floral motifs from the vintage print. All of the pieces on the border are cut from solid fabrics and applied with fusible web. At first I planned to paint the names, but in the end I decided to use the same technique as the flowers. It’s a bit tricky cutting those little letters — I was trying to make the names match the lettering on the nursery rhymes. The light blue ribbon didn’t show up very well, so I added outline embroidery to those pieces, as well as the peppermint sticks.

The printed red check used for the little border and binding was also used for the back. Because I wanted to do a little quilting in the print fabric, I added an old flannel sheet as a thin batting. It provides some dimension, and you don’t have to worry about close quilting — I only quilted the ribbons, the outline of the motifs and around the edge of the Waverly fabric.

I’m pretty happy with the way this turned out. I debated a long time about the background color for the borders, and now I’m glad I took Gordon’s advice and used a neutral cream color.

Bizzie Vintage has another piece of this cute fabric in her Etsy shop for only $14.

Happy Birthday Table Topper
Martha Dellasega Gray, 2010
45″ x 45″