How to Add Vintage Embroidery to a Crazy Quilt

You can easily add vintage embroidery to your crazy quilt, or any other quilt, for that matter. If you don’t know how to embroider, and want to add some embroidery to your quilt, adding pieces of vintage embroidery is the perfect way to enhance your crazy quilt with something unique. It’s also a great way to patch over a worn spot or hole in a well-used quilt.

Quilting to Save Memories

I don’t know about you, but I have a ton of vintage linens that my mom embroidered, and the linens are too worn out to use anymore, but I would love to save some of her embroidery work.

One of the great benefits of adding vintage embroidery pieces to your crazy quilt is being able to keep some of those worn out, but treasured, linens that your mom, grandma, or great grandmother embroidered. And, it’s not just embroidered linens that you can add to your crazy quilt, but doilies, lace, pieces of vintage linens,  or even pieces of table cloths or pillowcases that have been embroidered.  If you don’t have any vintage linens of your own, you can find them at local thrift shops, or on ebay.

Working with vintage embroidery linens in creating quilt squares.

The process of adding vintage embroidery to a crazy quilt is very simple. If you haven’t put together a crazy quilt square before, you may want to watch our quilting video tutorials on that first. I have one featuring crazy quilting by machine, and another video on hand piecing a crazy quilt square together. Or, you can visit previous posts on this blog about crazy quilting:

Piecing Vintage Embroidery Together

Once you have the basics of either machine or hand piecing process, you can easily add vintage embroidery to a quilt. You will need several pieces of muslin, crazy quilt fabric scraps, a vintage linen piece, embroidery needles and floss, and a good pair of scissors.

  • Select your vintage linen, and choose which embroidered design you want to use.
  • Out of muslin, cut a foundation square at the desired size. I cut mine at 8″ (includes my seam allowance for 7″ square).
  • Cut around the embroidery design of your vintage linen, leaving enough fabric around the edges in case you need to turn edges under or if another fabric overlaps. You don’t want to cover the design.
  • Decide where you want your vintage linen placed on your square. I featured my butterfly at the center.
  • Once you have an idea of your placement for the first 2 or 3 pieces, you can begin sewing them in place.
  • You can do this by laying your vintage design in the middle of your foundation square and pin.
  • Next, take your second fabric, or vintage design, and place it face down (right sides together) on first design. Find edges of each that will line up, and stitch along that edge.
  • Flip fabric piece right side up, and press  flat.
  • Continue to add pieces of either fabric or vintage linen until your foundation square is covered. Some of your fabric pieces may overlap your foundation square, but you can trim that off, even with your square, when done.

If you have a large piece of vintage embroidery, you can make the whole square out of the vintage piece, as an alternative. Or, you can mix and match crazy quilt squares (or patchwork squares) with regular quilt squares to add even more interest. It really depends on the types of linens you have and how you want your final quilt to look.

You also have the option of finishing off your quilt square by adding pieces of vintage lace along the seams or your own embroidery stitches, if you know how to hand embroider, or have an embroidery machine. Embellishing your square is sometimes the best part!

About Bonnie

Bonnie has been sewing since she was a child, and her love of playing with thread has only grown since then. She continues to sew, but has a newfound love for all things embroidery.

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