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5 tips to create a Vintage-Inspired Quilt!

5 tips to create a Vintage-Inspired Quilt!

One of the things I love about quilting is mixing old with new. Quilting has been around for centuries, yet we still find ways to "modernize" the craft and make it unique and current. I do love the history behind quilting though. The rich tradition of it all makes me proud to create in the same way that women before me have created. 

I love that quilts are usable pieces of art. They can be statement pieces that also keep you warm on the couch. If I had to describe the living space in my house, I'd say it's feminine, rustic and chic. I love old items that are repurposed as home decor statement pieces. Antiques and vintage finds are some of my favorites! So I figured it was time to make a quilt that had that same "vintage" inspiration!

So then I started thinking....how do make a quilt that is "vintage-inspired"? I compiled a list and went from there. I go into each point more specifically in this post, so be sure to keep reading!

  1. Nostalgic fabrics
  2. Traditional pattern (I'm using my Christmas Joy quilt pattern)
  3. Don't prewash fabrics
  4. Scrappy background
  5. the Quilting

 

Nostalgic Fabrics

When I saw Bonnie Christine new "Her & History" collection with Art Gallery Fabrics, I fell head over heels! According to the "Her & History" LookBook, it was "inspired by stories and memories from our elders. It celebrates the moments shared with our grandparents that are near and dear to our hearts. This collection reminds us of our heritage, where we came from, and what we hope to leave behind." How special is that?! I love it.

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While this collection is perfect for this project, really any group of fabrics that feel "old" would work great. Think florals, faded colors, maybe even look into reproduction prints?

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Traditional Pattern

I'm using my Christmas Joy pattern which is my most traditional pattern in my shop. The block is very simple, which is part of the reason why I love it so much! Any sort of star pattern would work great for this! 

Fun fact: Peter made this quilt himself! This was his first time sitting down at the sewing machine, but he did it! And I'm so proud of him! He was a little reluctant to learn how to sew/quilt, but since he hasn't been working at his normal job due to the quarantine, he's had more free time on his hands to learn a new skill. 

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Once he finished all of the HSTs he thought that that was the end of it. He wasn't happy to learn that we then had to trim them and make sure they were nice and square. Thank goodness for that because some of those seams were a little questionable, haha. If you're looking for a tutorial for how and why we trim HST's you can find that here!

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He was SO happy to finish his first block!! This might be a little exaggerated, but not by much!! haha But for the most part, he did great with this pattern! The biggest issue was consistent seams....but I think with a little bit of practice, he'll be good to go! 

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Once he finished one, he cranked them out! He now loves chain piecing and did so listening to his favorite podcast!

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Don't Prewash

I never really prewash my fabrics. I don't like the extra step, but also, I really enjoy the crinkle of a quilt after it's first wash. If you prewash your fabrics, they'll shrink and not crinkle as much. Just be sure to use Shout Color Catchers with your first wash!

Scrappy Background

I'm so thrilled with this idea. I basically used various white/cream fabrics for my background to accentuate the patchwork this quilt. Back in the day, quilters would use whatever they could find to piece into their quilts. Each fabric has a slightly different texture which adds a lot of depth and interest.  Overall, I feel like it adds to the "handmade/vintage" feel. It might be my favorite part of the quilt!

TIP: Ideally, you'd use fabrics from your stash, but if you're looking to purchase fabrics to create this "scrappy background" look, read your patterns cutting instructions first. Say your pattern requires 4 yards of fabric, you don't want to just purchase 4 seperate one yard cuts of fabric. This may not work best with the pattern. (Or it might work perfectly, it just depends on the pattern). But look at the specific cutting instructions/ diagram to see how to divide out Background fabrics. You might need a smidge extra than you normally would.

 

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Sewing the blocks and rows together was a little interesting. Since some of his seams were inconsistent, the rows kind of "bowed" a little bit. It wasn't the end of the world, we created a few little pleats to help everything line up. I think every quilt need a little bit of wonkiness to help you remember that it was handmade, am I right? ;)

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Traditional Quilting Design

We sent this quilt top to my friend Andrea of Walker Quilt Co. for quilting. I wanted something classic and timeless...so we chose these traditional Baptist Fans. Other "traditional" pantographs to consider are feathers, florals and meandering stitching. 

If you plan to quilt the quilt on your domestic machine, consider hand quilting, or machine quilting straight lines. I love cross hatch designs! Remember, the more quilting you have, the more crinkly it'll be. I usually prefer dense quilting with lines that are about an inch apart. 

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OH MAN, I am a HUGE fan of this texture!

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For the backing and binding, I decided to go with a print that I didn't use on the front. Those ferns are just the prettiest! I love that there are two styles of this print, a light and dark variation. It's just so earthy and vintage and perfect!

You can find my machine binding tutorial here! 

 

 

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Overall, I'm SO proud of this quilt, and of Peter! We are definitely keeping it for ourselves... A) because I love the fabrics/quilting/pattern and B) because it is Peter's first quilt!! We made some fun memories with this thing, and we will always remember it as a fun project that we created together (in the middle of a global pandemic, nonetheless). haha. 

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After our little photo-shoot, we came home and gave this quilt it's first wash. I had to snap some more photos of the crinkly-ness to show ya'll this yummy texture, but photos don't do it justice!

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We have some Her & History fat quarters in our shop! (UPDATE: we are currently sold out and hoping to restock soon!) And the Christmas Joy quilt pattern is available as an instant download (PDF) or as a printed paper copy

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What about you? How would you make a quilt feel "vintage-inspired"? Let me know in the comments!

Happy sewing!

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Brittany