Thursday, September 1, 2011

vintage patchwork rescue...a mini how-to

Perhaps it's happened to you're browsing at your favorite proprietor o' junk when you spot the most wonderful vintage fabric find at a rock bottom price. The only catch? Well, it's sewn into something. It could be a quilt top, a patchwork skirt, or, in this case, ruffly patchwork curtains. I found 2 bundles of what I THOUGHT was a vintage cheater fabric only to realize later it was actual patchwork. I thought "no biggie...I'll just cut the edges off and sew all the squares back together. My plan didn't work out. For one thing, this lady LOVED a backstitch. For another, the patchwork was arranged in a cascading design and it would have required too much unpicking and resewing. Finally, there were some pretty ugly looking stains that I wasn't sure would come out.

So I started to cry a little and then I realize...why not just cut smaller 4 patches from the middle. That blossomed into "put my template on the diagonal and I can make hourglass blocks! Half Square Triangles would also work....just put the diagonal line of your template where 2 blocks meet instead of over the junction of 4 blocks.
Here are my hourglass blocks
I even took the edges and cut out as many pieces as I could and then sewed those into more hourglass blocks.  I trimmed everything to 4.5" unfinished.

And in under 2 days I had this 36" square baby quilt out of 2 small shams and 1 valance!

This was my final block..the catch all where I used most of my remaining blocks.

I love how these blocks turned out.  I kind of wish the whole quilt was these!

and then a plus/cross out of hourglasses.  I did have a few squares of the fabrics included in the bundle, so I used them in the center of the plus blocks.

I had a coordinating polka dot for backing (LQS closeout...after it got to be 65% off I went back).  I ripped off the basting stitches from the 4" ruffle, ironed it, and cut it down into binding. 
Because the binding seemed thinner than a newer cotton, I machine stitched this binding instead of my usual (favorite) ladder stitching.

So next time you spot unquilted patchwork  you love that has seen better days, think about cutting pre-made blocks out of it with your see through templates.  Someone else has done the hardest part for you...and the best part is that you can blame any wonkiness on them :)


  1. What a creative upcycle idea! Thanks for sharing it with us. Your quilt is lovely.

  2. Go Mary! My kind of girl, and my kind of project. Love it, and love repurposing!

  3. Love this! Your baby quilt is beautiful!

  4. wow - very cool!! Thanks for sharing.

  5. Awesome, awesome idea!! It turned out beautifully.

  6. WOW!! It came out great. I'm so afraid to cut up vintage fabric. Afraid it would fall apart.



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