March 30, 2016

Fabric Choices for Quilt Repair

Just in case anyone is curious, here are photos of the individual fabrics that I auditioned for repairing the Lone Star quilt I recently wrote about.

Two greens:

Four tans:

Here are all six.  They are in the same order left to right as the photos above.  Which would you have chosen?

March 24, 2016

Lovely Laces and Buttons

Here's a lovely little chiffon blouse from the Basya Berkman Vintage collection.  The only mending help it needed from me was re-attaching loose snaps.  I'm sharing it here because the laces and buttons are so delightful.

The buttons, which are decorative only, are sweet little crocheted covers over solid bases. (The front placket snaps closed.)

There are three laces on the blouse, a narrow one and two wide ones that have been used together to make a deeper edge for the collar.

It's the two-layer, 3-D flowers that fascinate me!

The shoulder and sleeve seams are delicately faggoted.

I also want to point out the choice of color for the little neck bow.  I think in today's market, the bow would be in a matching satin.  The use of black really speaks to the vintage styling of the blouse.  It's similar to the antique quilts that I am familiar with, where the use of black as an accent to pastels is very much a color choice of the 1920s and 30s.

All in all, it is an ultimately feminine little blouse.  It's also a great example of detailing making the garment, something that most off-the-rack clothes are lacking these days. 

March 20, 2016

Glowing Lone Star Quilt

Here's a quilt that's definitely "one to write home about", or in this case, ha-ha, one to write a blog post about.

This 1930s beauty was sent to me for repairs.  The ring of green diamonds was pretty much totally in shreds, and the ring of tan diamonds was not far behind.  In the end, the owner and I decided to have me replace all the greens and just the tans that were in the worst shape.

That decision hinged on finding fabrics that blended well with the originals.  I ordered swatches from my favorite on-line source, Reproduction Fabrics, and took photos to compare them and pick the best match.

Here is the green ring in-progress.  In the first photo, the diamonds are just appliquéd.  Adding the quilting does a great deal to help them blend in with the texture of the quilt.

Here, the green ring has been completed, some of the tan ring has been done, and I was seeing which of the remaining tan diamonds were most important to complete.

And here's the final effect.  Everything about this quilt is wonderful!  Both the color choices and color placement are important.  The quilter sometimes put complimentary colors and different values against each other to create sparkle and movemnt, and also sometimes put very similar fabrics together to create wider bands of color that give the star a stronger shape.  I especially love that great spark of a solid red at the star points.

And the quilting, well it is beyond gorgeous!  There are huge feather wreaths in the background spaces around the star, and a deep, deep cable in the borders.

This quilt is such a beauty, isn't it?

March 14, 2016

Cozy Log Cabin and Woven Gingham

This cozy log cabin / straight furrow quilt dates to around the 1920s or early 1930s.

That first photo isn't cropped badly.  This quilt actually has just one border.  And that one border was a pretty bold color choice, given the main colors used in the blocks.  The red border fabric was the only one that had started to give out, along with the gingham binding which was the back fabric brought around front.  I used a red reproduction print replacement, and also re-bound the edge with a vintage woven gingham.

This blue fabric is especially intriguing and entertaining. 

There are little squares of gingham woven right into the blue ground!  In the close-up, you can see how the threads of blue go right into the gingham bits. 

I wonder how the white threads were finished on the reverse, or if maybe they were cut to little fringes.  There's a fabric with little embroideries that ended in fringes in the Grandmother's Cross quilt I made with fabric scraps from my childhood.  Happily for the quilt, it's in such good shape that I couldn't take a look inside and find out.

And here are some shots of some of the other fabrics in the quilt - lots of stripes, pastels, plaids, and the solids that speak clearly about an early 20th century date.

March 10, 2016

Little Cat Quilt

A repair customer brought me some of her other quilts to look at, just for fun.  Here's one of them.

I like it because I like cats.  I also like it because it's signed and dated - 1997 - another quilt that can help document and date fabric colors and styles.  I'm quite fond of finding these and adding them to the online "data base".

The cats come in kitten size, too.  Fun!  I think I have a vague memory of seeing this pattern back a couple of decades ago when it was new.

Sad to say, this quilt also serves as an example of why it's wise to take stored quilts out now and then and refold along different lines.  Re-fold off-center, even re-fold on the diagonals, the less even the better.  As I always say, this is one time when it's actually a good thing to not be a precise and perfect housewife!  As for me, I don't have much housewifely perfection to leave behind anyway......

March 4, 2016

Two Quilts

I spent last week visiting the Seattle area.  What a lovely part of the world! 

To make the experience even more fun, there were two quilts with some great conversation prints at my friend's house.  Both are signed and dated.
This quilt is called "Gypsy Wife Bicycling" made by Durlyn Finnie of Seattle in 2015.  The combination of patchwork blocks and strips and bright colors make for quite a cheery quilt.  I got to sleep with this one!

Durlyn collected absolute gobs of fabrics with cyclists and bicycles of all sorts and colors.

She also included fabrics printed with maps, a landscapes print, and some fun things to see along the road like chickens, huge sunflowers, palm trees, and a sidewalk café for a pleasant bite to eat.

The second quilt was made in 1999 by my friend's sister as a birthday gift.  It's one of those cozy, very "quilty" quilts, and well-used and well-loved.  It's made totally from scraps, front and back.  I haven't been able to find the name of the block.

The three triangles with turquoise birds fabric in this photo have a story - they are scraps from a dress the sister made a few decades ago so my friend would have a dress to wear to her first big job interview.

This conversation print immediately caught my eye - dress forms, sewing machine, scissors, thread - perfect seamstress fabric.

And here are a couple of photos showing some of the other fabrics in the quilt.

So, I enjoyed time with my son and with friends, picked up stones and shells on the beaches of Puget Sound, took loads of photos, ate delicious food, had great conversations, went to the top of a mountain (a super big deal for a flatlander like me), and......collected more conversation prints.  A great vacation all 'round!