Whenever a grandmother dies in our valley, word gets around to the family that her sewing stash and UFO’s and machines should be donated to the local American Sewing Guild chapter…in other words…us. We do our best to help the family decide what things are worth and how they can sell them or donate them easily. Sometimes, our members can buy the supplies or they can be given to the teens in our TAG (teach another generation) neighborhood group.
This month we were given 5 unfinished quilts with the batting and backing included. All I had to do as the Community Sew Coordinator for my town was to find willing quilters who would give them some TLC and finish them. So many women now have their own long-arm machine quilting frames but I ran into a snag as not all long-arm frames are wide enough to handle every size quilt. But 4 of them were handed over and I was left with the one orphan quilt…why?
Well, it seems that quilters don’t like to work with that fluffy polyester batting that was the staple when I arrived here in 2002. I worked in a quilt shop knowing nothing about quilting but selling fabrics and selling and teaching Janome embroidery machines. Slowly, the new batting called Warm and Natural cotton batting became the ideal batting on our shelves. The result is a very flat but very quiltable project.
Since I know nothing about free-motion quilting and have no desire to get into that now, I decided to get out a needle and cotton embroidery floss and give it a real primitive rustic feel. How hard could it be anyway…you just follow along the seamlines of the squares and rectangles? Yes, EVERY seamline.
The knots on the back gave it a vintage feel and I made sure that the white squares were outlined in the red thread to make them stand out. It gave me lots of meditation time and every time I came to a new fabric, it made me think about what the quilter was thinking or planning when she added it.
Once it was finished, I handed it over to my friend Sandi who binds all our charity quilts after I had serged the edges and steamed the bejesus out of it to flatten it. Once it had been steamed, even Sandi could not tell that it had been layered with cheap polyfill batting.
As the year comes to an end, some brides for the summer of 2018 have been bringing by dresses for a consultation and price quotes. This dress worn by her future mother-in-law in 1990 will be the base with lots of altering and modernizing.
Can you see the brown stains down the front of the lace bodice and satin skirt? If the dry cleaner does not do such a great job of removing white wine/champagne remnants, then over the years the stain shows up as gold or brown from being made from red grapes.
The bride wants me to remove EVERY pearl and clear sequin and cover the skirt and flounce and train with all new lace fabric and remove the sleeves while adding rows of boning to keep the bodice flat. Also, the skirt will have the side seams taken in to be really tight/pegged to emphasize the lower flounce. Those front pleats are really hideous and may be stitched flat before the new lace layer is added. All the horizontal lace motifs on the seams will be removed and reattached over the new lace layers.
The side view shows the new 3 point bustle. Won’t it be nice to cover up all that shiny satin?
Back in 1990 dresses did not all come with linings and since this dress shows the bride’s underwear, the lace lace layer will add a bit of coverage.
She also wants about 30 satin covered buttons added to the center back for more drama.
A close-up of all the yellowed/aged/stained clear sequins and pearls to be removed and the lace points pinned up.
So this will be a real challenge and makeover and labor intensive project!
Wishing all my US readers a lovely Thanksgiving Day with moist turkeys and lots of pumpkin pie! Mr. Mole has a small stash of Walker’s mincemeat tarts to devour to celebrate the occasion!