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!
Custom Quilt Labels
So this guy.
My cousin and I were cleaning up my grandmother’s home and clearing out some of her things. She passed away this past December. It’s been hard for both of us, the only girls in the family that were very close to Grandma.
I won’t go into how much I miss her, I’ll just start bawling if I do.
Anyway, a couple of years ago we were going through pictures with Grandma (the thing she asked us to do for her birthday). I came upon a quilt (a grandmother’s flower garden quilt), being held up in a picture by my great grandmother Nora. I wrote once about this quilt, but after swapping my blog over to a new platform, the post was lost. Here it is on IG though. And here too.
I thought I’d die when I saw this picture. I had no idea quilting was in my blood (it turned out there was a lot I didn’t know before this picture about how important quilting was to my great grandmother) She was quite obsessed. Particularly with hexagons and polyester fabric.
I begged Grandma to remember where this quilt ended up at. She called me about a month later telling me to get to her house right away. I told her I’d be over there later in the week and she said, “No, come today”. This was put into my hands. It had been in her closet all these years ( it was made in the 70s ). Anyway that very day we went through all her mother’s quilts and all her quilts as well. And she told me all about how they used to quilt together when she was younger and lots of other details. I hung on every word.
See the finished flower garden quilt here.
When someone you love is suddenly gone, the last thing you want to do is move anything that they’ve put in a place (at least for me). We took our time with it. But the quilts weighed on my mind the most of all my grandmother’s things. They needed to stay in the family and I worried about them constantly. So when my cousin called me to tell me it was time, I was relieved.
I knew exactly where they were and who each one was made by. We split them up between the family members who wanted them. There were some finished and some unfinished. I offered to finish all the ones that needed it. For the next year or so I’ll be working my way through every one of those quilts. Some need finishing, some need a little repair, and a few were still in beautiful condition.
This bow tie one is the first I’ve decided to tackle.
It’s made from polyester clothing. It’s one of the few that was machine pieced. It is in perfect condition. We are giving it to my cousin’s son. He will now have a quilt made by his great great grandmother.
I’m just so full of mushyness, y’all. I was five when my great grandmother passed away. I only have snippets of memories of her. It doesn’t seem to matter though. I tear up every single time I think about this quilt and it’s journey to me.
The label (pictured above) feels just right. I don’t know when this quilt was made, but I know she made it. It feels so fulfilling to finish this quilt, as if I’m doing something for her. Or maybe just that we’ve made a quilt together. Even though I had the easy part. 🙂
Get your own customizable quilt labels here.
I brought home all my grandmother’s sheet sets. She had a massive supply of them. They will go on the backs of all these quilts. It felt like a good idea. It will also save me a little money while I finish them up.
Quilts made with polyester clothing can be very difficult to quilt. I used Quilt+ thread. It’s a 30 wt cotton thread so it’s really strong and felt this type of fabric needed something with some weightiness to it. I used a bright yellow for contrast and then put another bright yellow on the binding.
While I was quilting I used a larger meander. I felt it was a good idea because of the toughness of these fabrics. It worked out well and I didn’t have a hard time as I did with that last polyester clothing quilt.
This quilt is crazy heavy. It has an unusual texture to it. You don’t see a lot of thick polyester clothing anymore. It’s not very soft and it’s kinda itchy to, but I promise you that it has to be what kept this quilt in such good condition. You couldn’t tear this stuff up if you tried.
I’ve been pondering about the “new and modern” version of this quilt. Obviously, lots of low volume. And I’m thinking some more spacing for the blocks and bit of negative space too. I’m excited about this one. I love the bow tie blocks. They are adorable. I’ve also got a bucket of squares with this quilts name on them.
I wanted to thank everyone for their support when I showed off the label for this quilt on IG last week. You made me feel very good about this whole rescue quilt project I’m doing and even more about how adding the label to the quilts really gives them a timeline and a bit of history to them as well.
If you’d like to know more about my labels there is a post about them here, how to sew them on here, and you can find the labels I sell here. They are all highly customized and can say anything you want them to say.
Nicole Gendy says
Such a special finish. I love stories like this.
Thank you, Nicole!
Barbara Shilling says
Wonderful post Melanie! I remember some of the polyester quilts. My mom was a farm wife and most of her quilts were crazy quilts which got “used up”. I have many of her beautiful rag and braided rugs, and decorative pillow cases.
I so enjoy reading of your quilting heritage, and your modern quilting too.
Thanks so much for reading along!