Going, Going…Gone!

My sewing room has been eerily quiet these days. I mentioned in my last post that I am moving over the next month, and while it will save us a good deal of money in the long run, and I’m getting a fresh and nicely furnished quilting studio out of the deal, I would so much rather be sewing and creating than packing and trying to sell extra things we don’t have room for! And, I’m still working two jobs while trying to get it all done!

Last night I did get a break. It was our guild meeting, and August is the fundraising meeting with a live auction and tag sale. Our guild raised over $12,000 for Breast Cancer Research last night in less than four hours!

I didn’t take anything home from the live auction, but I did find a few treasures in the Mall In The Hall, the tag sale/rummage sale component that took place before the auction. There are books, magazines, patterns, kits, fabric, quilt tops, completed quilts, fresh garden veggies, quilt racks, notions, batting, vintage blocks, new blocks, embroidery hoops, quilt frames, knick-knacks…you name it, it was probably for sale there.

All items are donated by members that cleaned out their stashes, their closets, basements, those neglected tubs that haven’t been opened in five years…

And the live auction included some gorgeous, beautifully quilted quilts, quilt tops with backing and binding included, bundles of quilty-goodness for wine lovers, chocolate lovers, batik lovers, fans of traditional quilts… There was a laundry bundle that included a tabletop ironing board, a Clover Mini Iron, Shout Color Catchers, Dryer balls, Orvis soap, Retayne, and many other quilt care products–clever! The creativity that went into some of these baskets was just amazing in itself! I wish you all could have been there…if you had, we might have been able to raise another $10,000!

I brought home four pieces of vintage fabric from the Mall In The Hall sale…about six yards of 1940-1960 fabric in amazing condition (a few stains that I need to remove) for only $4.00!

This floral piece is just lovely (even if it doesn’t show that in the photo!), it is a cotton chintz, a three yard piece that I think may become a dress or skirt for your’s truly with the scraps going into a quilt…

The leaf fabric is called “Spring Song” it appears to be from the early 1950s, it has the cutest little dragonflies and fruits and leaves…just great! It has a few stains, but I believe I can get them out.

And this one, with the little dutch boys and girls?! Adorable! You can click on the photos to enlarge them and see the deatils better. I’m sure if my mind hadn’t been focusing on downsizing and moving for the last two weeks, I would have brought home much, much more last night! I did pick up these two patterns, though:

I drove across part of Iowa this weekend, to see my Mom and attend the baptism of my grand-niece. I once showed you the barn quilts that you can find dotting the Iowa landscape. On our way home Sunday, we stopped at a BP Station (petrol station) to use the restroom and saw this hanging above the cash counter:

It’s a quilt that shows all of the blocks that adorn the barns throughout Grundy County, Iowa. You can see more here.

Happy sewing!

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Ahoy, Matey’s!

AARGGG! You’ve wandered into pirate territory, matey! Prepare to walk the plank!

I’ve been helping my best friend prepare invitations and decoartions for her little guys upcoming 4th birthday. Guess what theme he chose?

These are the invites we made last weekend, crumpled and distressed with love to make them look like old treasure maps…
He and his little sister were watching us make these, and he asked us, after about five minutes, why we were crumpling them up in a ball like trash. We explained what we were doing and showed him how cool the finished product was, and he was not impressed. He said, “it hurts my feelings when you make my invitations bumpy.” Serious. Bumpy invites=hurt feelings. He conceded after he saw the final product being removed from the envelope and unfolded that it was kinda cool. No more hurt feelings.

I’ve been working on some gifts for him that will be delivered early so he can use them as decoration and costume on the big day.

Here is the treasure chest I started the other night, with a parrot I sketched and his initials under the lock…
The inside is bare wood, but will be covered with the fabric it is sitting on in the photos when finished. And, of course, filled with Pirate Booty! (You know, treasure…)
More piratey goodness to come…

The vintage linens, hankies, fabric and patterns are almost all posted for sale in the store…check it out here. The rest will be posted very soon…

A Fabulous Find

I found this book at an Antique Store not long ago, for the exorbitant price of $4. It could have been marked $40 for all the information it holds! It’s titled The New Encyclopedia of Modern Sewing, and my copy is a second “new” edition printed in 1946. It’s in great shape other than a little shelf wear on the beautifully embossed cover.
I love the little image on the front cover. And the image that really sold me was this title page photo of the smart war-time woman with her wool hat, jacket and adorable wool handbag (pattern included in this book!)There are instructions (and patterns!) for making just about anything for you, your family and your 1940s home in this book. It covers curtains, table linens, upholstery,
embroidery, clothing for the lady of the house,
Clothing for the kiddies, Tools of the trade, including what you will need in your sewing room and how to best set it up, And, how to be a thrifty recycler in those post war years. The caption under this photo reads “First quality material such as Government issues should not be wasted. The adorable coat for the little girl is made from a tar’s jumper, while the small boy’s suit was once his sailor-daddy’s ‘bell bottom trousers’. See the chapters on tailoring and Repeat Performance for helpful hints in accomplishing a make over project of this kind.”
You know I love a good recycling project!

