My New Vintage Bernina 540-2 (Favorit)

This cute Bernina was produced in the late 1950s and early 1960s.  I found it at the Goodwill, hiding inside a nondescript sewing machine cabinet.  The power cord was missing, so I couldn’t try out the motor, but it was only $20 and I could always return it if it didn’t work.  When I got home, I managed to find an old extension cord that fit, and the thing actually sewed.  After investing $120 to get it cleaned up, oiled and calibrated, it’s working perfectly.

It’s so nice to have a second machine, especially when you’re working on a project that requires a lot of thread changing.  Another happy coincidence is that this machine uses the same feet as my Bernina 1000.  It has a zig-zag stitch and a few others — also very similar to my other Bernina.  Gordon constructed a nice extension for me, and I even located an original manual and some new bobbins.

It’s smallish compared to my free-arm Bernina, but it weighs a lot more at 33 lbs. It’s sort of an anti-featherweight, and does an especially nice job sewing through heavier fabrics.  My very favorite thing, though, is the super cool, two-toned, avocado green paint job.




The Lockport Quilt Pattern Book

I am madly working on Christmas presents, and have nothing to show at the moment, so I thought I would share another vintage Lockport pattern book. Lockport Batting Company was probably similar to Mountain Mist, who also published their own quilt patterns. Lockport had a relationship with Anne Orr, but although my other Lockport book is all Anne Orr patterns, this one makes no reference to her and does not credit any particular designer.

I hope those of you who may have never used a template quilt pattern might be encouraged to try this old technique.


Mary Blair’s 100th Birthday

In honor of Mary Blair’s Birthday, I thought I would show you this Disney record I purchased for its fabulous Mary Blair cover.  I’m a big fan of Mary Blair, and I love the design of the Small World ride (both the outside and the inside), but that song drives me crazy.  We got stuck in there once and I was seriously contemplating abandoning my family and wading through the water to get out.

I think these cute children would make wonderful embroidered and appliqued or crayoned quilt blocks, but you could use them in other projects as well.  I just always see quilts.

Visit Eye-Likey to see more Mary Blair artwork.


Farmhouse Doll Bed and Quilt

Gordon just finished making the doll bed to go with Marjorie’s quilt — a Christmas gift.  The bed was designed by Ana White and is available as a free download on her site.  The directions are great — I only changed the length of the legs to make the bed a little higher off the ground.  This is a popular pattern, and there are lots of photos online of other people’s cute beds.  Because Gordon bought such nice wood, I decided to keep the bed natural.

The quilt is described in an earlier post; the mattress and pillow are made with heavy vintage ticking.

I think my niece’s daughter (and our flower girl), Marjorie, is going to love it.


Wedding — Mosaic Cookie Table

Emily and Aaron decided to serve Molly Moon’s ice cream for dessert instead of a cake or cupcakes.  The ice cream turned out to be a good choice, since it was a very warm day.  Fortunately, the Georgetown Ballroom is conveniently set up for food vendor trucks since they can just drive right into the outdoor patio.

Aaron’s mother, Bryce, is a talented artist whose home is filled with her amazing artwork.  After seeing some of the vintage pieces we were going to be using on the tables, she constructed a fabulous tiered cookie table out of plywood and decorated the entire piece with broken vintage dishes from the Goodwill.  She even made an edge around each tier that mimicked my pennants.  For the bottom skirt, she dyed a vintage damask tablecloth.

Aaron’s Aunt Jesse is a fabulous baker; she made all of the cookies you see displayed on the table (plus tons of extras), and the giant cupcake on top.   There were so many cookies, each member of the wedding party got a bag of cookies to take home.

Aunt Jesse and Bryce


Wedding Quilt — Blocks 1 – 3

This morning I got an email from Emily, and she mentioned that Aaron’s mother made  a cute curtain with some of the embroidered wedding napkins.  I started thinking that I have 50+ napkins that guests left on their tables, plus yards of fabric pennants, and a big pile of vintage doilies and dresser scarves.  Why didn’t I think of this before?  This stuff is going to make such a cute throw quilt for Emily, and it will be a fun reminder of her fabulous wedding (wedding pictures coming very soon, I hope).

