February 27, 2013

Starry Quilt

Here's a lovely star quilt, probably made in the last decades of the 1800s.  

I've seen this pattern called "Blazing Star" or "Star of Bethlehem".  This pattern has a long history as a favorite.  Barbara Brackman's Encyclopedia of Quilt Patterns lists many other names.  Along with flowers, quilters seem to have always been very fond of stars!

February 24, 2013

Beading on A Little Black Dress

This otherwise basic little black dress gets most of its personality from the wonderful trim at the front neckline.  

Gathered fabric strips outline some subtle beading with iridescent blue beads - bugles, seed beads, and sphericals - and tiny rhinestones.  

February 20, 2013

Here's a Reason to Get Married

Oh, such a beautiful wedding dress!  When my friend Julia brought it to me for fixing, she said, "Doesn't this dress just make you want to have another wedding?"  Yep, Julia, it sure does!

Here are the wonderful fabric roses and the beading around the skirt.

Couldn't be more gorgeous!

February 10, 2013

Puppies, Kitties, A Lamb, and A Duckling

Here's a sweet vintage crib quilt, a special family heirloom.

I asked the owner if she would share the story of the quilt:

February 6, 2013

Davis Vertical Feed Sewing Machines

As I said in the previous post, I've been having a great time looking and reading my way through Janet Finley's book of antique photos, Quilts in Everyday Life.  

Last night, I read about something completely new to me, the Davis vertical feed sewing machine.  The photo in Finley's book shows a mother and her little daughter sitting at a Davis machine with a 4-patch quilt.  Finley dates the photo to 1895-6.  It is labeled by a photo studio in Afton, Iowa.

So I poked around this morning to see what I could learn.  "Vertical feed" means there are no feed dogs.  The fabric is advanced by the action of the needle and presser foot.  The Davis machine was patented and came into production around the same time as the early Elias Howe and Singer machines.  It's touted as being able to sew cleanly without pre-basting, to sew all sorts of various thickness of fabrics including leather very well, etc.  It looks like the company produced machines between 1868 and 1924 or so.  They are treadle machines.