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Thread: 1930's Quilt Question

  1. #1

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    I have a quilt top that was pieced in the 1930's. It is like a dresden plate pattern with points instead of rounded edges. Each block is about 21". The original quilter (one of my great-aunts) turned under the raw edges and stitched them down with a running stitch. Now I want to applique the blocks to muslin - a friend suggested blind stitch. I also thought of taking out the current stitching and restitching the blocks to the muslin, batting, and backing all in one step. Thoughts or ideas? thanks!

  2. #2
    Super Member ckcowl's Avatar
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    i would not take out the existing stitching unless something is wrong with it.
    do you just have the plates? or are they actually blocks?
    there are many ways to applique dresden plates to a background- what stitch you use is simply a personal (what look you like) choice-
    some options- satin stitch, zig-zag, machine blanket stitch, hand blanket stitch, a hand invisible stitch-
    what ever you like.

  3. #3
    Power Poster QuiltE's Avatar
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    The running stitch was probably meant to be used as a temporary holder and would be removed, once she had the plate appliqued and quilted in place.

    As for finishing, I'd do your Great Aunt the honour of completing it as close to how it would have been done in her day.

    I have my Mother's Dresden plate, and the plates are appliqued on with black in a blanket stich. There was no circle put in the centre. Rather the centre edges were turned under, and the background fabric shows thru. Then a quilting design in the centre.

  4. #4
    Moderator QuiltnNan's Avatar
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    if it is already a top, why would you want to change the background to muslin? since it is your top now, you can do what you want. the previous posters have good suggestions for keeping the 30's feel to it.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mrs BP
    I have a quilt top that was pieced in the 1930's. It is like a dresden plate pattern with points instead of rounded edges. Each block is about 21". The original quilter (one of my great-aunts) turned under the raw edges and stitched them down with a running stitch. Now I want to applique the blocks to muslin - a friend suggested blind stitch. I also thought of taking out the current stitching and restitching the blocks to the muslin, batting, and backing all in one step. Thoughts or ideas? thanks!
    I would not take the stitching out and restitch to muslin, batting and backing all in one step. That said,

    I don't think I understand ... if you already have a whole top, why do you want to take it apart? Is the backing deteriorating?

  6. #6
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    Are they dresden plates, blocks or a top? I'm a bit confused. If they are plates only, then I would choose a way to applique them to the muslin and take out the running stitches on the points. I too believe they are basting stitches, then put the blocks together and bind. I love dresden plates and have recently done one in 30's repros....

  7. #7
    Power Poster QuiltE's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by QuiltnNan
    if it is already a top, why would you want to change the background to muslin? since it is your top now, you can do what you want. the previous posters have good suggestions for keeping the 30's feel to it.
    This has me confused too, as to why OP would be changing the original, rather than finishing what has been done.

    Being that you are considering muslin, what is the original background??

  8. #8
    Junior Member joycet's Avatar
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    Thanks QuiltE for helping me solve my problem. LOL I am the process of making a Dresden Plate quilt. Well I do have the first plate ALMOST together!!! I need more Oriental fabrics. I intended to applique it on black fabric but since the plates are darker in color I've changed my mind. I think off white or maybe a light beige. I had thought what to do with the inside of the plates. I really didn't like the circle...nor putting a yo-yo in the center. I just couldn't think of anymore things to do. Then you mentioned about your mother's quilt. I love the idea!!!! Thanks for the help again!!!

  9. #9
    Super Member ube quilting's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by QuiltE
    The running stitch was probably meant to be used as a temporary holder and would be removed, once she had the plate appliqued and quilted in place.

    As for finishing, I'd do your Great Aunt the honour of completing it as close to how it would have been done in her day.

    I have my Mother's Dresden plate, and the plates are appliqued on with black in a blanket stich. There was no circle put in the centre. Rather the centre edges were turned under, and the background fabric shows thru. Then a quilting design in the centre.
    I like Quilt this idea. Keep it true to the period and keep the vintage look.
    peace :D

  10. #10
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    :-D Welcome to the board, Mrs BP!!! First, post, too.

    As you can see, we are happy to help, but need specifics to help.

    You called it a top, but said the dresdins were stitched with a running stitch. If by that, you mean a loose, long stich, to turn the edges, and to just to keep the dresdens on the background, then that was the original maker's temp stitching. Is the background a "wholecloth", all one piece? If so, then that explains why it isn't just blocks at this stage of the construction.

    My g-ma, born 1880s, used running stitches on her Sunbonnet Sue's. Then blanket stitched them to background blocks, removing the running stitches.

    It would be more typical that the dresdens would be running stitched onto blocks, rather than the whole top.

    A picture would help us to guide you.

    I would think you need to blanket stitch all the dresdens to the top, removing the running stitches as you work. Then proceed with preparing a backing and batting. Muslin would have been the backing for this kind of quilt in the 30's.

    Happy Quilting!!!

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