repurpose vintage handkerchiefs into a quilt

Vintage handkerchiefs are fun and relatively inexpensive to collect. After you’ve amassed a collection, what do you do with them? Being a quilter and a lover of vintage textiles, I always try to incorporate vintage textiles into my quilts. Here is how I’ve used handkerchiefs in a wall hanging. I am currently quilting this project, so I’ll be updating it as I go along. 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.

01

The decorative corner of the handkerchief is sewn into the block. I have also used a crochet trim from the edges of the same handkerchief I’ve sewn into the seam on two of the sides of the block. I began quilting by using the walking foot and matching decorative thread to stitch around the outer edges of the butterfly. I’ve used the same variegated thread and a decorative stitch around the edge of the block on two sides.

02

I needed a line down the center to help guide my free form feather antlers for the butterfly. Also, I folded back the crochet edges with painter’s tape so as to not interfere with quilting.

03

I began each side of the “antlers” by first sewing a spine to guide my feather placement.

04

Now that both “antlers” are sewn for the butterfly, I can see I need to anchor down the crochet trim to hold it in place. I did this with the same thread, walking foot, and a straight stitch.

05

Now that I’ve finished the butterfly, something is still missing. I decided to add some more feathering around the butterfly in the white space.

06

I drew a line from the center of the tail to the corner to guide my feather placement. I then used the outline of the butterfly wings to guide my placement for the feathers around it. Now I’m satisfied!

How about one more?

01

I began this block by using a walking foot and stitching around the outer edge of the butterfly wings with a straight stitch and matching green variegated thread.

02

I tack the crochet edges back with safety pins so they will not interfere with quilting. The already embroidered antennas give a natural line for the feather quilting. I simply needed to add a center line to guide the feather placement symmetrically.

03

The feathered antennas turned out just as I wanted! Now for the finishing touches.

04

I added feathering in the white spaces around the wings to finish this block off and flatten it out.

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