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Thread: Help needed with design using vintage pillowcases

  1. #1
    Super Member RugosaB's Avatar
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    Help needed with design using vintage pillowcases

    This is probably going to end up a long post, if you stay with me, bless you:

    My husband (to be) and I bought a house in 1980. It was a house built in 1918, the current owner had been there since 1921 and it looked like it had been remodeled 40 years before, so it needed help. The woman was confined to one room on the first floor, and went to a home (I’m so sorry if that is not the current word used nowadays, its what was said back then) The house was sold including all its contents, it looked like someone from 40 years earlier lived there, completely furnished.

    It included a bunch of embroidered, with crocheted trim, pillowcases, which she had done. Most were new, if not all – do not remember which pile is which.

    The piles:

    My husband and I married in 1981. Luckily we had a formal photo with his Grandmother, as she died that fall. Of his brothers, 2 were still in high school, and one did not have a girlfriend. His dad was this woman’s only son, so we helped take care of Grandma’s stuff. No one had any interest in the quilts or pillowcases so I took them. I made sure each of the brothers got a quilt, though I doubt if they exist now. (I had already rescued a quilt that Grandma made, that my husband used to wrap up his tools in his van! NOT a quilt appreciative family)

    So I had the pillowcases from the woman we bought the house from, Grandma’s, and I went to farm auctions and garage sales in the 80’s and added to my collection. I knew someday I would use them for something, if only just holding them to pass on.

    I have debated with myself over the years, whether to just keep them as is, or use them to make ‘something.’ They’re not quite as pristine as I remembered, some were lightly used, some have yellowed where folded, and I’ve been wanted to make a square to put diagonally on my king bed. I’ve seen that look is quite acceptable now, and it does cut down on the size. I was dreading having to fmq a king size quilt on my domestic machine, this is the answer I was looking for!

    These are the pillowcases I have, and I do have many yards of crocheted edging that could be used, from many doilies, scarves, etc.
    So my question is, does anyone here want to throw out ideas of what to do with them? What I want is a 45’ to 60” square that I can lay on the top of a plain green bedspread.
    Complicated is great, I’m up to the challenge.
    The 3 walls are a darker shade of green, and our wallpaper on the wall behind the bed is black with lots of pastel colored old fashioned fantasy (definitely not real) flowers, and this is behind out brass headboard:



    So here are the pillowcases (I have others that will not be cut up and do not ‘mesh’ with these)

    The colors go with the room perfectly imo.
    All the crocheted edging goes all the way round the edge of the pillowcases, so there's a lot there too
    Attached Images Attached Images                
    Last edited by RugosaB; 02-09-2014 at 05:57 PM. Reason: wanted to add
    You know that feeling when you've finished all your quilting projects and your studio is perfectly clean????

    Me neither.

  2. #2
    Super Member nanacc's Avatar
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    I'm sorry that I have no constructive advice. All I can say is that you have a real treasure of beautiful creations and I hope you find a solution! Thanks for showing us!!

  3. #3
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    I've been collecting vintage pillowcases and dresser scarf sets. I want to use them in little girl's dresses and maybe as the centers in a crazy quilt. Pieces of the lace could be used in the quilt blocks also. Course that means they have to be cut up.

  4. #4
    Power Poster dunster's Avatar
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    I just finished Cindy Needham's class on Wholecloth Quilts on Craftsy. Cindy does a lot of work with vintage linens, and the class gives examples of how you might use these treasures. Don't be scared by the "wholecloth" aspect. The entire class is taught on a domestic sewing machine, not a longarm, and the techniques are not that hard. She will even show you how to use the lace at the bottom of the pillowcase in your quilt. I wish I had saved some of the lovely pillowcases and other linens from my younger years. I do have two tablecloths that I will use for wholecloth quilts, after I practice on some that I hope to find in the thrift stores. Have fun!

  5. #5
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    They are beautiful! I wouldn't have the heart to cut them up but I'm sure they can be made into something beautiful. The Craftsy class mentioned above sounds like it would be a great help to you.

  6. #6
    Super Member Divokittysmom's Avatar
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    I will be following this thread closely. I too have hand embroidered vintage pillowcases that I would love to turn into a quilt of some kind. I have asked on this board before for suggestions... Perhaps we can both find a good way to showcase these beauties! Yours are very beautiful!!
    I am truly Blessed by the Best!!
    ♥♥ Sew Sincerely, Sheriann ♥♥


  7. #7
    Super Member Jeanne S's Avatar
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    I hope someone has a solution because I also have lots of vintage pillowcases just like yours!! Thanks so much for the post!

  8. #8
    Super Member Jan in VA's Avatar
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    They are so beautiful!
    I once used embroidered linens like this to create curtains and valances for my very feminine Shabby Chic bedroom. I also used them to line the visual edge of shelves in an antique secretary - behind glass doors - on which rested my family photos collections.
    And once I used them to make neck roll pillows for my bed.

    Jan in VA
    Jan in VA
    Living in the foothills
    peacefully colors my world.

  9. #9
    Super Member Peckish's Avatar
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    Oh my gosh I don't have any ideas, but your collection is gorgeous and I am quite green!!

    I did a search...

    https://www.google.com/search?q=how+...w=1138&bih=554

    http://www.pinterest.com/blueyedjac/hankie-ideas/

    https://www.google.com/search?q=how+...w=1138&bih=554

    http://voices.yahoo.com/make-pillowc...-11583708.html

    And here's a thread from a couple of years ago, maybe something there will stir an idea or two.

    post on Vintage linens used in quilts

  10. #10
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    I used to make pillow cases like those. In fact, that was what I gave my brides maid and made of honor when I got married. For a while I was giving them to everyone in the family. So it saddens me when I see they weren't used. So my first response is: Put them on pillows and use them! My grandmother saved the ones I made until one day she asked herself what was she saving them for?

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