Sunday, July 14, 2019

What I'm Doing With Vintage Scraps

Hello quilty friends!  As you know , I recently came across the most wonderful feedsack scrap quilt top.  I will finish this beauty one of these days!  All it needs is a back, quilting, and binding.

In the same store, I found baggies full of authentic vintage scraps dating all the way from the 30's and 40's up to the 60's.  I don't think these scraps are from the same quilter who made  the quilt in the picture above.  They are all completely different except for the red/white polka dots.

I've never sewn with real vintage fabrics before and I was fascinated with the different colors and designs from another era.

Now when I say I have scraps, we're talking SMALL pieces of fabric.  The largest shape I could get out of any of  them was a 4 1/2" square.   So I cut as many of those as I could.

You can tell from the color selection that these were probably the least favorite fabrics in the stash.  I ended up with 37 of those.

Then, from what scraps were left after I did that, I cut 2 1/2" inch squares.  I ended up with exactly 325 of those at last count.

Then last, but not least, I took all the remaining scraps and basically started creating crumb blocks with them.  Rather than trim the scraps into squares or rectangles, I decided to work with whatever shape they were and just start joining them together.  I trimmed off jaggedy edges to create a straight edge to join together, but other than that, I tried to cut off as little fabric as possible.  I still have more scraps I could put together if I wanted to, but the pieces are left are getting rather tiny and I don't know how much time I want to spend doing this.

Some of them I tried to connect like colors to like colors, like this . . .

Pink #1

Pink #2

Hmm, is this one green or blue?

This one mostly green . . .

A red one . . .

Most of the rest of the blocks are random scraps just thrown together.  
Whew!  This one is rather busy!

Before I started cutting squares, I threw a bunch of the scraps onto a large piece of solid peachish-orangish (tangerine?) fabric that I have and decided it went well with most of the fabrics and quite a few of them actually have this color or somewhat close to that color in them.  

So I decided to cut a bunch of 2 1/2" squares and made some four patches.  
At first I put two like squares together with two tangerine squares like this . . .

I realized I would quickly run out of "pairs" so decided to do the tangerine with random fabrics instead.

Still no plan yet.   I decided I needed to count up what I had of everything so far so I could start getting somewhat of a direction to head for.  

I have 31 tangerine 4 patches (4 1/2")

37 full size 4 1/2 inch squares

47 scrappy 4 1/2 inch squares

28 four patches of random 2 1/2" squares

If you're keeping track that is 143  4.5 inch squares all together.  OK now I'm starting to think about how I'm going to use them all.   I can't just sew them together because that would be an awfully chaotic mess and a little hard to look at!   I have quite a bit of the tangerine fabric left and I think I might use those squares as a checkerboard border like this . . .

This is how far I could get with 31 of them.  By making 4 more I can get a  40 inch square.  I have a lot of tangerine and quite a few 2 1/2 inch square left so I can enlarge that as needed.

OK, next I decided I would tackle the scrappy blocks.  To calm them down I am going to add solid colors to each one and make square in a square blocks like this . . .
I think I'm really going to like how this looks!  If you can't tell, I LOVE scrappy quilts!  I love the look of a quilt that reflects how they originally were put together with just any little scrap that was available to create something to keep warm with.  

I am making these blocks large enough so I'll end up with 6 inch blocks (unfinished).   Since I have 47 scrappy blocks and that's not divisible by anything.  I am going to make two more of those so I can have a 7 x 7 layout of square in a square blocks.   I'm not sure how the math is going to work out with the four patch border fitting around that, but I'll figure something out!

What to do with the random 4 patches and the 37 plain squares.  Hmmm!   I think I'll just set them aside for now until I get all my square in a squares finished.  

Whew!  That's what I've been making with my vintage scraps.  

If you didn't get a chance to read my last post, I am exploring uncharted waters for me by making a quilt out of my friend's wedding dress. 

 So far, all I've done with that is start to deconstruct the dress to figure out how much fabric I have to work with.  Those things are HARD to get apart!  It's been very interesting seeing just exactly how they were put together.  I'll share more about that in an upcoming blog post.

