Thursday, February 10, 2011

Saving the past one stitch at a time.

Embroidery of daily household items such as napkins, tea towels, and pillowcases has long been cast aside for much more easily purchased and readily available  items.  Girls are busy playing softball now (mine included) instead of learning to embroider.  I guess when you have more than 100 channels to surf it doesn't seem very "COOL" to sit sewing.   I however gravitate to these items.  The fascination over how precise each stitch is and the intricacy of the patterns.  All the work that went into the crocheted trim.  That is why I am so drawn to piece these gorgeous linens of the past into new pieces of the future.  A statement of thanks for all the hours of handmade humbleness.  While I can appreciate the wonders of new fabric and the colors  that they breathe I cannot escape the gentle whispers of the past linens piled high at my feet.   

Not only are these gorgeous from the front, the back work is meticulous.  This pillow case was riddled with holes and yellowed from age.  A quick rotary cut narrowed the embroidery work down to a workable size.  

Log cabin like quilt pattern pieces of a vintage feed sack apron helped bring the colors of the embroidery off the cream backdrop.  I think I paid fifty cents for each of these pieces at an estate sale.  I carefully cut the crochet trim off the pillow cases opening and used it to surround the quilted piece.

Linen seemed the likely choice.  I did not want to take away from the embroidery work and go with a pattern.  Then I carefully used my bias cutter and worked out a piping piece.  Super tip:  use the tiny sewing tape instead of pins to stick the piping into place for perfect sewing.  Works beautifully and no it won't cause sticky needles.

Now, I know this is not what all the trends are leaning toward, but it is what I love.  My hope is to inspire more people to see the greatness in the past somewhat overlooked treasures.  This is such a rewarding sewing task.  From a trashed pillowcase that no one could see the value in to one of my favorite pillows to date.  It could be just me, I realize that too!

This little apron had the sweetest fence across the bottom.  I had to show it off somehow.  It takes center stage on the back envelope closer along with another pillow case castoff trim.  

I have a stamp that I usually stamp onto twill tape and sew inside a seam, but this time I thought it was only fitting to stitch it on the back above the fence.  A very lovely lady on Etsy made it for me and I use it for my sewing and crafting.  It works great for fabric on twill tape with some Stazon stamping ink.

At my age I am learning new things that make me laugh in spite of myself.  Slow down your sewing.  Take smaller stitches.  Plan it out on paper.  Go with your gut.  If you don't like it on the table, your not going to like it when its stitched together!

I am linking this up with the Blogger's Pillow Party and Sew Mama Sew's February Pillow Month.


birdie blue said...

the pillow is absolutely a d o r a b l e, renee. well done.

have a lovely weekend.

kluless said...

Beautiful! I love the old embroidered pieces, too. When I find them I just have to resuce them and bring them home with me for a good washing and ironing and make them feel loved again.

Rachel at Stitched in Color said...

lovely rescue!

Musings from Kim K. said...

You do such beautiful work. Your pillow is just lovely. I wish I could sew. As much as I love to craft, I didn't inherit the sewing gene. I always gravitate to linens when I hit my favorite antique store. I managed to score 2 more aprons (as well as other goodies) this week. I have big plans for them in my craft room.

Unknown said...

Renee, I love the Valentine's you have made for Paula, too cute! I had you on my mind last evening as I sewed pillows from a vintage throw. What a treat to find you doing the same in your post today! I love your "signature" on the back! So many wonderful ideas to be found here. I just love to visit! E

I Love Pretty Little Things said...

Lovely and Creative. I love vintage linens with their pretty patterns and embroidery. So charming...
Thank you for sharing these on my Friday Pretties. So Pretty!

Anonymous said...

Renee, I think it is time well spent to treasure these Irma! Especially anything with crochet on it, as it is one of my creative passions!

I'm your new follower..and I do hope you'll come by and have a visit with me!

Ciao Bella!

Creative Carmelina

Unknown said...

Oh you are sneaky Renee! Here I was ogling your wonderful Valentines only to find one in my mailbox today! I can't wait to share it on the 14th. A very special thank you for the tuck-ins you just know I will love using in my paper art. I can't thank you enough. It has been such fun getting to know you. You inspire me in every way! Elizabeth