Retirement Gifts

Yesterday was our school’s end of the year party, and we celebrated my retirement.  My favorite part was a hilarious skit of me teaching one of my first grade computer classes.  I laughed so hard I was weeping.  Fortunately, I’ll still get to see my friends,  since the school is only 4 blocks from my house.

I want to share two of my gifts, which are sort of apron related.  Our art teacher, Leanne, gave me a poseable cloth doll which is made by wrapping fabric around an aluminum foil figure — one of many fabulous projects she does with our kids.  For my doll, she added an apron and a little quilt.  It has a place of honor on the shelf in my sewing room.

Suzanne is my friend who recently retired after teaching at our school for over 30 years.  One of her gifts was a vintage 100 lb. sugar sack that she found among her mother’s things.  I thought it would make a great apron, and that way I would think of Suzanne every time I wore it.  For the shower gifts I only made half aprons, but sometimes I need a full apron because I am such a slob when I’m working in the kitchen.


Vintage-Inspired Apron – #23

Today I made one more apron — not for the shower, but for Judy, who is the PE teacher at my school.  She wanted an apron for her mother, Rose, who just happens to love pink and yellow roses.  Every year I’ve worked at that school, Judy has given me her delicious homemade raspberry jam (from her own raspberry bushes), so it was the least I could do to make her mom a little apron.

I found two vintage floral curtain scraps in my stash, one of which had pink and yellow roses.  The pink and green batik with the vintage flower fabrics is sort of a weird combination, but I liked the way the colors looked together.  The eyelet is from a huge (and super cheap) lot of vintage eyelet trim I purchased on Etsy.  I have to admit that I really love making these aprons.



Alice Brooks Pieced Butterfly Pattern

In a couple of posts here and here, I have talked about this pattern and shown a couple of blocks. I have finally managed to scan the entire original pattern. You will notice that my butterfly is different, having 4 D pieces in each wing, as opposed to 3 in the original pattern. It was necessary for me to re-draft the pattern in order to accommodate the vintage quilt swatches I wanted to use in this quilt. I also decided to eliminate a couple of seams. My altered pattern is available here, in case you prefer the 4-piece version.

This is a wonderful pattern for hand stitching (I pieced with a running stitch, without papers), but it is probably not a good choice for a beginning quilter.

Because this pattern is large, it will need to be tile printed. Clicking on the pattern image below will open a full-sized pdf file. Scroll to the bottom of that image, and click on the download button. Open the downloaded file in Acrobat Reader, and select “poster” in the print dialog box. This will allow you to tile print the original pattern size on multiple sheets of letter or legal sized paper, which you can then trim and tape or glue together.


The History of Martha Dellasega – Volume II

Several of you asked about my younger sister, Mary, who grew up to be a college professor teaching mostly English and Speech.  She received a PhD in her favorite field, theater, and she also works at a Seattle theater.  Mary doesn’t draw much anymore, but she is still a wonderful and witty writer.

I want to clarify that I was not nearly as popular (and hopefully, not quite as mean) as Mary portrays me in her books; in fact, I was pretty miserable in high school. Most of the stories in the books are based on real events, but they are also embellished and influenced by Mary’s 14-year old perceptions, as well as her natural inclination toward sarcasm (a Dellasega trait).

To demonstrate that Mary nailed the hair every time, here is my senior photo from Volume I, for which I may have used an entire can of hair spray, and. . . .

the short hairstyle from Volume II, where I seem to be smoking a cigarette in every drawing.

The History of Martha Dellasega, Volume II
Written and Illustrated by Mary Dellasega, 1966-67


The History of Martha Dellasega – Volume 1

I love these books so much, and they make me laugh every time I read them.  This is the first volume of a three-part series written by my little sister, Mary.  Mary was about 14 when she wrote this volume.

The History of Martha Dellasega, Volume I
Written and Illustrated by Mary Dellasega, 1964-66


Mosaic Flower Pots

My niece, Jennifer, volunteers at her sons’ school helping the students create art projects, and her latest idea was decorating clay pots. Her son, Maxwell, made this cute pot and gave it to me for my birthday. Originally, there was a sweet Gerbera daisy in the pot, which I transplanted outside. Now I use the flower pot in my sewing room to hold my pens, and I can admire it every day.

Thank you Max!

After Jennifer finished working in the classroom, she decided to make a larger (and more elaborate) version for my birthday. I have taken lots of photos which you should click to enlarge so you can see all the fabulous details. Jennifer is a very creative and artistic girl, and I think it’s wonderful that she takes the time to share her talent with so many children.

Here’s Jennifer with her daughter, Marjorie, who is going to be Emily’s flower girl at the wedding.


Handkerchief Quilt

When Moda released these cute reproduction handkerchiefs in their own little case, I immediately thought of using them to make a quilt for my sister, Mary. This is probably the closest I’ll ever come to making a sampler type quilt, and it’s really not that close. I guess the one thing that makes it a little sampler-like is the unique quilting pattern on each block. It was a lot of fun making up the quilting designs, but I wish now that I had added sashing between the blocks. Mary displays the quilt on the wall behind her bed.

