Posts Written On January 2015

February Valentine Apron Giveaway

It’s early, but I wanted to have time to get the apron to the winner in time for Valentine’s Day.

This apron reminds me of hostess aprons from the 1950s, and like many of the fancy aprons from that period, it is made with sheer cotton organdy. The fabric is from the Goodwill — a Pottery Barn Kids embroidered curtain panel that I initially thought was vintage, because you don’t see cotton organdy much anymore. I added the bound heart pocket to make it Valentine-ish, and a 3-inch hem with vintage trims (thank you Patty). The rose print for the waistband and sashes is a vintage dress percale. The waistband is 25″, the ties are 35″, and it’s 21″ long.

The instructions on the curtain panel said it should be dry cleaned, but I put the fabric through the washer and dryer on delicate, and it came out looking just fine. Of course, if you win this apron, you’ll want to iron it with a little spray starch to get the organdy nice and crisp.

You could wear this apron while you cook your partner a romantic Valentine dinner, or give it as a gift, or maybe just wear it around the house. Leave a comment below if you’d like to enter, and I’ll announce the winners of both the child’s embroidered apron and the Valentine apron on January 31st.





January Apron Giveaway, Part 2 — Child’s Apron

This was going to be next month’s apron, but then I realized I really wanted to make a Valentine apron for February, so now this is January Apron Giveaway, Part 2.

The apron includes the pocket from the newspaper illustration I posted earlier, but I used a 1970s pattern from my collection for the shape. The pattern is a size 3, but I have shown it on my size 3/4 dress form, with a size 4 dress, and I think it could be worn by little girls size 2 & 3, and maybe 4 as well, if they’re small. The dress is not part of the giveaway — I just thought the apron looked weird on the mannequin without some clothing underneath. I purchased the apron fabric from the Goodwill; it is heavy-ish like canvas, and it feels like cotton to me, but it could be some kind of blend. The binding is a tiny Michael Miller printed gingham.

The closures will be large buttons in a color that coordinates with the apron. I’ll have to go to the fabric store for those, and I wanted to take these photos today.

Just let me know in the comments below if you would like to enter to win this apron. I will use the random number generator to select a winner on Saturday, January 31.




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Embroidery Designs for Feeding Bibs, 1908

Three of these 1908 patterns (the angular ones designed by Grace B. Cross) remind me of Ruby Short McKim’s 1930s Quaddy patterns, although I wonder if, by 1930, anyone would have thought it appropriate to suggest a cock fighting motif for children’s clothing.


     A preference for bibs, like that for olives, is an acquired taste. I don’t know the child who instinctively loves a bib. Some stern mama will say: “What matters it whether the child likes it or not? It is right that he should wear it and that ends the matter.”
     But why make duty more stern and uncompromising and unattractive than need be? There is no virtue in doing things the hardest and most disagreeable way. “Tis love that makes the world go round,” so why not make the baby love his bib by giving it to him — like the dreaded dose of medicine — with a sugarplum?
     Now, who could resist “Wilhelmina Feeding Chickens”? Who could fail to be interested in the “Goose Chase” or excited over the “Cock Fight” or curious about the “Cats of Kilkenny”?
     If your stamped bib, with red or blue cotton, your long-eyed needle, your thimble and scissors are all handy, you might feel inspired to stitch now and then. Then, if you yearn for more work, put a pretty finish around the edge of the bib. Feather stitch or cat-stitch the hem in color to match the outline, or even scallop the edge.









Small Vintage Embroidery Motifs

These sweet little motifs are from newspapers dated 1909-1911. You probably won’t want to stitch them for their original intended uses (lingerie bags, handkerchiefs & corset covers), but wouldn’t they be perfect for a yoke on a baby’s dress, an apron pocket, or a little pillow. I especially love the “baby” motif which is so unusual. Click on the images to enlarge.














Nancy Page Hand Quilting Designs

Since I have begun hand quilting my first WIP finish for 2015, I thought it would be appropriate to post some vintage quilting designs. These were published in late 1930s newspapers by Florence LaGanke, using the Nancy Page pseudonym. Unlike the Nancy Page series quilts which were free patterns appearing weekly in a full-sized format, the individual quilt block and quilting patterns were mail order only (3¢ for the pattern, plus a return addressed envelope with a 3¢ stamp).

Because these were actually newspaper ads, the illustrations were tiny and crudely drawn — they were just meant to give you an idea of how the finished product would look. I thought they were unusual, though, so I have tried to clean them up, hoping that someone might actually be able to use these interesting geometric designs. They would be wonderful in an alternate solid color block.

Click any image for slideshow. More Nancy Page quilting patterns are available in this later post.



January Apron Winner

Congratulations to commenter #11, Laurie aka Giddy99! You are the winner of the January apron.


Next month I am going to do something very different — make a little girl’s apron based on the clipping below from a 1907 newspaper page entitled “For The Home Dressmaker.” The instructions are pretty specific about fabric suggestions (blue denim on the left, and natural-colored linen on the right) and embroidery colors, but there is no mention of how the aprons are constructed. This is similar to old quilt patterns — the writer assumes a level of sewing ability that most women no longer possess. Fortunately, this apron (at least the sleeveless version) is pretty simple.

