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Vintage renovation

I was recently asked if I could renovate an old piece of patchwork and turn it into a finished quilted item. After a couple of beats I said yes and so that is what I have been doing this week. I think it dates back to the ’30’s, that is a guess based on the fabrics used and nothing more scientific or informed. It was interestingly constructed; each log cabin style block was hand stitched together and then hand stitched on to a backing using running stitch in the seams, ‘stitch in the ditch’. These backed panels were then sewn together, again by hand, and the piece was left unfinished….until this week.
I decided to back it with calico and and to fold the baking on to the front to create the edging. I used a lightest of adding as I didn’t want to put a strain on the delicate seams and began by laying the three layers out on the lounge floor; calico, wadding and patchwork. I crawled  around pinning through the layers trying to keep the top as smooth as possible. I then carefully double folded the edge over, pinned and tacked it in place. After a lot of umming and ahhhing I decided to hand stitch the edging to keep in the spirit of the original patchwork. It took a little while (a couple of episodes of ‘Breaking Bad’ to be precise) but it was well worth it. Then I sorted out 80 small double hole buttons and started to quilt, from the centre outwards to the edges. I compiled a mix of softly coloured embroidery threads that reflected the colours in the patchwork and placed a button on each intersection of four blocks – that’s how I got to 80 – and stitched them on and finished them off with a knot on the topside, I left tails of a couple of centimetres for extra interest. I hope that my client will be pleased – I’m pretty chuffed with the finished item.

Here are some pictures of the process 
The patchwork before any work, untrimmed,
no wadding, no backing, no quilting
The reverse of the patchwork shows a variety of
fabrics used to back each block and hand stitched
Detail of the front showing the eclectic range
of fabrics used
Buttons sorted, I deliberately mismatched them, it felt
appropriate for the patchwork
Close up of button and knot detail
Corner detail and the back of a button and knot
– that little dimple
The finished quilt

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