Vintage Linens Quilt #2, a Tutorial, Part 2

Part 2! Are you ready?

This post is going to be wordy and full of pictures of the diagram I used to create this quilt top:

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I want to point out a few things about the diagram and offer some advice on how to simplify your process. In the meantime, you can be thinking about what size quilt you want to make and once determined, go ahead and begin choosing your vintage linen pieces that will make up the largest blocks.

It’s never too early to get your linens clean and pressed. Now is the time to soak the vintage pieces and I’m always happy to tell you my soak method. Jump back to my blog post of November 7, 2016 for some very detailed information and a great recipe to get your pieces in tip-top condition. Somewhere along the way I need to tell you I’m a big advocate of spray starch. I starch and steam press just about everything.

So, back to the diagram, have you noticed that rather than random blocks, it is actually large sections? In the following picture I’ve labeled the 9 sections. Did you notice the diagram is divided almost down the center? The right half is 30″ wide, the left is 26″. If you stick close to the diagram, you’ll find all sections except 5 and 8 have one block that is larger than all the others. Keep this in mind when looking at your big doilies.

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If you follow the diagram exactly you’ll find you need: 21 2″ blocks, 34 4″ blocks, 18 6″, 10 4″, 3 12″ and finally, 2 16″. For the record, I did not need this many blocks. I do not have any 2″ blocks in my finished quilt top, they were easily combined either to each other or to adjacent blocks.

My advice to you is to construct your quilt top in sections. Sections 2 and 3 are small and could easily be combined as are Sections 5 and 6, but don’t make things harder for yourself! Use my methodology of: When in doubt…don’t.

Now, let me point out a few other dicey areas that have the potential to give you trouble. In the diagram below I’ve added green arrows and yellow circles to indicate the “set in seam” dilemmas. I made appropriate revisions in my own block sizes to avoid set-in seams. It’s only section 4 that has these pesky little 2″ blocks. You decide.

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When you feel like you’ve got a game plan in mind with your vintage linens, don’t rely on memory about where they should be placed, make a copy of your diagram and with pencil start labeling the blocks such as the following picture:

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You’ll also notice that using a red pen I notated all my changes in block sizes. Do this as you work with each Section and you’ll find everything fits together nicely in the end. This is also a good way to know if you’ll be needing additional vintage linens and if so, what to look for in the shops or your stash 🙂

As you can tell, I’m generally a “planner.” With a good plan I figure I can do almost anything. Now this theory has gotten me into trouble a few times, but usually I’m good.

A few things come to mind:

  1. Don’t forget to plan for seam allowances!!! If the diagram says 12″ you know it really means 12 1/2″ right???
  2. Clean/soak your vintage linens! The last thing you want to happen is to have iron scorch marks on your beautiful pieces from old detergent residue!
  3. Plan ahead for your fabrics. Think about overall color schemes, etc.
  4. Determine the finished size of your quilt top.
  5. Decide what you’re going to use as your foundation fabric if you’re leaning that way, and let me just say your foundation fabric needs to be a true solid, no tone-on-tone, etc.
  6. And finally, if this is your first time cutting into vintage linens, please-oh-please do not use your most valued and treasured family heirloom things this time!!! Wait until you’ve some experience under your belt before using these pieces!

Are you ready? Do you have questions? You can easily leave a question in the comments section. The great thing about the comments section is that if you have a question about something, chances are good someone else will too! I’m here to help! I plan to send out a new “tutorial” for this project every few days. This is going to be so much fun, and YES! you can do this!!!

Blessings to all,

Rhonda

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Vintage Linens Quilt #2, a Tutorial, Part 1.

