Handkerchief Quilt, Personally Interpreted

I have a collection of handkerchiefs from my maternal great-grandmothers, grandmother, and great aunt.  One of the gifts made for Christmas was a quilt from these handkerchiefs for my mother.  I originally had lofty ideas of how beautiful this would be, but in reality, the hankies came in all colors and sizes.  Not to mention, I was making the last stitches on the binding as my mother entered my home on Christmas Eve.  Alas, a quilt was made, the love stitched throughout.  In my haste and lack of battery-charging, few photos were taken at the end of the process.

Due to the delicate nature of the handkerchiefs (most of which are much older than me), I backed them with Wonder-Under and the comparable alternative for which I don’t have a name but was all I could find when I made a mad dash back to the fabric store for more, only to find they were out of the W-U.

I laid out the kerchiefs in the order they fit best within the dimensions of the quilt — 45″x60″.  It’s a crib size quilt, but perfect for a lap quilt, too.  The smartest thing I did was take this photo.  I could refer to it later when the kids helped with arranging the kerchiefs they way they thought they should be arranged.  No, not very helpful.


I then ironed the hankies onto the front piece, a nice soft flannel.  This is why Wonder-Under is so wonderful. It’s just an adhesive interfacing to hold your applique in place until it’s sewn; it also helps prevent fraying.


Once everything’s ironed into place, I took time to sew around all the kerchief edges and once around the middle to make sure it is held in place.  For sake of time, I didn’t want to have to do a lot of quilting, so this at least gave it more of a quilted appearance.

Time to layer.  The flannel I chose for the front was also used for the back, except with the wrong side out.  The wrong side is a solid beige, unlike the front that has a faint petite floral pattern (which unfortunately mostly faded in the wash).  The middle layer is natural cotton batting, crib size.  I pinned all three layers and trimmed the edges to make attaching the binding easier later.

I used the machine to quilt.  Obviously, I was in a time crunch and honestly have not taken the time to hand-quilt anything as of yet. Using a wavy stitch on the machine I just ran through the quilt between all the handkerchiefs, starting from the middle and working my way out.  In my haste, I made mistakes and had a couple of gathers, but for this casual quilt, I think it will be fine — much like the purchased mocha-colored binding.  You can make your own binding, to be sure, but for sake of time and considering it was on sale for 30% off, it couldn’t be beat.

And neither could the expression on my mother’s face, knowing she would love the quilt even more than me.

The other halves of the handkerchiefs are saved, not to worry.  I promised my daughter I could make one for her someday, too.  As a finishing touch to the above quilt, I added a couple of embellishments.  One is a strip of ribbon that says “family ties,” which I knotted on either side and hand-sewed it into place toward the top.  At the bottom I made a “homemade” tag and sewed it into the binding.  Sometimes these little touches add even more personality.  Personality is something women in my family definitely have.

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Time for Scarves

A scarf might have a negative connotation as a gift (perhaps people got burned out on them), but I’m glad they’re making a come-back . . . at least in my book!

Several evenings, this was what awaited me.

knitting.jpgNow, my current projects aren’t of the knitting variety, but they have me at the ironing and cutting board and at the sewing machine.  Instructables has a cargo scarf that I hope will bring a smile to a couple of faces this season.  Pardon the poor photo quality.  I could stand to learn a thing or two in that department.  đŸ™‚ 


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Time to Sew Something

Today I’ve felt the inclination to attempt a new sewing project.  I have material out that I envision becoming a skirt.  Here are some links that will serve as inspiration.  I love wearing a long, roomy skirt.  It at once enhances your femininity and makes you look “dressed up” even if you’re only wearing it because it’s comfy.

My other sewing option is a baby’s quilt — the one for my almost two-year-old!  All in due time.

While I’m gathering up the momentum to whip up a complete project, I am enjoying reading The Feminine Face of God.  Wonderful read thus far, and I’m only half-way through. I’ll elaborate later when I’m finished.

Enjoy whatever projects you devote your time and energy toward!

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Simple Easter Dress

I think it’s perfectly lovely that Easter falls so close to the first of Spring this year.  Nature seems to agree, with all the trees budding and the early spring flowers opening up.  <deep inhale and contented sigh>

In our effort to be frugal and incorporate more handmade things into our daily round, rather than speed out and buy an easter dress for our oldest daughter, we’re going to use the fabric we already have and make a nice little sundress.  She already has a lovely hand-me-down top to wear over it since it’s still a little chilly.

No, I don’t have a pattern.  Yes, I’ve made dresses before.  Yes, I’m winging it here, but what better way to let the creativity flow?

I’m just getting started, so I’ll keep adding pictures as I progress.

  • Like I said, we already had the fabric, washed and dried.  Lucky
    for me, this fabric doesn’t require lots of ironing!   In case you’re wondering, we didn’t dye this fabric.  It came that way.  I’m also using thread I already had.
  • I thought up a simple design and used my daughter toeaster_dress_fabric.JPG
    guesstimate the fabric portions and make the cuts.  I think I’ll double the chest piece to make it a little thicker and disguise the strap ends and top of the skirt.  I also think I’ll add a couple more pieces to the skirt to make it more full.  Who doesn’t like to feel like a princess?  Plus, my daughter can be active and needs lots of room to move.Easter_strap2.JPG
  • I started with the straps, folding in half, sewing along one side.  (I really should be using my serger, but that means switching out thread.  Sounds like an afternoon task.)  Anywho, turn right side out and — voila — nice straps.  Turns out that these straps are extra long.  We’ll either fold them in half and give it a double-strap look or cut one in half and use the other for a bag.  Time will tell.

(more to come . . .  as promised)


  • Straps done, I pinned them to the chest piece at the places
    necessary.  I totally just held
    the chest piece around her and
    positioned and pinned the straps.  I don’t know what I was thinking when I cut the length for the straps.  They were almost twice as long as they needed to be.  Since I used two layers of fabric for the chest piece, I inserted the straps between the layers.  Right sides together (which is interesting since the fabric seems to be the same on both sides) and making sure the straps would be facing the correct way, I
    serged the top seam (top photo to right), using the knife to trim.  Then, I turned right side out and added this decorative stitch
    to keep
    the seam from rolling.  The straps were still too long, so we just safety-pinned them in place for the time being.


  • I did cut another skirt piece to add room, and I’m glad I did. 
    Again, I used the serger toskirt_to_top.jpg make the seams.  I am loving the serger for this!  No longer am I intimidated by the threading.  Wahoo!  With all the skirt pieces sewn together, I gathered the top of the skirt.  To do this, I used the basting and pulling method; here’s an excellent video tutorial on gathering.  Then I aligned it to the top and pinned and basted it in place.  I removed the pins and then serged to clean up the seam.  This took me a couple of tries because apparently I had gotten a little crooked.
  • Almost finished, I had her try it on so I could pin the hem.  We both wanted it long.pin_hem.jpg  There’s still room to let it out (both at the hem and the straps) as she grows.  She’ll probably outgrow the bust first, though, since it has the least amount of room to grow.  I didn’t feel like switching the threads on the serger, so I just did a quick sew around the skirt for the hem.  Another thing I loved about this fabric is the straight lines!  Obviously I’m not strict about measuring twice and cutting once!

All in all, this was a simple project and relatively quick.  I ended up sewing a square over the extra strap length to keep it in place yet save it for later.  I got the center of the top in the back quite off center in relation to the straps, but that’s what I get for being so lax in my technique, if you can call it that.  If nothing else, I hope this inspires you to try your own hand at creating an original.



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