Vintage Quilt Redefined and Upcycled

The definition of vintage is an item that is less than 100 years old (when it becomes antique) and more than 20 years. So, the range is approximately 20 – 99 years old. Sue and I made a quilt for my niece, Betsy, back in 2003. I remember the year well because she purchased her home then, and purple is her favorite color. She asked if we would make her a queen-size quilt, and of course, we said YES. There was one caveat, though. She had to pick out the fabrics. Did she want a warm purple or a cool purple? She didn’t know there was a difference. She popped over one weekend and selected her fabrics. Voila, her quilt looks nice on her bed.

Fast forward a number of years (19), and she needed a new quilt. Her old one had been well-loved. It was nice and soft from many washings but you could see its age. At first, I thought it might make a good batting-esque choice for the inside of her new quilt. But alas, that didn’t work out.

Vintage Does Mean Old

We tossed the old quilt into a drawer and promptly forgot about it. I could almost hear it squeak now and then, but I wasn’t able to identify a good purpose for it. We couldn’t cast it aside . . . throw it in the garbage like it was never loved . . . but what to do? What to do? It aged itself right into being vintage! Still, without a purpose, Sue wanted the drawer space. Why are we hanging on to this quilt after all this time? It was almost given to Goodwill but I was too busy to drop stuff off. Well, it’s a good thing we held on to it, I think.

Making that first cut was definitely the hardest. Yikes! Who does that? I had to smile at the fabrics and the careful hand-sewing done in purple thread. She really held up well except for the edges. The Card Trick pattern was an Eleanor Burns classic and it was a pattern that we have never followed since.

Vintage Crazy Timing

Things went a bit haywire about this time. I carefully trimmed off one border edge. Then, several hours were spent un-quilting with Jack the ripper on the three layers of the two borders. Why, you might wonder (and I wondered myself)! I wanted to see how the machine stitching was holding up – just fine, by the way. And those long borders would make a perfect binding for the project I had in mind. Did I remember to take pictures of this step? No, I did not. I thought I was crazy enough without committing the act to photos.

Vintage Prototype Journal

Sticking to the basics of Jen’s original tutorial and the previous covers I’ve made, I knew this one would be different. Of course, this fabric was already quilted so there would be no need to add a lining and then flip inside-out. That meant I would need a binding, which I just happened to have in matching fabric Quite honestly, I didn’t think of the binding dilemma until I had one prototype made. I didn’t take a picture of that version and I gave it away as soon as it was finished. Duh! I did decide to add some additional quilting to supplement the original hand-stitching.

Vintage Quilt Journal Cover Finished

Here is version two of the vintage quilt upcycled journal cover. I’m still mulling over some minor changes. One of the borders was wide enough to be used as the inside flap to hold the composition notebook in place.

There are still a ton of remaining pieces of the quilt that can be used. Sue suggested making a stocking, which would be easy. If you have any suggestions, I would LOVE to hear them. A queen-size quilt can turn into a multitude of projects on the upcycle path.

Here it is pictured with my new mug. I broke my favorite mug just recently and I’ve discovered it is difficult to replace. It was just the perfect size for my morning coffee. Also, it wasn’t too heavy but not too light either; the thickness of the rim was just perfect . . . I miss my old mug. A lot. But Belle is trying to step in and I’m trying to let her . . . this saga continues. If my niece, Betsy, is reading this – I plan to make and send you one of these.

♥ ♥ ♥

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14 Responses

  1. Chrisknits says:

    Love the cover! I used to make these, maybe I need to make some more!! Thanks for the idea.

  2. So here I sit my very vintage self, Roseanne. What a neat post! Loved how you were able to recycle the quilt pieces. Those soft aged colours are so pretty too. Memories close at hand too. Love the Belle mug.

  3. Great idea for the quilt! You could also do a memory bear! That would be fun. I think there is a free pattern on Funky Friends Factory??

  4. Rochelle Summers says:

    Lovely quilt and now a whole set of other possibilities. I loved them all. When I saw the journal cover laying there, I thought “Placemat”. I understand the grief over the loss of a fabric mug. I miss it but, truth be told, eventually I find another favorite. Time is all it takes. Thanks for a great post. Hugs.

  5. Colette says:

    What a great way to reuse a well loved quilt. I would have seen if I could make a Barn Coat out of it, there is a fabulous pattern out there. But also just a throw pillow, a bear, a tote bag, mug rug, add a little batting and a new back you have a hot pad, or could you make it into a bowl cozy? So many options

  6. Melva Nolan says:

    What a great purpose for that quilt. <3 I have made some small rabbits (with floppy ears held in place with vintage (possibly antique buttons)) and birds (with wings held in place with buttons). They are sweet reminders of my MIL and my grandparents.

  7. I like Wendy’s ideas. Here’s another, albeit a bit more involved. I once was given a slice of a vintage quilt that was placed behind a heart shaped mat, then double matted and framed. I think there was also a quote hand written somewhere on the piece as well.
    BTW: What I remember most about Eleanor Burns was how she’d always throw her ‘scrap’ strips over her shoulder and they’d fall on the floor…I wonder if she ever made a scrap quilt out of those?

  8. I love that journal cover – what a great idea! Table toppers and/ or placemats also come to mind as a use for some of the rest of the quilt.

  9. Kathleen McCormick says:

    That journal cover is fabulous. Thinking a tea cozy would be lovely – being that I am in Ireland that came to mind.

  10. Laura says:

    Love, love, love the journal cover keepsake! Great way to repurpose a well-loved quilt! I wish I had thought of that! Many years ago, I made teddy bears from my Grandmother’s quilt and gave them to my Mom and sisters. They are all treasured. It stinks that you have lost your favorite mug! Those morning mugs are with us every single day and hold such extreme importance! 🙂

  11. Carol Swift says:

    What a great story and a beautiful way to keep that treasured quilt around!

  12. What a fun idea, Roseanne! I love how the journal cover turned out – the perfect use for an older quilt that is still loved. I’ll have to remember that!

  13. Wendy says:

    How about a simple tote bag? One block would also make a cute “bib” for the front of an apron? Zippy pouches! Will be fun to see what other creative things you come up with, and now you have that lovely journal for making your list of what else to make! I’m sorry about your coffee mug – favorite mugs are hard to replace!

  14. Vicki in MN says:

    I have heard/seen people use vintage quilts to make bears. How about placemats too.

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