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Faced with the dilemma of needing my Vintage Linens Quilt #1 (VLQ#1) for a presentation to the Alamo Heritage Quilt Guild earlier this month and knowing it wouldn’t be back in my possession until the end of March, I decided to create a replacement of sorts! VLQ#1 was handed off to the Houston Livestock and Rodeo the first week of January so on New Years Eve day I started this new one creatively titled: VLQ#2.  I learned a hard lesson when I made #1: make the blocks with some sort of guide as to size. Being the Pinterest addict I am, I searched for several hours thru various pre-created quilt diagrams, found one I liked and immediately sent off a quick email to the creator seeking permission to use her pattern.

The first picture above is what I used and adapted to become my VLQ#2. She sent me a speedy reply of permissions so I was off to the races! After a few of my FB posts, so many other people wrote to her asking to use her pattern that she digitized and enlarged the pattern! How sweet is that! Her name is Andrea (and she has a darling little baby girl) and she has a great website at: Mouse in My Pocket.  If you want to use her pattern, send her a quick request first!

Now when you see the end product you’ll be surprised to learn I’m not all that fond of pink, but I have so many pink and green vintage doilies in my stash I decided they would get a chance to shine.

With this project in mind, I scoured the International Quilt Festival last fall for fabrics and came home with several yards total of about 15 different choices. I’m going to feature several different blocks today and try my best to answer any and all construction questions that you might have.

Remember my hubs is sharing my sewing room??? I created both a cutting and a pressing station on my Big Board. Why am I using my ratty light green cutting board for this project? Because several times I forgot and steam pressed my work right on the cutting board 😦

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Of note: I have created this quilt using the foundation method. I chose a light weight natural 100% cotton muslin which I preshrunk using a spray water bottle and a very hot steam iron. Many of my vintage pieces are quite fragile and cut on the bias. The foundation will fortify/stabilize these pieces. The foundation also serves the purpose of keeping me on track regarding block size.

This is going to be the 16×16” finished block in the upper left part of the diagram. I know I want the manufactured edging to be showing rather than incorporated into the side and bottom seams. Now keep in mind you need to add all 1/4” seam allowances so the finished 16×16 will really be 16 1/2×16 1/2” until you see all the blocks together.

Below you’ll find a visual tutorial on how to construct this block:

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I chose symmetry for this block construction, keep in mind your goal is a 16 1/2×16 1/2” square no matter your fabric and doily placement.

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Moving on:

This block quite frankly looks boring as can be! I have big plans for this block so stay tuned…

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I’m introducing an adaptation already to remind you that the diagram is a suggestion, not a hard and fast rule. I knew I wanted to use this vintage doily but none of the block designs were this large. All I did was to combine several of the blocks together. In fact, I printed out a copy of the diagram and made notes all over it. Once you have your larger blocks determined, it will be easier for you to begin creating/deciding what and where to use your vintage linens for your medium and smaller blocks. See what I mean: F6E87B41-00CB-48D6-9DDB-99F2351C3B3A

In this long linen and crochet doily, the pink fabric measures 12 1/2 x 26 1/2”. I know eventually I will add a doily to the middle of this long rectangle piece, but that’s for another day.

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Here’s a very simple little piece of a dresser scarf. I want the bottom edge of trim to show so this block is constructed in the exact same fashion as the first block above. This block measures 6 1/2 x 12 1/2” and is another adaptation as shown below circled in blue:E2CD40B3-AC8B-4282-9F39-8BC7883E65C1

As you make changes here and there to fit your vintage pieces, just remember to make your block measurements fit a space in your diagram. And above all remember to add the seam allowances!!!

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And finally for today, 4 darling little baskets of flowers. The foundation was very important here because they are cut on the bias and are embroidered on remarkably thin fabric. 4FD2FC47-9A0E-4F89-81A3-EFFF3F0EC833

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Are you ready to start your own Vintage Linens Quilt? Let me know if you have questions so far!

*** House update: we’ve been on a blessed 3 week construction hiatus. We’re waiting on windows, doors, siding, some baseboard, plumbing, tile work, etc.  I’m so very thankful for many things, among them: God, family, insurance, patience, a 2 story home and my sewing room!

Blessings to all and Happy Quilting,

Rhonda

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