Posts Written On March 2015

Easter Coloring Pages from 1930s Newspapers

Lots of newspapers from the 1920s-1930s included activities for children: stories, coloring pages, paper dolls, how-tos, puzzles and games. Many papers devoted a page every week, and some even had whole sections specifically for children. I loved this kind of stuff when I was a kid in the 1950s, but my mother either purchased coloring/activity books, or my sisters and I created them for ourselves. I don’t remember our paper publishing activities for kids.

I re-sized these cute Easter images to print on letter-sized paper. Click to enlarge.





Vintage Embroidery Transfers – Designs for Children

Here are three transfer sets from the 1923 Standard Designer catalog. The images in the catalog are minuscule compared to the actual transfer sizes, but I have tried to scan them at a large enough resolution to make them usable. Fortunately, the designs are fairly simple.

It’s cute the way they arrange the different motifs in each transfer set — this was probably the way the designs were arranged on the original transfer sheet, but I have no way of knowing for sure.

I love the unusual combination of cross stitch and outline embroidery in the first set. I plan to use several of the Standard Designer children’s designs on one of my WIP quilts (simple appliqué and embroidery on denim squares), but they also would be cute as embellishments on toddler clothing.

Click on the images a couple of times — they’ll get really big.







Nancy Page Hand Quilting Patterns, 1930s

The Nancy Page column was syndicated in many national newspapers during the 1930s. Six of these quilting patterns were published full-size, although with only one quarter of the pattern to save space. I put the pieces together to show you the completed design, but the eight original patterns are below, which might be easier to print if you’re going to need a pattern larger than normal printer paper.

Some of these designs were created for the Nancy Page series quilts, and others were associated with one-block quilts. The group is interesting because, as expected, some of them look traditional, but the Ring-on-Ring and Leaf patterns would also look wonderful on a more modern quilt.

An earlier post contains more Nancy Page quilting patterns — small advertisements for mail-away patterns that I enlarged. Click any image to enlarge.









Vintage Embroidery Transfers — Small Baskets

These designs are from a 1923 Standard Designer Needlework Catalog, and the originals in the book are tiny — about an inch high. Fortunately, the printing is pretty good, so I scanned them at very high resolution and was then able to clean them up. The catalog has lots more patterns, including some really cute nursery designs, so I’ll scan some more next week. Click on the images to enlarge.


Vintage-Embroidery-Transfer-basket-6 Vintage-Embroidery-Transfer-basket-7






April Double Apron Giveaway — It’s Early!

Two aprons this time — one for you, and one for a friend. I wanted to get these done early because I’m going to be busy next month. The giveaway will be open until April 1st, so leave a comment below if you’re interested.

Probably nobody but me would look at this vintage chintz fabric and think of pairing it with a contemporary Alexander Henry print, but I’m weird that way. Like many of my friends, I often buy fabric that I like and then wait until later (sometimes a lot later) to figure out what I’m going to do with it. The main fabric in the first apron is a large scale Everglaze chintz, with the sash and trim in the Henry fabric (which is a little more magenta-ish red than it looks in my photos); the second apron uses the Henry fabric with pockets from the Everglaze, and sash/pocket trim from a vintage Waterly chintz.

Sometimes it can be tricky working with such large prints (especially if you only have a small piece), so I spend a lot of time thinking about how I’m going to construct the apron before I actually start cutting. I was very happy to be able to match the print in the pocket pieces to the main apron.  There was just a tiny bit of the Everglaze left, so I decided to make another apron using it again for the pockets, but this time on the Henry print. The Waverly was added because I didn’t have enough of the two other fabrics.

They’re pretty wild, but I like them, and I hope some of you do too.





Vintage Embroidery Transfers — Anthropomorphic Dishes

This is Butterick 10202, and I don’t know what year it was published, but it’s pretty darn old. I love anthropomorphic animals, but inanimate objects are even better. My favorites in this group are the brush family, the senior silverware, the plate parade, and the clothespins. I really need to stitch some of these on towels or an apron.

The transfers were a little rough and my digital clean up is far from perfect, but fortunately these are simple drawings, so I don’t think you’ll have any trouble tracing them. Ha! Looking at this envelope, I just realized I forgot to reverse the images. . .oh well, I guess it doesn’t really matter. Click each image for full size.


plates-on-parade rainy-day-glasses jump-rope stacked tea-for-two food-party coffee-time clothespins baking-cookies dinner-time birthday-cake



Vintage Embroidery Designs — Baskets

I hope you’re not too bored with these patterns. I’ve become a little obsessed with all the beautiful designs I’ve found in vintage newspapers. The images below are basket motifs from 1910 – 1915 (okay…one is more like a ribbon, but still . . . pretty cute). I love the last one — it’s buttercups.







Flying Geese Quilt

As a little break from quilting the String Star quilt, I decided to make a small quilt with some vintage plaid blocks I purchased last year from Oodles and Oodles. Each block was composed of just two triangles sewn together. I know the triangles were taken from a salesmen sample book because the plaids were all slightly different, the edges were pinked, and there was a tiny bit of glue residue on one side. Barbara had warned me that some of the pieces were thinner than quilting cotton, but that problem was solved with some iron-on sheer-weight interfacing, which I applied to the lighter weight triangles before I cut them out.

I knew I was going to have to use some additional solid fabric to make the quilt throw-sized, and that was actually just fine, because I’ve been wanting to use the perle cotton assortment I received for Christmas. The fronds are quilted in 10 different colors of perle, and the geese are quilted with vintage linen thread. The small triangles in the geese were cut from a stack of reproduction shirtings, so it’s an odd combination of 1950s and civil war, but I think it works.

As I’ve been quilting these fronds and the feathers on the String Star quilt, I am definitely rethinking my whole approach to setting scrappy quilts. I have always preferred busier designs, but now I’m remembering that solid spaces and alternate blocks are a great way to add more elaborate quilting, which is not only pretty, but so much easier to stitch since you’re not dealing with all those seams. And hey, if your fronds don’t quite fit the space, you can just randomly add a few extra leaves to some of them. That’s what I say.

Flying Geese Quilt
Martha Dellasega Gray, 2015
machine pieced, hand quilted
42″ x 54″




Vintage Embroidery Designs – Cherries

Less than two weeks until Spring! Seattle has been unusually sunny for the past several days, and the cherry trees are blooming like crazy. It reminded me of these old cherry designs, so as soon as I got home I cleaned up the images to share. Maybe those of you who are stuck indoors with snow storms might like to stitch up a little cherry motif while you wait for Spring to arrive.






March Apron Giveaway

Did you think I’d forgotten? No way . . . I’ve just been busy quilting, and it was hard to stop. For the March giveaway I have a half apron with a deep hem, big pockets, and long ties that will fit anyone. When I saw this fabric I thought that fat little bird would look cute appliquéd on apron pockets. The bird appliqués are fused and then outlined with running stitch embroidery. The only thing vintage on this apron is the cotton rick-rack I used on the pockets and waistband.

Let me know in a comment below if you would like to be entered in this month’s giveaway.  I’ll use a random number generator to pick a winner on Sunday, March 15.