Handkerchief Quilt
Martha Dellasega Gray, 2005
hand quilted
50″ x 50″


Nine-Patch Doll Quilt

Today I visited my younger sister, Mary, and I borrowed a couple of quilts I made for her so I could take some photos.   This doll quilt was made in 2003, only a few of years into my obsession with vintage fabrics.  It’s not a difficult pattern — just a simple nine patch.  My favorite part is the Baptist fan quilting.  I had always wanted to use this fan pattern, but I was a little uncomfortable using a quilting pattern that had no relationship to the piecing.  Of course, it’s a wonderful pattern that works with just about every quilt pattern, and I realize that now.

Nine-patch doll quilt
Martha Dellasega Gray, 2003
hand pieced, hand quilted
19″ x 19″


Pillbox Hats

This adorable vintage bridal shower gift wrap ended up being the inspiration for our shower decor.  All the flowers will be peach, yellow & pink, and I found some small paper parasols in turquoise.  Since I am not a big fan of shower games, Emily suggested a craft; after a little brainstorming, we finally came up with “decorate your own pillbox hat.”

There is a video on youtube for making a pillbox hat out of what looks to be felt, but felt would be too soft for our hat.  I thought about painting the felt with a glue mix, but that just seemed like a mess.  In the end, I used suiting fabric and other heavy-weight cotton and iron-on interfacing.  The youtube pattern didn’t work at all — maybe because the fabric I used is not nearly as flexible as felt.  After 3 attempts, I was finally able to work out both the pattern, and the amount of interfacing for each piece (2 pieces on the sides — one on the top).  Two bobby-pins are sewn to the inside of the hat to keep it from falling off.  The inside is not lined, and they are not perfect, but this is just a silly craft and not meant to be a real hat or anything.

I’m looking forward to shopping the craft stores with Emily to look for all kinds of fun things for our guests to hot glue onto their hats.


Vintage-Inspired Apron – #22

This is the last apron I’m planning on making for the shower, that is unless Emily decides to invite more friends.  I have been hoarding this vintage fabric for a long time, and always thought it would be perfect for an apron.  It’s a never-washed Everglaze chintz with the most adorable tulip border; it just doesn’t get any better than this.

There is enough tulip fabric to make another apron, so I didn’t want to use it for the sash.  To make the binding and sash,  I managed to find a small piece of the green diagonal plaid left over from a quilt binding.  Unfortunately, there wasn’t enough to face the sash, so I had to use a scrap of a reproduction floral.  I never throw away scraps — ever.

Now that the aprons are done, I’ll be starting a new project for the shower (a craft activity for the guests).  Hopefully I’ll have something to photograph by the end of the week.


Vintage Inspired Apron – #21

Finally, an apron that genuinely deserves to be shown on an alleged quilt blog.  The spiderweb blocks were made with vintage fabric; the solid green and the sash/border are modern reproductions.  Of course, I had to add a piece of sheeting as backing on this apron to prevent the raw edges from raveling.   Top stitching the edges and a little machine quilting keeps everything sandwiched together, especially when the apron is laundered.

There’s only one more apron left to make, and I am having a hard time selecting which fabrics I’m going to use.


Vintage Inspired Aprons – #19 and #20

Today was a two-apron day!  This is partly because the designs are not as elaborate (no pockets), and partly because I’m getting faster at making them.  Now I officially have enough aprons for all of the guests, so I only have two more to make so the last person will be able to select from three aprons.

Coming up with a design for this first apron was tricky because I didn’t have much of either print.  The facing for the scalloped hem is a different fabric, and the sash is shorter than I would have liked.  This is a great project to use my large, funky floral prints, which I don’t often use in quilting.  That daisy fabric on navy is so great — there are strawberries in the middle of those daisies!

Vintage cheater quilt fabric is one of my favorite things.  I love the funny designs in these old prints, and this is one I’ve never seen before.  This was also an easy apron — I only added a little black bias tape on the ruffle and a left-over piece of ribbon to make the bows.

I don’t feel like I’m running out of inspiration for apron making, but it will be nice to move on to some other projects.



Blogger’s Quilt Festival – Feedsack Crazy Quilt

Whenever Amy does a new Blogger’s Quilt Festival, if I don’t have a new quilt, I try to select a quilt that I made before anyone read my blog. This is a quilt completed in 2003 when my daughter was leaving for college. She loved black and pink at the time, and of course I had to figure out a way to include some vintage fabric. I blanket stitched the feedsack and vintage fabric scraps onto 4 muslin squares using black floss, and then stitched them together to make the 8″ crazy blocks. I would just sit in the evening with a box of scraps cutting and folding and pinning and stitching. This was the first crazy project I made, and it was a lot of fun to make up different patterns. The border triangles were machine pieced and then blanket stitched.

The 8″ blocks turned out rather thick, so I purchased a heavy black waffle fabric for the sashing. I like the bright colors of the feedsack prints against the black. The quilt has a thin batting, but it’s still pretty thick, so I chose to tie it with pink floss.

When I was blanket stitching those pieces onto the muslin, I hoped that everything would stay put and not ravel. That didn’t turn out to be a problem at all because my daughter still uses the quilt, and it has received quite a bit of abuse over the years it spent at school.

Now I’m off to see all the wonderful quilts at the Festival — Thank you Amy!

Feedsack Crazy Quilt
Martha Dellasega Gray, 2003
Hand Embroidered, Tied with Floss
50″ x 60″