I’m not planning to do any hand embroidery on these 8″ blocks, because they are already pretty busy.  Also, I’m a little nervous about being able to finish all my other gifts before Christmas.

These blocks are so fun to make — I’m psyched!


Vintage-Inspired Clothespin Bag

Okay. . . Seattle is probably the most unlikely place I can think of to use a clothesline, but I love these old fashioned clothespin bags.  My very favorites are the ones that look like tiny dresses.  It took most of the day to make this bag, because I am not that great at drafting patterns and working out the construction when I only have photos to look at instead of a sample.  There are a few construction techniques I’m going to change on the next bag, and I also want to try some different dress styles.

The floral fabric is a vintage dress-weight percale, and the hanger is also vintage.  I bought 10 old painted hangers, so I guess I’ll be making a few more clothespin bags.

The other day Barbara was lamenting the scarcity of vintage clothespin bags and laundry collectibles in central New York, so this first little bag is for her.



Vintage-Inspired Apron #25

A little apron for fall, although I must confess that autumn in Seattle is pretty soggy.  This adorable vintage Waverly fabric is from the Etsy shop of my friend, Barbara, at Oodles and Oodles, and the selvage is marked “A Waverly Bonded Fabric – Glosheen.”   I just love these vintage Waverly 36″ wide decorator fabrics (this one is named “Stockholm”).  There is just a hint of sheen to the material (not quite as much as glazed chintz or polished cotton), and the designs are always so pretty.  Because the thread count is high, they have a very soft feel to them, and they are my absolute favorite fabrics for making aprons.



Vintage-Inspired Apron #24

This is an apron for my friend, Krysta, a fabulous teacher who used to work at my (former) school.  Krysta is getting married soon and she is also incorporating vintage elements into her wedding. When she told me how much she loved the aprons I made for our shower guests, I wanted to make one for her as well.

Because Krysta’s favorite color is orange, I selected a big floral 1940s print together with a vintage solid orange. The eyelet is also old, but the purple trim is new. I hope Krysta thinks fondly of me when she wears her funky orange apron.


Native American Beaded Flat Purse

This little purse (which I mentioned in an earlier post about beading) was a Christmas gift to my mother from her Aunt Emma in 1930.  I still have the note that her aunt placed inside the bag, which reads:

Dear Marjorie,

I wonder if you would like an old keepsake for Christmas.  I have had it for 30 years, and wonder who you will pass it on to in 30 more years.  Write and tell me what you think of it.  I have too many girls to divide it with, so it will be yours.

Aunt Emma

My mother was the youngest of four and the only girl, so she lucked out.  I have always loved the purse, which used to hang in an oval frame in our living room, so I am very happy Mother gave it to me.  Some of the tiny white beads are missing from the edges on both sides of the bag, but the flowers are largely intact.  It has a flap on each side (one of which covers a small pocket) and an opening at the top.  The outside is a combination of black and dark brown velvet, the lining is black silk or rayon (now shredding), and there is cardboard sandwiched between.  The strap is a velvet ribbon anchored with two bows.

You can download an informative pdf document here that contains photos and descriptions of the different shapes and designs of these bags.  My mother thought it may have been made by the Iroquois, and it does resemble their flat bags, but a few other tribes made similar beaded purses.  It measures 8″ across and almost 8″ high.

I’m pretty sure my beading is not going to look this good.


Quilts for Twin Boys

There are lots of projects I need to complete between now and Christmas, but I knew these little quilts would be first on the list.  Jenny S., one of the wonderful teachers at my (former) school, is pregnant with twin boys, and I wanted to make the babies some bright and cheery quilts.

