Category Archives: antique/vintage textiles

Antique Baby Bibs and Grandbabies

ant bib 1


Antique textiles offer so much creative inspiration.  Suzanne Sawko and I found this elaborate antique bib at the once-in-a-lifetime estate sale mentioned in earlier posts.  It appears to have both machine and hand stitches on a fabric similar to light weight pima broadcloth or a heavy weight Swiss batiste. Continue reading

NEW..Year, Beginnings, & OFB Daygown

“Whether we want them or not, the New Year will bring new challenges; whether we seize them or not, the New Year will bring new opportunities.  ~Michael Josephson

January, 2013,  a time of beginnings.  We awaited the drop of the big ball with a  a fabulous, fun-filled New Year’s Eve with our son and his family.  They brought along Apollo, their 100 lb.  German Shepherd and it was a time of happy chaos here at our house.

We watched football, ate goodies, had a bonfire with s’mores, then fireworks.  Robert and Laurel found a farewell letter from Peter Elf and said their goodbyes to him.  Laurel, the little businesswoman, had bags to embroider so she got that done.  New Year’s Day was more of the same, except for the bonfire and fireworks.

As the above quote states, the new year brings new opportunities.  Our overdue granddaughter has still not made her appearance and I’m seizing this nail biting opportunity to sew more baby clothes.  The challenges he predicts will come in their own good time.

Ready to begin!  Yellow Imperial broadcloth, Vintage Swiss petit point handloom, French lace, entredeux and OFB Baby’s First Daygown pattern.

Thank goodness, I’m finally well and healthy enough to hold a newborn any day now.  I don’t know if it was all hot tea or the fresh-off-the-tree citrus I consumed, or maybe all  the naps.  But thankfully, I’m back in the sewing room. Continue reading

Tea Time Linens, Bertha, and Elf Fun

Scroll down for Elf fun.

one of a set of six hand embroidered mats

It’s a smile a minute around here with all of the Christmas activities.  Of course, most of the festivities focus on our grandchildren.  On a recent visit, 8 year old Laurel pointed out that we hadn’t had tea for sometime,  so how about now?

Laurel and Robert who are not discussing politics, religion or their health

Tea time is a good opportunity to use some of the pretty antique tea linens I have accumulated. Continue reading

Exquisitely Detailed Vintage Baby Dress

circa 1940 organdy baby dress

circa 1940 organdy baby dress


The bassinette skirt I’ve been working on is coming along, but it surely takes a lot of time to arrange the designs.  So while I continue working on that,  I thought you might enjoy looking at this sweet baby dress which has so many exquisite details.  It was given to me by a friend but she knew nothing about its history or origin.

The fabric seems to be a soft organdy, if there is such a thing.  It may just be that it’s old and has lost some–but not all–of its crispness.  Labeled Tiny Tots Originals  hand made Philippines, every stitch is done by hand.  I googled Tiny Tots and could only find references to a company by that name in the garment district of New York City.

The search also turned up other Tiny Tots Original garments for sale on etsy or eBay.  The information is not corroborated, but those garments were dated 1940-1960, though every vendor seemed to be giving it their best guess.

But my-oh-my the details! Continue reading

My Estate Sale Treasures

33" luncheon cloth in tiny cross stitch

Oh, my! This estate sale was more fun than when the circus comes to town.  Actually, I’m not a fan of circuses, but you know what I mean.  Being in that house was like stepping into a 1925 time capsule and bringing whatever I wanted back home to 2012!   And I wanted a lot…..  But for budgetary limitations, I’d have just bought the farm.

The set has 4 matching napkins.

Several of my friends wanted in on the fun, so we made it a girlfriend field  trip.   We caravaned into the quiet neighborhood, each shopper in her own vehicle, so that we had plenty of cargo space to carry home our booty.

I had been to the house earlier in the week to help  evaluate the textiles for my friend who was running the sale.  I should have left a trail of bread crumbs. Continue reading

Estate Sale~Shop Now!

NOTE: If you see something you want, let me know ASAP so I can snap it up for you Friday morning.  Leave a comment or e-mail

crochet 80 x 84" ~~$40

In an earlier post there was information about an upcoming HUGE estate sale.  Check that post for prices on the items shown there.

one textile pile before being sorted

If you are in the area, you will want to be there.  The sale date is Friday, June 9, 8:00 or 8:30 a.m.  I’ll find out for sure sometime today (Wednesday).  The address is 812 W. Highland, DeLand, Florida.  Because the street is just one block long, this location can be hard to find so check your GPS, google maps or some other map source.  It is in the southwest corner of DeLand.  Tip:  The house directly across the street is a charming cottage with a yard full of flowers.  The front walk is lined with pots of red geraniums.    The estate sale house is a gray/blue two story. Continue reading

Estate Sale for You~Preview

78 x 88″ Dresden Plate quilt, beautifully hand quilted

Things have been incredibly hectic around here for the past few weeks, as evidenced by my infrequent blog posts.  One result of all this busy-ness is a soon to be posted on-line estate sale.

