3 Uses for Old Quilts


Frist a disclaimer: Don’t cut up a vintage family quilt in mint condition. Put it on the bed, hang it on the wall, pass it on to another generation and think of the person who (lovingly) made it.

But lots of quilts come to me ragged, frayed and without a personal connection. Here are 3 uses for vintage quilts I stitched last year:

1) Cover a cushion:

This cotton crazy quilt is the perfect weight for a bench seat

This cotton crazy quilt is the perfect weight for a bench seat

It's tied rather than quilted.  I used the back side of the quilt as the boxing strip.

It’s tied rather than quilted. I used the back side of the quilt as the boxing strip.

Don’t forget to add a zipper so you can wash your cushion cover.

2) Cut out your state, or another shape:

These NC pillows were a big hit at my holiday shows last year.

These NC pillows were a big hit at my holiday shows last year.

First I cut out my state using a pattern purchased on ETSY. I machine quilted it to the pillow background following the lines of the piecing, then covered the edges with a machine satin stitch.

bestpatchnc

This year I plan use the same technique to make Christmas tree pillows.

3) Cover a tree:

And speaking of trees…

A craft store cone and a piece of wood from my yard stitched into a colorful tree

A craft store cone and a piece of wood from my yard stitched into a colorful tree

To add to the rustic charm, I hand stitched seams on the outside, using gold sewing thread.

tree_2

These are fun to make and use up lots of small quilt scarps. What do you think?

Any ideas to add to the project list? What do you like to use old quilts?

Labels Matter–Why you Should Always “Sign” your Sewing


Too many stories are lost—
Too many heirlooms end up at thrift stores-
Too many projects created by women come down to us without a name–

Which is why I always label my family gifts and other important sewing project.

For example: this OBX (Outer Banks) pillow made for my beach-loving nephew, BOB.
obxpillow

Unless you had prior knowledge that it was made from a vintage signal flag, you might miss the significance entirely–
obxpillow2

So I used an indelible fine-tip markerto handwrite a large label, which I stitched on the back.
obxpillow3

Yes, handwriting. Nothing is more personal than that–
obxpillow4

I always encourage labels for my sewing students, specially the younger ones who will remember these early accomplishments all their lives. Here are two labels for special dresses made by Klara and Miriam.
klara_tag

What wonderful stories they tell!
miriam_tag

Five New Tool Aprons–One New Market


Just listed 5 new pieces in my Etsy shop. And here they are:

Blue Hankie and Pink Seersucker

Blue Hankie and Pink Seersucker

Best Hankie Find EVER!

Best Hankie Find EVER!

Flowerpot Apron Pocket meets Barkcloth and 60s Print

Flowerpot Apron Pocket meets Barkcloth and 60s Print

Old meets New with Veg in Pink

Old meets New with Veg in Pink

More Barkcloth with Vintage Plant Patches.

More Barkcloth with Vintage Plant Patches.

Blue, Brown, Gold, Orange with Appliqued leaves.

Blue, Brown, Gold, Orange with Appliqued leaves.

What to check these pieces out in person? Come to the newly revamped Apex Farmers Market next Saturday, July 23. It’s Christmas in July–so there should be several craft vendors, along with great fruits, veg, flowers, baked goods and cheeses.

This morning I bought okra, tomatoes, tiny little cukes, eggs and blue berries. Delicious, farm fresh and this up and coming market is right down the street from where I live. Check it out!

What’s on my Sewing Table–How to Work with Old Cloth Sacks


feedapron5

Vintage advertising like this old Purina feed sack is hotter than ever.

But I have always loved using old cloth bags and their random words and phrases in my sewing.    In fact, one of my first hippie stitching projects back in the 70s was turning a cotton bank sack into a purse.

I’m still doing much of the same–only this time round, I’m stitiching my cloth sacks into sturdy garden/craft tool aprons.  They’re my signature design at Kiki’s Rewind Designs.

sunnysugar_1

Bags like these wonderful sugar sacks from the 1940s were made of thin, inexpensive cotton at a time when resources were scarce.  Stabilizing the fragile fabric is critical.  I use a technique called channel quilting, anchoring the old cloth to sturdy canvas with rows of  parallel stitching.  My presser foot is the seam guide.

sunnysugar_3

Below is another sack used in a tool apron that I just listed on my Etsy site.    The Crusader grass seed bag costs a scant $2 at the Scrap Exchange in Durham (NC).   That’s another good thing about old fabric sacks–they’re a lot of cool ones around!

crusader1

How (and why) to Make your own Chenille


I love combining and altering fabrics–and turning them into chenille is one of the techniques I use.

Let’s take this large monochromatic cotton floral print in the upper part of the photo below.   It was just a little to perfect for me, so I decided to distress it by making chenille.

Chenille Irises "Before".  I used the reverse side of the second fabric for my under layer so the wavy blue threads  would show through.

Chenille Irises “Before”. I used the reverse side of the second fabric for my under layer so the wavy blue threads would show through.

First I sandwiched  the print to a backing fabric that I wanted to show through.  I used  parallel rows of stitching with my presser foot as a guide.  (This is a great way to practice straight sewing.)

Chenille Irises in progress.  Washing will fray them (and create strings to clip)

Chenille Irises in progress. Washing will fray them (and create strings to clip)

Next, (carefully) cut down the middle of each row.  Small scissors work fine for me, but if you plan to use this technique a lot, you may want to invest in a  chenille cutter.  Here’s a link for info about this speedy little tool.

After I wash and dry my piece, it has a nice fluffy texture and depth.  Cool, don’t you think?

chenille_wide

Here’s a closer look.  Can you see the wavy blue underneath?

chenille_tight

 

And here’s another recent chenille project.

tipper1

I needed a yellow-orange “fur” for this appliqued cat portrait.  Instead of shopping all over town or the web, I went to the thrift store.  A silky orange print blouse, stitched over a yellow sweater and chenilled fit the bill perfectly.  The fraying gives my portrait depth and interest, too.

I can see this technique used to create fabric  oceans, waves of grass, even clouds.

Any other ideas?  How would you use homemade chenille?

tipper2

%d bloggers like this: