I know some of you have started your vintage linens quilt tops! I love the pictures you’ve sent! Keep sending pics, keep posting comments/questions! The creative process is amazing!
So remember: you’ve got a plan at this point, you have an idea of what your color scheme might be, you have an idea about the general size of your project and you’ve been scouring your stash, your friends stash, your local antique malls, etc. for wonderful vintage pieces for your quilt. But what do you do when you find something that works… kind of? The colors are right, the motif(s) are right but there’s that thick modern rolled hem all around the outside! You improvise! Today’s post is mostly about improvising with pieces to “make” them work. The luncheon/dinner napkin below is one of these pieces. You’re going to have to imagine it without the blue lines because I forgot to take a “before” picture.
It’s a lovely light ivory medium weight linen with both dark and light pink hand embroidery. It’s well done, it it perfect in every way except that unsightly wobbly thick machine applied rolled hem. It will be perfect for cutting apart to make 4″ blocks!
From this single napkin I now have 8 embroidered pieces!
I immediately head to my repurposed McCall’s pattern drawers to look for trim to cover the rolled hem.
Auditioning trims, I make a final decision on a machine produced medium yellow/ivory trim. I sew on the trim and then carefully cut away the rolled hem. Important point: if I had cut away the rolled hem first, I would have been left with a fragile bias edge to manage. Don’t make the project harder than it should be!
Once the new trim is added and the rolled hem is cut away, I position the little piece on a 4″ 1/2 x 4 1/2″ fabric square, machine stitch just above the new trim edge. Now here’s where another problem presents itself. The fabric shadows through the ivory linen, or in other words, I can just barely see polka dots thru the linen. Not a good thing! Flip your piece over to the back side and CAREFULLY trim away the fabric ONLY behind the vintage piece.
Remember to place your little piece on your foundation fabric and in some fashion, baste around the raw edges. This is one of those times when you’ll be glad of the foundation as the top edge is 100% bias! Here are 4 of my new 4 1/2″ square blocks made from the dinner napkin. For consistency I used the same machine produced trim on each, you may have decided to have vary all of your trims.
For a little break in the action, here are a few pics of my remarkably clean, non-cluttered sewing room… ha! Yes it’s a giant mess but it’s MY mess! I’ve got my remote control and my can of HEB lime flavored sparkling water so I’m set!
It’s time to begin laying out your blocks. Refer back to your diagram for placement. Remember to mark (with pencil) on your diagram where specific blocks go, if you’re anything like me you won’t remember within a matter of 30 minutes!
The pic below will give you an idea of the variety of things you can use in your quilt. You’ll note I’ve used both old and new-ish things.
Now, here’s a warning of sorts: see the plaid fabric above, the one with the black lines? It is a new fabric, a VERY well known fabric manufacturer. Never in a million years did I expect the black to fade, in fact I never bothered to test it. It fades. I’ve learned my lesson. Test your fabrics, even if it’s just laying them atop a white paper towel and spritzing them with water. If I’d done even just that I would have discovered the fading issue.
I’d love to see pictures of the vintage linen projects you’ve started!
Now a bit of news from here: sadly my youngest sister passed on Tuesday. We knew it was coming but of course when it happens you’re still deeply saddened. We will be traveling to Chicago on Sunday for a Monday funeral service. I’d so appreciate your prayers for safe travels, for the gathering of the family, for words spoken at her funeral and of course for her sweet husband as he transitions to life without her. God’s plans and timing are perfect and nothing takes Him by surprise. It is in our humanness that we are deeply filled with sorrow at these kind of happenings because we have such a great sense of loss of loved ones.
Blessings to all and until next week,