This is my second set of twin quilts, and they are pretty fun. I like to make them similar, but different. The fabrics are reproduction scraps and solids from my stash, and they are backed with striped ticking — one red, and one blue. I did not have time for hand quilting, so I machine quilted them using colored thread that matches the solid fabrics.

The quilts are 43″ square — big enough for a baby to lie on, and small enough for a toddler to drag around.  I hope Jenny likes them.


Feedsack Apron – Bartlesville, OK

One of the nice things that came out of our nostalgia trip to Bartlesville was a visit to our old elementary school and our church.  The former church community center across the street now has a sign that reads “Martha’s Task — Sew Original.”  The front of the building is a store where lots of handmade items are on sale, with an emphasis on aprons.   A nice woman came up and gave us a tour of the back of the building where a couple of women were sewing.  She explained that Martha’s Task is a non-profit business set up to help disadvantaged and homeless women.  Local businesses, the church and the community donated sewing machines, tables, fabric, trims and all the other supplies necessary, and volunteers teach sewing and other needlework classes.  The women who make the items receive a stipend for each completed project, and in addition they receive 100% of the money when the item is sold.   We were also pleased to discover that the former nun’s residence next door is now a women’s shelter.  After viewing the horrible condition of the downtown and surrounding homes in this old part of town, it was nice to stumble upon this wonderful organization.

Here is the statement on the  Martha’s Task home page:

Our emergency assistance and economic development programs provide training and/or contract work for women in poverty situations who need immediate funds to pay for utilities, rent, food, prescriptions, etc…  Individuals have the opportunity to earn money by selling their handicrafts rather than having to ask for charity.

And this is the cute apron I purchased. I love the retro design and the coordinating feedsacks with yards of yellow bias tape.



Vintage Transfers — Blanding, Utah

On our way back to tiny Bluff, Utah after hiking down to the Natural Bridges, we stopped at a second-hand shop in Blanding.  We have visited a couple of antique shops on this trip, but none of them had sewing items.  This store is called Transitions, and it provides vocational rehab to all of the people in the area who have disabilities.  In the back of the store clients were being trained on computers, and helped with filling out paperwork and paying their bills.  The store manager told me that many of their clients are either Ute or Navajo.

In a back corner of the shop, I found this old B.V.D. box stuffed with vintage transfers, tatting, lace, stamped linens, and newspaper clippings.  Rather than pay the ridiculously low price on the box, I just made a contribution.   My sisters and I had a similar experience in our old home town, which I will write about tomorrow.



Beads — Santa Fe, NM

In the 70s, my sister and I tried making drawstring leather purses out of shammies on which we had sewn glass beads in Native American patterns — a project from McCall’s Needlework, I think.  It was tricky to keep the lines of bead work straight, and the design became more and more wonky as we progressed.  Sally finished hers and it was pretty cute — I became frustrated and gave up.

After seeing all the lovely beading in Taos and Santa Fe, I got it in my head to give beading another try.  I thought I might make some of the beaded alphabet letters I posted in 2009, or maybe even another Native American pattern.  It might even be fun to try some of the smaller Anne Orr floral designs.  At home I have an antique Iroquois beaded flat purse from the late 1800s — a gift to my mother from her aunt — and it has lovely beaded flowers on both sides.  I’ll have to take a photo of it when I get home.

There was a great little hole-in-the-wall bead shop in Santa Fe where I found everything I needed.  The store owner, who was very helpful and friendly (as everyone has been on this trip), set me up with beads, a book, needles and thread.  The book was published in the 50s, but it is still in print — she claims it is the best book on the subject.  She also suggested I use size 11 beads which are slightly smaller than the size 10 beads used in all the fake Native American bead work produced in China.  “That way people will know you did it yourself” she said, although I found it hard to tell the difference in the two sizes.

There’s not much stitching happening on this trip yet because the scenery is so breathtaking that I want to spend all my time looking out the window.  I have managed to finish one Alice in Wonderland block and started another, but that’s all.

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