Although these were meant to be Christmas gifts, they don’t actually have a holiday theme, so the apron could be worn year round. Click on the image to make the text readable.




Gallery of WIP Quilts

Thank you again for all of your thoughts and advice on my New Year’s Resolution post. It was certainly reassuring to hear that I’m not the only one struggling with this issue.

Here are some suggestions readers gave to help me keep my NO NEW QUILTS 2015 resolution.

Make a List of WIP Quilts
Below are photos of 15 quilt blocks from projects I have previously written about. There are many more that I have not written about, so the total is more like 35 WIP quilts in boxes. Most of them have all the pieces cut; some have just a few blocks finished, a few are almost done, and the rest are somewhere in between.  I do think this is a helpful way to keep track of my progress, and I’m going to enjoy checking them off the list, or at least moving them to the “quilt top” list.

Machine Quilt the Tops (or have someone else quilt them)
This is just not something I can do. I’ve seen some gorgeous machine quilting, but I’m not good at it, and I don’t enjoy doing it. However, I love hand quilting (both the look of it and the actual stitching), and I think I’m pretty good at it. I guess I agree with Robin on this point — I’m so attached to my quilts after spending months on them that I don’t want anyone else working on them. Instead, I am going to make a serious effort to quilt at least two tops this year. If Tim Latimer can hand quilt what? . . . 50 quilts a year, I should be able to handle two.

Sell Some Tops or Unfinished Projects
I gave my sister two of my half-done quilt projects which she is now finishing for the twin beds in her guest bedroom. I loved both of them, but I am fine with the decision, and it’s been fun watching her do such a great job on them. I don’t think I’m at the point yet where I feel the need to sell stuff, but that’s always a possibility if I lose interest in a project.

Cut Back on Fabric Purchases
This is critical and something I should have been included in the resolution. The less time I spend hunting for vintage fabric that I do not need, the more time I have to work on quilts. Also, it should help curb my desire to make new quilts.

Clicking on the blocks below will take you to a post for that project.

Pieced Butterfly

Around The World

Alice in Wonderland

Friendship Knot

Appliqued & Embroidered Scottie

Baby Bunting

Strippy Tulip

Letha’s Electric Fan

Embroidered Wool Quilt

Appliqued Butterfly

Scrappy Nine Patch

Crayon & Embroidered Mother Goose

Joseph’s Coat

Flower Garden Star

Ladies Art Two-Color Sampler


January Apron Giveaway

First, I want to thank everyone who made a comment on my New Year’s Resolution post. Your comments confirmed my suspicion that many quilters share this issue of unfinished projects (which was comforting), and also provided me with some great ideas for tackling the problem. I’ll talk more about this in my next post.

Now on to the apron, which I promised would be gender neutral (although it actually isn’t), but at least it’s a lot less girly that the ones I normally make.

Although I have made several aprons with decorator fabric samples, there are two new features in this apron — it is quilted and reversible (his/hers apron?). The smallish striped swatches are from one of 20 sample books I purchased at the Goodwill for $1.49 each, and the reverse side is made with a Brunschwig & Fils large toile sample. The B&F piece wasn’t quite large enough, and the print wasn’t centered, so I added a couple of scraps from the top to one side. I don’t think it’s too noticeable because the print is pretty busy. The binding is a small polkadot print which I hand stitched on the back like a quilt binding, and the ties are cotton twill. All the fabrics are cotton, and the apron has a nice weight to it, so I doubt it will wrinkle.

If you would like to enter this month’s giveaway, just let me know in a comment below. It’s a new year, so if you have previously won an apron, you may enter again. I will use a random number generator to select a winner on Sunday, January 11.

The stripy side

The toile side


2015 New Year’s Resolution — No New Quilts!

I have a tendency to constantly start new quilts before I’ve finished the ones I’m working on. This bad habit has resulted in a closetful of boxes containing unfinished quilt projects, and a stack of quilt tops. It’s out of control, and it’s freaking me out! Do you also have this affliction, and have you managed to conquer it?

Today I am fretting about this pile of quilt tops. Images link to the original post, many of which are embarrassingly old.

Hello Kitty
49″ x 63″
hand embroidered, machine pieced


Embroidered Alphabet
68″ x 80″
hand embroidered, machine pieced
This is a horrible photo — it looks much better in the close-ups


Simple Objects
60″ x 81″
hand embroidered, machine pieced
After this photo was taken, I finished off the sides and bottom by adding the additional pieced strip.


Ferris Wheel
84″ x 98″
machine pieced, hand appliqued


Nine Patch and Snowball #2
60″ x 66″
machine pieced


String Star
60″ x 80″
machine pieced


Cactus Basket
75″ x 75″ (needs border)
machine pieced


Toy Quilt
36″ x 46″
hand appliqued, machine pieced

Circus Quilt
39″ x 48″
hand embroidered, machine pieced


Seven Sisters
80″ x 96″
hand pieced


Triangle Quilt
84″ x 90″
machine pieced