• A Pretty Touch Of Vintage

My First Attempt At Quilting Vintage

My First Attempt At Quilting Vintage

Originally published October 22, 2016

Updated April 15, 2020

Antique Irish Linen Damask Miniature Quilt by Patty McCoy

12" x 12"

I know, you are gasping at the thought of cutting Aunt Ruth's precious old tablecloth. It's been in the family for at least 50 years and in all that time, it has never come out of the drawer, right? What's the point of having something that you can't enjoy? And besides, it was purchased on sale at Sears and face it, nobody really likes it- which is why it now resides in your collection. Well, there is a revolution of longarm quilters who live and breathe those old linens and are giving them new life and creatively re-purposing the sometimes ugly or damaged vintage linens into treasured works of art. So, naturally, since I am a collector, dealer and lover of old linens (and a quilter, too), it's only natural that I would be intrigued by these skillful and beautiful pieces. They're out there all over the internet and a short visit to Pinterest will prove my point. A friend thought that I would love the book, and she was right. Inspired by Cindy Needham's Wholecloth Linen Quilts Patterns & Designs, This was done on a regular sewing machine, not a longarm. It is more an exercise in precision sewing than free-motion quilting but for my first attempt, I'm pleased. If you would like to know how I did it, read on...

Using a fine line Sharpie marker, I traced the design from Cindy's pattern book onto a piece of copy paper. I placed a heavily starched piece of antique linen damask (cut from a damaged tablecloth) on top of the design and transferred it using a blue wash-out marker. Next, I made a quilt sandwich with fleece inside and cotton muslin (also starched) on the back. I hand basted around the outside of the design to hold the sandwich together. Using an open toe foot- I like the metal one better than the plastic because it glides smoother over the fabric, I slowly stitched on top of the blue markings. I used light blue rayon machine embroidery thread for this part.

Once the medallion was stitched, I rinsed the piece in cool water until the blue marker disappeared and hung it on a skirt hanger overnight to dry. Of course, linen must be pressed when damp so, I spritzed it with water and lightly pressed the wrinkles. I then filled the outside of the medallion with a free-motion small stippling or meander stitch. This was done with white cotton regular sewing thread. Finally, it was trimmed to 12" x 12" size, bound by hand and included a hanging sleeve on the back. Finis! There you have it. I so enjoyed this process that I am ready to tackle a larger piece.

Here's a few other quilted vintage examples:

Here is another version of mine, done with a vintage handkerchief.

Quilted vintage tablecloth by Cindy Needham

Quilted printed handkerchief on satin by Helen Ernst

If you would like to learn the domestic machine quilting process with an old favorite handkerchief, please contact me. I occasionally teach at my friend Kay's Quilt Shop and she is always open to scheduling a special class or event here in Fort Myers.

Stay Vintage My Friends,





Linen Cottage is an antique and vintage linens dealer based in N Ft Myers Florida selling across many online platforms and at local vintage and antique shows and events. 

Phone orders accepted! 239-225-9566

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