Posts Written On February 2015

Vintage Embroidery Transfers for Pillowcases

My second favorite article to embroider, after quilts, is pillowcases. Although I’ve stitched lots of them for gifts, I have never made any for myself, and I hope to correct that situation soon. For each set I always use two different designs, and a similar color palette. If I tried to make two matching pillowcases, I would probably never finish the second one.

My family has always used the term “pillowcase” — are you a pillowcase or a pillowslip person?

Here are some simple, but sweet patterns from the early 1900s, most of which are meant to use with initials. As always, continue clicking on the images until they are full-sized.







pillowcase-transfer-4 pillowcase-transfer-3



A Lace Paper Valentine to Cut Out and Color

“Think hard about who is the very nicest person you know, and then plan to send this valentine.”

Here is a valentine activity from a 1924 Montana newspaper, The Billings Gazette. I have cleaned and re-sized the image, and you should be able to print the outside and inside of the valentine on letter-sized paper — card stock for the valentine, and plain paper for the verse. The original instructions suggested you color the card lightly with crayon or diluted watercolor paint (I used colored pencils). Next, you were to cut out and then tie the two sheets of paper together with a narrow ribbon through holes on the fold (I decided to do a little extra hole punching around the outside of my card, and added a piece of red card stock).

“The best way to put your ribbon through the holes so that it will have the appearance of a book tied together is to use a quarter of a yard of red ribbon, very narrow. Draw one end through the bottom hold from the outside to the inside. Draw the opposite end through the top hold from the outside to the inside. Then bring both ends through the center hold from the inside to the outside and tie a neat bow.”






Click to enlarge the images, save them, and then tell your printer to scale the images to fit your media. Click here for an earlier tutorial to make a vintage scented valentine.

Valentine-to-Cut-and-Color Valentine-to-Cut-and-Color-Inside-Verse


Vintage Quilting Stencils and Stencil Giveaway Winners

First I want to show you some of the vintage quilting stencils from my collection. This wonderful group was sent to me by Gina Bailey (doecdoe on Instagram). The stencils were traced and cut from what looks a lot like the cardboard that used to come folded inside my dad’s laundered shirts. When we were young, my sisters and I used that cardboard for all kinds of activities.

I repaired breaks in a couple of the stencils, and one has a few missing pieces, but it still works. I just love these.



And now for the winners of The Stencil Company Giveaway.

Stencil Giveaway Winners 1-2

Congratulations to Amanda Best and Cathy L.  You are the winners of the first two feather stencil assortments. For those of you who didn’t win, there will be two more giveaways in future posts about my progress on this quilt.


Vintage Heart Embroidery Designs

These designs are from the early 1900s newspapers. The first pattern was meant for a pincushion, while the second is for a small lingerie pillow. I have kept the resolution fairly high, just in case you want to make something larger. Click images to enlarge.

vintage-heart-design-for-embroidery-1 vintage-heart-design-for-embroidery-2


Quilting the String Star Quilt & a Stencil Giveaway

I wrote about this top several years ago . . .


This top was made with a box full of quilt scraps from the 1940s and 50s. All of the pieces were 1 1/2″ wide in varying lengths, but none longer than about 15″. I thought perhaps the quilter had planned to make a log cabin quilt, but most of the color values were the same. My other thought was a string quilt of some kind, which seemed to work better with the fabrics. 

I didn’t use a foundation, but just eyeballed the strips and cut them to fit my big diamond template. They don’t match up perfectly (and I don’t think they need to), but they are fairly close since all the strips were the same width. I used all of her scraps and had to add a few of my own, some of which were newer fabrics. For the border, I used the little leftover ends of the strips. 

I made this top a long time ago, and I’m not sure why it ended up at the bottom of the pile. I think it will be fun to quilt a nice wreath or something fairly elaborate in those white spaces.

My string star quilt blocks are large at 18 1/2″, which makes my diamond template approximately 10″ x 4″. You can easily make a Lemoyne Star block in any size using a simple drafting technique (Laura at See How We Sew has created a wonderful tutorial here). I had to paste a few sheets of grid paper together to get a big enough piece of paper, and then I traced (adding the seam allowance) and cut the 3 pattern pieces out of template plastic.

Now, many years later, I am finally getting around to the quilting, and I am excited to be partnering with The Stencil Company to offer an assortment of 4 feather stencils — both of the stencils I am using for this quilt (10″ feather square and 5″ feather wreath), plus the 8″ triangular feather for corners, and the 5″ large curved feather for borders. I especially love the 10″ feather square, which would also work well in an alternate plain block.

If you are an experienced hand quilter, you are probably familiar with The Stencil Company products. If you are a beginning hand quilter, I think you’ll be surprised how easy it is to transfer a quilting pattern to your top using one of their stencils, especially for complicated designs like feathers. I want to also mention that I am not being paid to advertise these products — I just really like their stencils, and I’m always happy to do anything to encourage quilters to try quilting by hand.

In the photo below, you may notice that I don’t use many safety pins to baste my quilt. Until recently I thread basted all my quilts, but I took Tim Latimer’s advice (who also uses a hoop), and now I just use safety pins (and not very many, either). It’s worked out great — I haven’t had any problems with puckering, and thread basting was such a drag.

A little masking tape holds the stencil in place, while I use a mechanical pencil to transfer the quilting design to my pin basted quilt top. Next I fill in the tiny missing lines where the stencil was connected, and use a fabric eraser on any lines that I feel are a little dark. It’s pretty great to be able to draw just one area at a time. Tracing the entire quilting pattern on the top is a problem for me, because I prefer using a pencil instead of a marking pen, and the pencil lines sometimes disappear before I get to them. I have cut some of my own stencils, and I have some great vintage examples made from cardboard (Thank you, Gina!), but it’s tricky and time-consuming. If you can find a pattern that works, I recommend pre-cut stencils.




For the stars, I repeated the diamond shape three times in each diamond, with quilting lines 1/2″ apart.


Stay tuned for two more updates on this project, because for each post there will be two more winners of the feather assortment stencils. Just leave a comment below if you would like to enter, and I will use a Random Number Generator to select two winners on Monday, February 9.