Contemporary Heirloom?

pillocase br

This pillowcase and its mate will be included in a wedding gift I am putting together for my cousin’s daughter. The first and only time I saw Jordan was when she was 14 and spent a week with us learning to sew. Now she has just graduated from University of Nebraska and will be married next week by her father in the church he pastors.

Sewing for others always requires at least a cursory consideration of their personal taste. When her grandmother (my sweet Aunt Rheeta) told me the wedding colors were black and white, and then the very contemporary invitation arrived, I knew Jordan was a 2012 Thoroughly Modern Millie.

But she is a beautiful young lady, both inside and out, who will be a lovely bride and a loving wife. She is entitled to her own taste.

I remember well the week before my own wedding 44 years ago, shopping with my mother. Using wedding gift money, I purchased a set of very 1968-stylish, bright blue floral sheets. My mother announced that she could not possibly sleep on anything as outrageous as that bedding. But I loved them.

Now, I like pink and blue and all pastels and the classic look of heirloom. But that is not the preference of everyone and I am guessing that it is not Jordan’s style. So I decided it was time to make an effort to get comfortable with a more contemporary expression of heirloom sewing. And children’s clothing. And the way some people respond to “Thank you,” with “No problem,” instead of “You are welcome.” But I digress.


The pillowcases are made of pima cotton and embroidered with letters included in Martha Pullen’s 2002 Internet Embroidery Club alphabet. The Madeira applique’ hem is pinstitched with black 80 t. Madeira Cotona thread.

Tracking the curve of the scallops is so much easier with a knee lift. My first TOL machine was a Bernina 930, about a hundred years ago. The knee lift was one of its best features.

When I moved on to Brother machines, I was thrilled when their Pacesetter 8500 (circa 1998) had a knee lift, as did every subsequent top of the line. If you have this feature on your machine, I encourage you to become well acquainted with it. You will wonder how you ever managed without one.

Usually, I do a much better job of pivoting at the point of scallops, but this wasn’t a usual day. So I’m thinking about embroidering a single dot at the point, echoing the dots in the G monogram. Do you think that would be an improvement or a distraction?

I hope these pillowcases and the monogrammed towels in the gift package will please Jordan. And I hope that with time I will find it easier to sew more contemporary gift items, because I surely won’t be stitching them for myself.

What do you think? Have you done any contemporary heirloom projects? Do you enjoy being more modern, like Millie? I’d really, really like to hear about it.

P.S. As soon as I finish this wedding gift package and a few baby gifts, I will begin posting the tutorials for the AG doll spa wrap, machine made entredeux, and drafting and constructing bishops and bonnets for dolls. Please check back.

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