The illustrations are awesome throughout this book. One of my favorites was this royal pair:
Touting the importance of a dainty, elegant bridge cloth. I recently acquired two bridge cloths with matching luncheon napkins in my vintage linen haul in June. Here is one of them and a deatil shot of the clever embroidery:
The napkins (I don’t have a photo of these yet) are equally adorable.
I think every 21st Century sewer/quilter/seamstress/crafter should have a volume like this in their library. I’ve seen others, and they amaze me at what a wealth of information they are; covering a multitude of topics in one binding. Our contemporary publications tend to focus on one topic or technique. This one will be a treasure in my library for the rest of my days, no doubt.

UFQ #19: Tablecloth Quilt

You might recall last month, when I posted about finding this lot of 212+ yards of 1970’s vintage fabric and this pile of table linens:


All have been laundered, some of the fabric has been sold on ebay, and I am slowly working my way through the linens. There were some beautiful embroidered pieces that look like new. My favorite is that green tea towel with the bleeding heart design. That piece at the right is a silk pillow cover with wool applique. GORGEOUS.

There were napkins, tablecloths, tea towels, baby clothes, Christmas linens, a stocking, a wedding dress, chenille bedspreads…you name it.


One of the first pieces that caught my eye was this tablecloth…

Nothing special really, it even has some holes in it. But it reminded me of this piece of fabric, that I have admired since I first saw it, but had nothing to make with it…

So I made a visit to the quilt shop and bought these goodies to go with my tablecloth:


and USP #19 was born! I’m going to fussy cut the fruit and flower blocks out (the holes are on the check part of the tablecloth) and make a quilt out of it. Not sure what it’s purpose will be or who will become it’s owner…but this was too good to pass up.

My haul from last week….

So I promised the story about the fabric, patterns and vintage linens from the estate sale I went to a few weeks ago, so here it is. My friend Toni has become hooked on tag sales , estate sales, and auctions, and because we like the same types of vintage primitive things and are both quilters and love vintage fabric, I get (easily) sucked in to joining her on many of these adventures. A few weeks ago, she called me while I was at work to tell me she was at an estate sale in the neighborhood, and I “have to get over here! They have all kinds of fabric and old patterns and great stuff!” She and her husband were there buying kids books, fabric, notions, and all kinds of goodies. The yard sale was at the estate of a retired Home Economics teacher who had passed away in March, her two daughters were selling her collection of books and sewing paraphenalia. I took a break and went, there were hundreds, HUNDREDS of patterns (Simplicity, McCalls, Vogue, etc.), mostly women’s clothing patterns from the 70s and 80s. And yards upon yards of fabric. I bought a few patterns for a quarter each, some buttons, small notions and bags of batting. While I was getting ready to leave, I struck up a conversation with Marti, one of the daughters, about what they intended to do with the leftover patterns after the sale and pleaded with her not to just toss them She took my number, I thought I could put them in touch with Pattern Rescue, or one of the vintage patterns internet stores. They called a few weeks later, we played phone tag a few times, and I gave up on getting back in touch with them. They called again two weeks ago, they were closing on their mom’s house the folowwing Monday and everything had to go. This was the week of the flooding here in Des Moines. I met them the next day at the house, loaded all 579 patterns (YES, 579) in my VW bug and gave them $25 for the lot. They asked if I “needed” anything else. Would I be willing to take their mother’s fabric off their hands…they had less than a week to get rid of it. We loaded it (four large garbage bags of it) in my car on top of the patterns (some of it had gotten wet from the heavy rains). There was also a laundry basket of nicely clened and folded vintage linens in the house, and because I’m a sucker for old things, I asked about it, saying something like “I hope you are saving your mother’s linens yourself?!” The answer was, “no, we kept what we wanted, but we have limited space, so we are trying to sell these”. Someone was supposed to have come to buy them the day before, but didn’t show. Jennifer, Marti’s sister, said, if you will use them or find a good home for them, you can have them. So this is what I left the house with, in a completely jammed packed VW Beetle, (which I wish I had thought to snap a photo of). I spent the last week and a half, washing, measuring and folding the fabric…all 212+ yards of it…getting it ready to sell on my own yard sale this fall. That’s right, 212 5/8 yards of fabric, plus 7 fabric panels (craft panels) and did I mention, there were 198 individual pieces of vintage linens from hankies to aprons in that laundry basket of treasures?! I even used about 3-4 additional yeards of fabric that was stained or flawed to cut up to make ties for all of the fabric bundles you see below! This is a shot of the fabric bundled for sale on my sofa (there is one bolt of calico, 18.5 yards!), at the right is the stack of linens. It may be a few weeks before my living room is back to normal…

But it feels good to be saving someone’s “precious stash” after they are no longer here to take care of it.

The patterns are being posted on eBay, in lots of 4. There were 579 of them, 79 had to be recycled because they had water damage from the flood/rains, Toni kept 2 of them (pillow patterns), I kept 1 of them, and we pulled out 3-4 of them that were incomplete.

It’s been a great deal of work, I’m sure I’d think twice before accepting this again, but it’s also been fun admiring the vintage pieces. I’ll eventually post photos of some of the more interesting pieces.