I recently found a beautiful vintage linen tray cloth while I was browsing in a local charity shop. It immediately caught my eye because of the unusual bright yellow linen and the lovely quality of the hand embroidered flowers and leaves. Considering it was probably made in the1940's or 50's, it was in excellent, unused condition. And it was the perfect size to be made in to a cushion cover.
I love to work with pieces of vintage linen like this, but from experience I know that the linen fabric can shrink a lot when it is washed for the first time. I approached making this as a little experiment to find out how the linen fabric would react to being quilted and then washed.
I prepared the piece by trimming the edges straignt, adding a green polka dot border to frame the embroidery and layering-up the quilt sandwich, using a 100% cotton batting. My hand-quilting was worked in green curved lines, extending the original embroidered stems into the centre of the piece. Next, I stipple-quilted over the whole cloth, using a yellow thread so that the stitches would blend into the background, and allowing the embroidered flowers to remain raised.
Before making it in to the cushion cover, the quilted cushion top was washed and tumble-dried. I love this stage, because I am never quite sure how it will turn out. But, as I had hoped, those fibres shrunk and the fabric became so soft, with gentle pulls and crinkles on the surface, giving an antiqued look.
I hope you might be inspired to upcycle a vintage linen treasure which you may have stored away.
Quick Colour Inspiration Here's a fun (and free) colour-design tool called Palette Builder at playcrafts.com. It's so quick and easy to use - I love it!! Just upload your photo into Palette Builder and you will be shown a colour palette selected from your image. Then, for those of you who may be designing a quilt or other textile, you can match those colors to the closest fabric, yarn or thread.
Thank you for reading my post today Isobel x