Halloween Embroidery & Candle Shade Designs, 1912


If you are planning for Hallowe’en festivities, you will be pleased with this appropriate design. It can be easily and quickly worked in outline, with heavy thread. The natural, bright colors of Autumn should be used. A table runner and sofa pillows would be novel and once made, could be used for several Hallowe’ens.


Candle shades made after this fashion will prove very attractive for Halloween, and as they are extremely simple of execution, it will be very little trouble to manufacture a number of them for various uses about the house for the Hallowe’en party. The stencil might be cut from heavy yellow paper and lined with black tissue paper. A number of the shades may be cut at one time, which will save trouble. The shade is especially pretty in shape when fastened with gum or mucilage at one side.

Here’s a drawing of a candle shade holder I think could be made out of wire.

candle shade holder


Halloween Costumes You Can Make, 1922

Do you think home sewers and crafty people in the 1920s could actually create these costumes with the unbelievably limited directions the publishers give in these articles?  I have my doubts. Still, the illustrations are pretty cute.

1922-Halloween-Costumes-1 1922-Halloween-Costumes-2 1922-Halloween-Costumes-3

Most of the costumes have no instructions at all (simply suggesting you apply fabric or crepe paper to a foundation garment), and there is no mention of a mail order pattern. Also, there was no hot glue!

Here are the individual directions given for three of the costumes in the last illustration.

Frog Costume:  A frog costume is unusual and distinctive. It may be made of cambric, chambray, sateen, satinette or poplin. This costume is suitable for adults, misses and juveniles.

Witch Costume: Witch costumes are always seen at fancy dress occasions. A 36″ bust requires 13 3/4 yards [this is not a typo!] of 36″ sateen. The lower edge measures 2 1/2 yards and can be worn by all.

Pierette Costume: A Pierette costume is pretty for women, misses and juveniles of 26 to 40 bust. A 36″ bust requires 4 1/2 yards of 40″ organdy for ruffles, etc., 5/8 yard of 40″ satin for sash and top of hat and 5/8 yard of 36″ satin for camisole. The costume, as can be seen in the accompanying drawing, is of peg-topped effect at the waist, tapering down to form to the ankle.

So . . . just pull out an old slip, grab some cambric, tulle, crepe paper or cheesecloth, and whip up one of these adorable costumes. Then send me your photos.

1 comment

Antique Circle Quilt

I’m so happy to have finished the quilting on this lovely turn-of-the-century quilt top which I purchased from my friend Patty (Patalier on Etsy). The quilter did an amazing job hand piecing the curves and matching points, and the top was perfectly flat, clean and crisp. I wish I knew the pattern name, but Patty and I both checked our quilt reference books, and neither of us could find a source for this interesting design.

Although the individual blocks appear to have circles in the middle, the circles are actually created by the four block corners, and the center of each block is a shirting or orange square. The quilter added partial blocks around the outside edges to complete the circle design, although the top edge is slightly different from the others. The original top had straight sides, but I added a border on three sides so I could extend my circular quilting design and create scalloped edges. I left the top edge straight, because of the way it worked with my quilting pattern.

The quilting pattern was stitched with navy blue Gutermann quilting thread, and it took three months and 320 yards of thread. It’s my first time quilting an old top as is — I usually take them apart and remake them.

Antique Circle Quilt
Hand pieced by unknown quilter, early 1900s
Hand quilted by Martha Dellasega Gray, 2015
75″ x 86″



Mother Goose Quiltie Pattern #20 — Little Jack Horner

Mother Goose Quiltie #20



Little Jack Horner sat in a corner,

Eating his Christmas pie;

He stuck in his thumb and pulled out a plum,

And said, “What a smart boy am I.”

Here we are to the very last corner and Little Jack Horner to sit in it. If you enjoy this apread full of Quilties as well as Jack did his pie full of plums, it will be a real treat. We hope you have not lost a single Quiltie and are now ready to set them together with strips of cloth colored like your embroidery thread. These twenty squares will be just enough for a child’s quilt.



