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


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: 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 😦


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:



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.


Moving on:

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


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.


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!!!


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





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,




20 thoughts on “Vintage Linens Quilt #2, a Tutorial, Part 1.

  1. I ran across your vintage hanky pieces quilt design and your expert advice. I’m thrilled!!!! I have dozens of mine and my husband’s great-grandmother’s and grandmother’s hankies and doilies that I want to make a special piece. Quilt-top sewing is a new hobby for me and I’m loving it. Your post has me excited!! Thank you!! I will visit your website, too!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Your VLQ #2is so beautiful. It is how I will fashion my first VLQ. Thanks for providing a diagram on scaled paper. I can make any needed amendments with that precision.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I love your vintage quilts. I have looked all over the internet for a book on making quilts with vintage “stuff” and have not found a thing. Your page is the closest thing I saw. You should consider writing a book. Let me know if you ever do. Thanks so much for all your tips and instructions.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I’m actually in the process of making a quilt with vintage linens, but using a very different approach. I love seeing that you’re doing and the ways you’re honoring the makers of the original pieces!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Hi Rhonda! I was wondering what stitch you use to attach the doily? Also where do you sewing lines go? Above the crocheted edge where there is fabric? Where there is a lot of crotchet do you need to see more than just around the perimeter? I was wondering this too when u saw you pansy doily quilt. I am new to this page so not sure if this is something that you have covered before. Thanks.
    Sorry to say I sent these questions via email first …please ignore I obviously wasn’t thinking !

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Glenda, did I ever reply? For some reason today is the first time I’ve seen your comment/questions and they are very good questions! The sewing line – for the very first block I talked about the sewing line goes just barely on the inside of the trim directly on the doily itself.
      When there is only crochet I either stitch directly through the crocheted doily with my sewing machine or I stitch it in place by hand.
      The Pansy Doily Quilt has all the crocheted pieces stitched by hand. The Vintage Linens #2 has all the crochet stitched by machine.
      Like I said earlier, great questions! Thank you!


  6. Rhonda thanks for sharing.
    What kind of stitch do you use to attach the doily?
    Do you see on the fabric rather than the crocheted edge trim when there is fabric ? On the crocheted doily do you need to sew more than just a line of stitching around the perimeter? I was wondering this too when I saw the pansy doily quilt.
    Thanks in anticipation

    Sent from my iPhone

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Glenda, sometimes I use a small zig-zag, sometimes just a regular straight stitch. I usually stitch right where the decorative trim meets the DOILY. This way the trim remains free from stitching. For the crocheted doilies there are two methods: 1. Remove the doily and do the quilting and then carefully hand stitch the doily back in place. 2. Machine quilt directly through the crocheted piece. I’ve used both on this project so I’ll make sure to address these methods as I feature these blocks. Thanks, great question!


  7. Thanks so much for this tutorial! Your lesson is very helpful to me. I’ve inherited a great many linens and I hope to get creative with them sometime soon. Again, thank you!!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Thanks Rhonda! This was very helpful. I do have a question re. the muslin backing. You backed the smaller pieces completely – including the fabric borders. The large (first piece) you only backed the vintage linen. Was there a reason for doing it that way? Curious.



  9. Rhonda! This is so helpful! Thank you. I do have a question. With the first square you did not have the muslin foundation under the full square size. On the smaller pieces you do. Is there a reason?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh Carol, you have such a good eye! Because that was my first block I was unaware that additional old Lennon pieces were remarkably frail. After I completed that block I did put foundation under Lea under the strips around the embroidered peace. 🙂


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