I was straightening up my sewing room yesterday and putting away the vintage pattern I used for the solidarity-with-the-Libyan-people-caftan (earlier post). I had the pattern in one hand and in the other was some Depression style cotton that I bought a long time ago in a period when I was under the impression I would one day make a Depression style quilt.
That's a thing to do you know, spend a huge bunch of money on fabric that looks old style so you can copy the work done by women who had next to zero disposable income and resorted to making quilts from cut up old dresses and skirts.
My own grandmother was a quilter of that type and that generation. Her quilts are now with one of my sisters who moves particularly fast and is a wonderful quilter herself. In fact this particular sister and I were once going to make a joint quilt together. I did my half of the blocks and sent them to her, she sent them back. This gives you some idea of my quilting aptitude.
Back to my grandmother.
Those ladies used everything. I remember one winter quilt was made of the leg parts of socks she had knit for my grandfather once the feet were past darning. She crazy quilted and embroidered them over with left over sock yarn (I remember once as a teenage sewer having her nearly stroke out on me when she saw me unwind some thread off a bobbin so I could wind a new colour on - I was Wasting Thread). I also remember a series of quilts she made by going to a tailor and asking for the squares of fabric he used as suit samples. She stitched those together, interlined it with an old wool blanket, and backed it with flannel.
We used to take one of those suit wool quilts with us when we were camping as kids. We hated it. It was like sleeping under a sidewalk. And if that thing got damp it took the rest of the school year to dry out.
Back to me and quilting.
Well, yesterday I looked at this piece of Depression print and accepted that there was no way I was ever going to make myself any Dresden plate quilt. Or a Sun Bonnet Sue.
If it doesn't have sleeves and a hem it just isn't my kind of sewing.
But I still had this fabric and when I looked at it I thought "what will I ever make from it? It just looks like some old housedress."
So that's exactly what I decided to do with it - using my Bedouin pattern without the sleeves creating a sort of Solidarity-with-women-who-used-to-be-given-housekeeping-money-in-change dress.
I will be stylizing this with red flip flops, if I can find them, and maybe few rollers for my hair and wearing it until someone in the family says to me "what the hell is that you have on?" And at that point I might cut it up and make a quilt.
But I had a lot of fun making it.
It's not all that serious. It can't be.
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- I am a mother, a grandmother, and a teacher. But whatever happens in my life, I keep sewing. I have worked as a political communicator and now as a teacher in my formal life. I have also written extensively on sewing. I have been a frequent contributor and contributing editor of Threads magazine and the Australian magazine Dressmaking with Stitches. My book Sew.. the garment-making book of knowledge was published in May 2018 and is available for pre-order from Amazon