Here is a Brooklyn Eagle clipping announcing the winners of the Mother Goose Quiltie contest. If you enlarge the image, you should be able to read the text.



Vintage Halloween Screen Instructions

I’ve had several requests from readers who wanted to make the Halloween screen I gave to my sister a couple of years ago, which I copied from an embossed 1920s Halloween decoration that I found online. Since my sister has the screen, I can’t provide detailed photos, but I can give you a pattern, a list of supplies, and some instructions. This is my finished screen.


It is 24″ wide and 20″ high, which is the same size as the original decoration.

One sheet of heavy black poster board (the Walmart/Dollar Store poster board is too thin)
8 24″ strips of 1/2″ x 1/4″ basswood (available at most craft stores)
small amount of black paint
orange flat fold crepe paper
Xacto knife
spray adhesive
white pencil
white glue
black electrical tape

Click this link to download the pdf pattern. In the Adobe print dialog box, select the poster setting. This will tile print the pattern on 9 sheets of paper (3 for each panel). You will need to trim two sides of each sheet of paper before taping or gluing the sheets together.

Paint the strips of basswood black.

Using an Xacto knife or small scissors, cut out the white sections of the paper pattern, then draw the pattern on the back side of your poster board with a white colored pencil  (if you have some white or light-colored carbon paper, you could use it to transfer the pattern, eliminating this step). Once the pattern is transferred to the poster board, cut out all the interior white sections of each panel with an Xacto knife, then cut the outside lines.

Cut three pieces of orange crepe paper slightly smaller than the three panels of the screen (iron the crepe paper if it is wrinkled — you want it very flat). One at a time, place each cut black panel (right sides down) on newspaper and spray adhesive on the back. Carefully place your cut piece of crepe paper on the back of each section, trying to keep them as flat as possible.

Using a razor blade or sharp knife, trim the strips of basswood to fit the sides and bottom of each of the screen panels. Apply a thin layer of white glue to one side of each basswood strip and position the wood strips flush with the outside edges of each panel — let dry.

Position the three panels face down, pushing them as close together as possible. To make the hinges, apply two strips of black electrical tape to the wood strips along both seams, attaching the two outside panels to the center panel.

I hope this makes sense — let me know in a comment if you have any questions.


Mother Goose Quiltie Pattern #19 — Peter Peter, Pumpkin Eater

Mother Goose Quiltie Pattern #19



Peter, Peter, Pumpkin Eater,

Had a wife and couldn’t keep her;

Put her in a pumpkin shell

And there he kept her very well.

Perhaps you never knew before how Peter Peter kept his wife in a pumpkin. Pumpkins aren’t big enough for houses, but this was a very large one, and Mrs. Peter Peter was a very small wife. If you can outline this as well as you can play it on the piano, you will have another fine Quiltie, and one that cannot get loose and run away.


Mother Goose Quiltie Pattern #18 — The Queen of Hearts

Mother Goose Quiltie Pattern #18



The Queen of Hearts, she made some tarts,

All on a summer’s day;

The Knave of Hearts, he stole those tarts,

And took them all away.

You would think any one would be good to the Queen of Hearts, she is so pretty and sweet. But the tarts that she made must have been sweet, too, because the Knave of Hearts stole every one and ran away with them. He isn’t in this Quiltie, and no one would want him either, because people who steal are not good company.



Mother Goose Quiltie Pattern #16 — Rock-a-Bye Baby

When I was little and sang this song to my baby brother, I imagined the cradle was hung on a very low branch, just inches above the ground (ignoring the words “tree top”), because otherwise the baby was going to be horribly injured. Wikipedia’s explanations were not entirely satisfying.

Mother Goose Quiltie Pattern #16


Rock-a-bye Baby in the tree top,

When the wind blows, the cradle will rock;

When the bough breaks, the cradle will fall,

And down will come baby, cradle and all.

“A bough seems a kind of funny place to hang a cradle, even if the wind will rock it and save baby’s sister the work of caring for it. A nice square on your quilt is a much safer place, ’cause babies are too nice to let them tumble down from treetops.”


