Thursday, January 27, 2011

A Garment on my Design Wall

I went to the Road 2 California quilt show last week and among the great vendors there, I found one specializing in antiques: antiques quilts, tablecloths, hankies, blocks, etc. I collect antique quilts and give a lecture to guilds on the history of fabric in America but I swore to be a good girl and not buy another for my collection. I came close to buying 2 redwork pillowcases with sayings that really got to me: the first one said, "I slept and dreamed that life was beauty", depicting butterflies and blossoms. The second one read, "I woke and found that life was duty" with an image of a woman with a broom in her hand. Sad, huh? Didn't buy them.

Then I saw a rack of blouses made out of vintage tablecloths, doilies and cutter quilts. OMG! They were wonderful! But at $110 to $150, a little pricy. Then, a lightbulb went off above me! I have 4 drawers full of embroidered and crocheted items that my grandmother and mother made and they've been sitting there, unused, for a couple of decades! I don't use them because they are stained and not the right size for my tables. Making them into garments I would wear would be a tribute to my forbears as well as the ultimate recycling of otherwise unusable items.

So, I found a simple, non-dart blouse pattern, chose an embroidered tablecloth my grandmother made eons ago and put it on my design wall. I made some calculations, marked it up and started cutting.

This is the back. It started as a 50" round tablecloth that fit a table my mother replaced with a rectangular one when I was about 10 (1963). It's the one I chose to make first because it's the least 'special'. If this one turns out as great as I think it will, I'll cut into the really pretty ones and make more! Can't wait to finish it and wear it!


Michelle said...

What a great idea! I'm sure you'll enjoy them more because they're from your own family.

Jennifer Woo said...

I can't wait to see it finished. I wish my Grandmother had left some of those. She knitted so I do have a couple of her blankets so that works!! It will look great on you!

Chris said...

What a great way to use the tablecloth. Can't wait to see the finished blouse.

Gari said...

What a wonderful way to use those beautiful handmade items. Good for you!