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How to remove old flour sack markings

How to remove old flour sack markings

Old 05-21-2022, 07:14 AM
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Default How to remove old flour sack markings

I have a set of lovely turned edge then buttonhole stitched appliqué Sunbonnet Sue blocks made by my grandmother, almost surely from the 1930s. They are on a very thin muslin backing, and a few of them have some very faint lettering showing up on one end where there are seam needle holes (bag seams?). I think the markings are from old flour sacks that were designed to washout so women in the depression could use the fabric. I have very gently soaked the squares for 4 days in Biz per Martha Pullen’s recommendations for heirloom items, but the markings still show. I have enough blocks to use for my current quilt without the ones with lettering, but I would like to use them all eventually. Suggestions?

BTW, the Biz worked wonders on the frankly dirty and yellowed fabrics. I have used this on table and bed vintage linens too, and it is great stuff. It just didn’t do anything to the printing.
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Old 05-21-2022, 07:32 AM
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From my Mom's and MIL's experience from those bags, (I am 80), it is almost impossible to completely remove those markings completely.

Those large holes around the edges were from the seam lines. The thread used was quite coarse compared to what is used in quilting now-a-days.
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Old 05-21-2022, 08:38 AM
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A part of the charm of vintage Sunbonnet Sue blocks is the use of the flour/sugar bag fabric even with the faded labeling visible. I would embrace the look and use all the blocks. Maybe use the ones with print visible to make a table topper or runner if you don't want them in your quilt. Looking forward to seeing your finished work.
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Old 05-21-2022, 09:12 AM
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Thanks for the info folks. I figured if my grandmother washing the fabric (by hand or in a wringer washer I assume) didn’t get the marks out, they might never come out. I am making this quilt for my soon to arrive great niece. I am pretty sure it will be used as a wall quilt or, more likely, just stashed since my niece isn’t much into vintage. However I am making the quilt due to a request of my sister. Even if niece doesn’t like it, my sister will be moved; she was very, very close to my grandmother. I am sure we all know how it is - you make a quilt for a new baby, asking about colors and themes, make something you feel hits every request, and you never, ever see it used. Sigh. If it wasn’t for my sister, the niece wouldn’t be getting a quilt for this baby! Therefore I have no qualms about making a lovely quilt in honor of my sister and giving it to her daughter. I will let them handle the rest of it. I am hoping to get it pretty much done in a retreat next week, and I will post it then. I am using 9” rectangular blocks with pink dotted sashing and a solid pink cornerstones. Pink dot for the border. Haven’t decided for sure on binding, but probably the pink solid. Quilting will be straight lines radiating from the center of each Sue, leaving the appliqué unquilted - I think of the quilting as sunbeams!
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Old 05-22-2022, 12:59 AM
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Pam, I love the idea of making the quilt, but, instead of giving it to your niece, why don't you give it to your sister? When my great-grandchildren are born, I make a quilt for the baby, and another for the grandmother. That way, whenever Baby comes to visit, there is a quilt waiting for them to use.
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Old 05-22-2022, 02:58 AM
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Originally Posted by jacqueck View Post
Pam, I love the idea of making the quilt, but, instead of giving it to your niece, why don't you give it to your sister? When my great-grandchildren are born, I make a quilt for the baby, and another for the grandmother. That way, whenever Baby comes to visit, there is a quilt waiting for them to use.
That's exactly what I was going to suggest. This quilt will mean more to your sister than to the younger generation, who has no memory of the previous woman or the challenges of that time. Unless the new mom has an appreciation for quilts and quilting, she may not even want a quilt and would rather have one of those nice fuzzy, fleecy type blankets that wash and dry like a dream.
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Old 05-22-2022, 04:11 AM
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I wish I had thought of making the quilt for my sister before! But she was the one who explicitly asked for it to be made for my great niece. My niece spent a lot of time with my grandmother, her great grandmother who lived a long life, and has lovely memories of “Nanny” that she has talked about. And while I would t be surprised if the quilt eventually ends up in my sister’s custody, I want to respect her wishes. I will definitely mention to my niece that if it isn’t her style, she can give it to her mom and I will make her another one! This one will be finished well before baby comes, so I would have time.
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Old 05-24-2022, 08:15 AM
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As someone who cherishes vintage/history items, I would hate to see this authentic feedsack historic fabric disappear. The idea of giving the quilt made from them to your sister and make another for the niece who may not realize the significance of the history involved seems like a better to go.
I almost hate to see the fabric used in a baby quilt which will be washed much more than a quilt for an older child or adult.
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Old 05-28-2022, 06:37 AM
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Well folks, I finished all the piecing and got a good start on the quilting. And you were right - this quilt isn’t appropriate for a baby. I called my sister, described my dilemma, and asked if she wanted it instead. She does! In fact she was very touched. I will make a much more robust quilt for my great niece.
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Old 05-28-2022, 12:33 PM
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Can we see a pic?
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