In the meantime, I have an exciting announcement which I'll blog more about later as well.  I've opened up an Etsy store called That's So Janice.  Thank you to my daughter Ashley for designing the logo!   

I need to declutter!!  Inventory will be mostly discontinued fabric (so I almost went with That's Sew Janice) but decided to avoid the sewing pun since I have other items as well.  I'll be adding a few new things every day.

Hope you'll visit !     

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  1. It’s interesting to see how you’ve intentionally chosen to work with vintage fabrics. Such an large assortment of prints! From my grandmother’s 1940s Fabrics, I chose only a few of the dozens of prints, in fairly large size scrap pieces, to work with. I gave the rest to a friend who loves vintage. It’s sure an interesting fabric style to work with, but personally, I’m ready to get back to my modern fabrics and solids. Enjoy what you’re doing. It looks like you’re headed in a good direction.

  2. You have been busy! I favorited your Etsy shop.

  3. I love all the vintage fabrics, and I'm blown away by the 2-1/2 inch 4 patches and the scrappy 4-1/2 inch squares. Yay on your Etsy shop! I've already put a couple things in my cart. ;)
    I forgot to poll my granddaughters about my wedding dress while they were here on the 4th, but my daughter seemed fine with me making a quilt from it. I'm happy to let you blaze the trail here. ;)

  4. What a fun process to watch unfold! So glad you are turning these treasured fabrics into a quilt!

  5. Great looking batch of blocks! Looking forward to seeing the quilt grow.

  6. You're making great progress in using the scraps. Congrats on the Etsy store.

  7. I love what you are doing with the vintage fabrics! Nice job. A quilter friend of mi e is taking her wedding dress and planning to make Christmas tree skirts for her and her children. MelvaLovesScraps(at)nolanqualitycustoms(dot)com

  8. What a windfall! I adore the scrappy squares on point in the middle of the solids. This looks like very good times.:) Love your floral logo!

  9. You really have some treasures there. Having all those untouched vintage fabrics is really an advantage because they are not faded and seem to be in very good condition. Your ideas for using them are great. Adding the touches of solid will make it nicely blended all together. Best of luck with your Etsy shop!

  10. Talk about falling down a rabbit hole! Being handed a bag of scraps last summer blew all my summer sewing plans, but I sure had fun, and it looks like you are, too. Enjoyed reading all about your thought process as you work through these fabrics. You hit it big with that find! Good luck with your Etsy shop, Janice.

  11. You are having so much fun this summer! Those blocks are wonderful, and I especially like the solids around the square in a square blocks. You are acing this! Best wishes for your new shop, too.

  12. I have loads of vintage scraps. You have given me some good ideas on what I could do with them. They are good to have around for repairing vintage quilts, but I have only fixed a couple quilts so that is not the best excuse for not doing something with them. I am interested to see how these vintage blocks progress.

  13. Wow! I love the crumb blocks!!!! Looks like you've been having lots of fun!

  14. Hi Janice! I just love the direction you're taking these wonderful fabrics from the 30s, 40s, etc. Especially the crumb blocks as a square-within-a-square. Brilliant as it really does calm down the prints and gives the eye a place to rest and focus. You also picked just the perfect color solids - love them. This is such a fun project - I can't wait to see where you go next. I'll check out your Etsy shop and make it a favorite. ~smile~ Roseanne

  15. I really like your crumb blocks! I tend to stick with one dominant color in mine so my brain can handle the chaos, but I love the super scrappy look you're achieving :)

  16. I too would have snapped up that bag of fabrics. Doubt though that I would have been as organized, or productive as you're being! These look great so far.

  17. Janice, You are making the most of these gorgeous fabrics. I am enjoying watching your creativity - I was given a large amount of similar fabrics and have made one quilt with them so far and have tons more. Your ideas are just wonderful!! Lots of mine are larger pieces but I do have a fair amount of small bits I could trim into usable squares. Love the blocks you are making - and the crumb blocks are perfect.
    I hope your shop is a great success. If you have any Etsy related questions, I am happy to chat about it.


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