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The Rescue Quilts – #3 – Old and New Tumbler quilts ( quilt reveal )

The Rescue Quilt series is about finishing up quilt tops that were never completed and then remaking the pattern.  Sometimes I find easier / modern ways to make the quilt pattern, and sometimes I change up the pattern a bit to freshen things up.

Sometimes I will offer the quilt pattern to you free, sometimes it will be a paid pattern in my pattern shop.

The goal is to honor the quilt maker who made the quilt top by completing their project, to not waste good craftsmanship (usually done by hand), to ogle long ago yummy fabrics, and to breathe in a little old inspiration and make it new again.  You can view all parts of this series here.

Want to get started on finishing your own Rescue quilts?  Here are a few articles to get you started:

how to find them

how to clean them before working on them 

Why you should label your quilt.

Also, check out this pinterest board of “Inspiring Vintage Quilts” and be sure to follow me there!

They are doooooooone!  I am way late on finishing these.  My last post was early August.  They sat on a shelf together with backing made and batting cut and they. Just. Waited.  But that’s okay, cause these two were worth it.

The Old

You know, I have to tell you, that while finishing these up I’ve been doing a lot of thinking.  I’ve always wondered why these quilts didn’t get finished.  How could you not finish something so beautiful?  But I reminded myself that it’s not always about the destination (the finished quilt).  Maybe this quilt maker just wanted to create something.  It didn’t matter whether she ever finished it or not.  So I told myself to slow down and just enjoy the journey of quilting.  Whether a quilt ever comes to fruition or not.

I hope that the quilt maker enjoyed piecing all those tiny tumblers together.  I loved her color palette, particularly the pops of yellow.  And now of course I KNOW exactly how long it takes to piece tumblers.

My journey on this quilt was to add the sides so that it would be a proper size quilt.  To the sides I added Island Droplets by Angela Walters.

I quilted this one with a twirly whirly design.

And binded it with a bright and cheery yellow called Weaving Sol.  I normally bind with low volumes, and sometimes dark fabrics, but I believe this is my first yellow bind.  I love it!  It’s such a happy quilt.

For the backing, I used Heart Bloom by Amy Butler and Church Flower by Heather Bailey.

This quilt has one more leg on it’s journey with me and that’s to find it a new home.  You can find it for sale here.

The New

I know very often I say the words, “this is my most favorite quilt I’ve ever made”.  And the more I say that, the less weight those words actually have, buuuuuuut….  There is mint, navy and coral colors here.  All my favorites.  It has low volumes galore AND some serious scrappy busting to boot.  How could I not say that.  I love this one!  It’s my favorite!  There I said it, and I’m not taking it back.  I love this quilt, it is my favorite quilt I’ve ever made.  Roll your eyes and then yell at me, I don’t care.  I Ioooooooooove this one!  UGH!

Okay, seriously now.  I made a tutorial and pattern for this quilt.  Get the details for the tutorial here (it’s only available in one side).  If you need a different size or just more details, I have the pattern for sale in 6 different sizes.

Tumbler quilts are no joke.  Especially this one, because I made my tumblers super skinny, but if you are sitting on a mountain of scraps (imagine that!), this could be a way to put those babies to use.  I say ‘no joke’, because as easy as the putting together is, the time involved is quite a bit.  Oh, and I learned the hard way that you can forget about just chain piecing the easy way (you can still chain piece each row), they have to go up on that design wall first.  This was something I had tried to skip.  I like to put big pieces up on the design wall, but because each row starts with a tumbler turned the opposite way, I really should have put them all on the wall and then chain pieced each row.  Now I know.

I used Caribbean Sea solid by Free Spirit for my binding.  For the backing, I used Heather Bailey’s Swirly Buds in peach and also, Bonnie Christine’s Orchard Blossom in Autumn.  I quilted this quilt with that big wandering blossom I mentioned here.

 This Scrappy Tumbler quilt is for sale here.

What’s next for Rescue Quilts?

Well, I’m not sure yet.  I’ve got several rescue quilts in my closet here that I need to go through, but I’m always looking around.  I found these on Ebay that I’m going to be ‘watching’:

basket weave quilt

this clover quilt

a maple leaf quilt

another fun maple leaf

or a bow tie quilt (and I really want to do a bow tie quilt)


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  1. Hi Melanie, Just subscribed to your blog. I ” rescue” quilts too. Just got two finished this year. One just needed quilting, the other had big holes cut out of several of its blocks. A lot of piecing and it looks great. My friends really gave me grief about it. Too bad they don’t share OUR thoughts that these beauties deserve to be finished.

  2. Hi! I just found your blog through Rachel from Stitched in Color and I’m so excited that I did! I think I’ll be spending hours looking through your past posts. I’ve inherited quite a number of unfinished projects from my grandmother, some tops, some blocks, some partially sewn blocks. Your posts are giving me some ideas for dealing with them:) Happy sewing! Nicole

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