Mother Goose Quiltie Pattern #15 — Old Mother Hubbard

This was not one of my favorite rhymes when I was little, because I felt sad for Old Mother Hubbard and her dog. It was hard for me to imagine having no food in your cupboard, not even a bone for your poor dog. Note:  In Sharrie’s comment below, she points out that there are additional verses that are actually funny. (also see Wikipedia article).

Ruby McKim’s drawing for this one is pretty cute, although I don’t understand why she assumes the dog is old as well. Where does it say that?

Mother Goose Quiltie Pattern #15


Old Mother Hubbard went to the cupboard

To get her poor dog a bone.

But when she got there, the cupboard was bare,

And so the poor dog had none.

Poor Old Mother Hubbard! About all she has is her dog, and now the cupboard is bare and she can’t even find a bone for him. If he wasn’t so old he could go out and find one for himself, but he just sits as you see him in this Quiltie and begs Old Mother Hubbard. All the kind hearted boys and girls will be sorry and will always be good to the dogs when they think of this little Quiltie.



Mother Goose Quiltie Pattern #14 — Three Wise Men of Gotham

I was not familiar with this nursery rhyme, so when I saw the illustration, I assumed it was “Rub-a-dub-dub, three men in a tub.” Wikipedia has an interesting article about the history of this rhyme, and the connection between New York City and the “Gotham City” of Batman fame.

One of the wise men looks like he has Kyphosis (Dowager’s Hump), which is something that could have happened to me. After my first bone scan, I was surprised to learn I had osteoporosis because I had no family history or other risk factors. So . . . ladies in your sixties, please get tested.

Mother Goose Quiltie Pattern #14


Three wise men of Gotham

Went to sea in a bowl.

If the bowl had been strong,

My tale had been longer.

People are not always as wise as they look. What do you think of three men who would go to sea in a bowl? One good thing, they are only going to sail on your quilt, and of course they will not upset there. They ought not get lonesome because there are three of them and they are all great cronies.


Mother Goose Quiltie Pattern #13 – Little Bo Peep

Each week I marvel at the way Ruby McKim manages to add so much detail to these illustrations, using only vertical, horizontal and diagonal lines. This Bo-Peep design is one of my favorites — I love her hat with the ribbon, her staff, and her little snood. With just a few well-placed lines, you can see right away that she’s looking for her sheep.



Little Bo Peep has lost her sheep,

And doesn’t know where to find them.

Let them alone and they’ll come home,

Wagging their tails behind them.

Poor Bo Peep! She does not know that her sheep will come back acting the way sheep most always do. So she worries and looks for them, instead of being carefree like the rest of the little Quilties. Boy Blue will be along after a while, and he is used to hunting sheep.

I probably won’t have any more stitched blocks, since I have huge project that I need to get done, and we are taking a couple of trips. I’ll be stitching on the road, though, so I plan to have my quilt top done shortly after the end of this series.

Here’s an antique paper doll postcard of Bo Peep. There are several others in this set, which I have added to the corresponding earlier posts.



Pillowcase Dresses for Bolivian Girls

This week I’ve been sewing little pillowcase style dresses for my blog friend, Lori, to take to Bolivia. There are links to patterns and instructions on Lori’s blog, Humble Quilts, so contact her if you would like to make one or more of these dresses. It’s a great way to use up stash fabrics and small pieces of trim. I was having so much fun, I ended up making two in each size.

Thanks to my sister, Sally, for her fabric donations, and my daughter, Emily for helping me with the color and pattern combinations.



Mother Goose Quiltie Pattern #12 – Jack Be Nimble

Finally caught up, and now I’m more than halfway done stitching my 20 blocks. I’m not going to sew any more squares into the quilt until they’re all done, just in case I decide to change their placement in the pattern.

Mother Goose Quiltie Pattern #12


Jack be nimble,
Jack be quick;
Jack jum over
The candlestick.

Most any boy could jump over a candlestick whether he was very nimble or not, but this candlestick was different. You see, it was almost as tall as Jack. It is a good thing he is not like Jack who went up the hill with Jill, else he would fall down and be burned. He wouldn’t make much of a quiltie then.