quilting with vintage handkerchiefs

I’m continuing to showcase the quilting I’ve done with my handkerchief quilt in this post: Part III. This post features quilting with variegated threads on applique handkerchiefs.¬†Being a quilter and a lover of vintage textiles, I always try to incorporate vintage textiles into my quilts. I am currently working on this project, so I’ll be updating it as I go along. In the quilting phase of this project, I’m having fun quilting different designs, mostly feathers, in ways which enhance the design on the handkerchief. This quilt is the inspiration for a workshop I will be offering.


I used a blanket stitch around the edge of the handkerchief to hold it in place while I free form quilt around the applique. Here, I begin by feathering around the wing of the butterfly. The color of the variegated thread is perfect for the green used in this applique.


I continue to snake around the wing. Notice I’ve used curly cues escaping from the feathers to mimic the ones embroidered on the handkerchief.


Curly cues and feathers now surround this butterfly. The curly cues were backstiched to get back in place to continue around the feather or spine.


I thought I was done until I noticed the blank space in the upper left corner. I added another curly cue to balance that space out.

Here’s a look at the finished block.

How about one more?


I begin quilting this block by using a coordinating pink and coral thread using blanket and decorative stitch around all sides of the handkerchief. This anchors it in place so the handkerchief does not shift while free motion quilting.


Next, I mark a few places at the bottom of the flower to guide my stitching. I pulled the flower back so I can quilt below the flower. I made a few curly cues in matching thread mainly to fill the space and even out quilting on the block.


Because there were so many different colors in this handkerchief, I elected to use a white thread for the feathers. These feathers were stitched on each side of the sprig to mimic its shape. I am happy at this point that I’ve done quilting to enhance different parts of the block without overdoing it.

This quilt is proving lots of fun to quilt! Each block is so different. I can really tap into my creativity with decorative stitches, colorful threads, and quilting designs tailored to each handkerchief. I can’t wait to finish and show you the whole quilt! Be sure to check out Part I and Part II to see more of the handkerchiefs and quilting designs I’ve done.

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