A hand embroidered strip is stitched over the top of the quilt to protect it from wear at the head of the bed

So many of you expressed interest in the sales I have attended.  I hope you might find a treasure or two in this estate, like perhaps this pair of beautifully crocheted twin bed covers.

Continue reading

Using Vintage Hankies

UPDATE: Take a look at the fabulous quilt Lynn made for her mother. She left this comment:    I also love vintage hankies. My mother had several that had been gifts from friends and penpals when she was young. She gave then to me and I “regifted” some of them back to her in a quilt. I used some designs from Embroidery Library and sent them a few photos of the completed project. They put them up on the website and here’s the link.


Estate hanky 2M


I love pretty handkerchiefs.  I love the exquisite needlework, the elaborate designs, and the options they offer for re-purposing.  They can be used in so many ways–vintage handkerchiefs are like money in the bank.  But you don’t have to break the bank to get them.  Each of  these cost $1!


Estate hanky 1emb 1madap

Of course, there is the original purpose for these beauties.  Aside from the one set aside for my own personal use, I find it is handy to always have a clean one in my purse for others.

Continue reading

Heirloom Cutwork Tablecloth Dress



This is an amazing dress, an example of what I would call heirloom recycling.  Whoever made this dress embraced the “green” philosophy–or simply needed a white dress and had a pretty tablecloth.  Whatever.




On a yard sale/church bazaar Saturday outing,  a mother/daughter duo came across this dress.  Well aware of my penchant for antique textiles,  the shopping duo decided then and there to gift it to me.   What wonderful friends!  And, of course, I was delighted.



front bodice motif


Remarkable for a number of reasons, the dress is made from a beautifully stitched fine linen tablecloth.  It was not immediately obvious that the cutwork, surface embroidery and needle lace inserts were not embellishments meant for a special gown.





My first clue that this was a tablecloth was when I discovered the embroidery at the neckline, under the bodice overlay.  Hmmmmmmm….no reason to embroider there.





It is pieced together so artfully that the placement of the designs and the needle lace seem well planned for a dress.  The skirt was cut so that the cutwork lines up at the side seams.  The unusual sleeve style incorporates a corner of the cloth.

At the upcoming mother-daughter church luncheon, a display of vintage wedding gowns and dresses will be featured.  So I pulled out the dress and proceeded to launder it.  That’s when I discovered the embroidery at the neckline and the non-standard skirt attachment.




Close examination convinced me that the cutwork and embroidery were done by someone other than the seamstress who constructed this garment.  There is a noticeable disparity between the workmanship of the handwork and the construction.

This is most noticeable with lace attachment.  It is simply straight stitched onto what appears to be a machine rolled and whipped edge at the hem and sleeve edges.




However, on  the front and back yoke overlays, which are lined, it is very nicely hand stitched.



The color has been edited to show stitches joining lace to overlay.


It seems to me that the short opening at the center back would make it very difficult to put the dress on.  But it’s likely that the seamstress/designer didn’t want break the horizontal line of the lace on the overlay.

Of course, I wonder for what special occasion was the dress made?  It could have been a confirmation or graduation dress.  It even could have been a wedding dress.  Whatever.

Scarlet O’Hara would have found this a welcome, comfortable change from her velvet drapery dress.

Antique Lace Galloons

Sometimes, it seems that all my posts overlap.  This is one of those times.

When I blogged about the shadow smocked Easter dress for my granddaughter, I mentioned that I would tell you about the lace I used.  And I will.

As I was gathering my thoughts, it occurred to me that the most interesting thing about the lace is the use of the galloon as insertion.  So I want to tell you about that and other galloons I have used for both insertion and edging.


galoon FI

French Val galloon, with two decorative edges, 1-3/4″ wide



The antique lace I used for my granddaughter’s Easter dress was purchased at a veritable once-in-a-lifetime estate sale where I still sometimes shop when I am in Dreamland.  The creamy French Val lace is a beautiful ivory color, achieved by age rather than dye. Two  bolts of a classic pattern available yet today came home with me.


French Val edging, 1-1/4" wide

French Val edging, 1-1/4″ wide


I found the intricacy of  the pattern in combination with the gentle color to be very pleasing.  But I needed insertion for the skirt.

If you look carefully at the scalloped edges on the galloon, you will see how easily it converted to an insertion.  Without the perfectly straight lines of traditional insertion, the galloon requires a little more care when it is stitched to the flat skirt fabric.  But it certainly passed.   The soft curve of the scallops make this do-able. More dramatically curved edges would have been a major challenge.

galloon used as insertion

galloon used as insertion



I’ve used galloons in other garments.

Continue reading