Monthly Archives: September 2013

Crafting with Flea Market Fabrics


That’s the name of a book I love that I bought in a used book store.  It’s by Deborah Harding and was published by Reader’s Digest in 1998.  Flea market is the term that is used, but this applies to fabrics bought at estate sales (a great source), yard sales, thrift stores, and even items stored in your own linen closet or garage.

I was reminded of this book after browsing in antique shops.  If you have these items, what do you do with them?  A lot of times, they’re just stored away and not enjoyed.  Some things, like an antique quilt, you wouldn’t want to cut up,  but what about partially stained linens or part of a tattered quilt?  What if a beautifully embroidered dresser scarf you have is just not your style?  The book has ideas of ways to adapt these items for everyday use instead of just saving them.

The chapters of the book contain projects for embroidered linens, chenille, quilts, lace trims, handkerchiefs, kitchen linens, and doilies.

Some visual glimpses:

A dresser scarf used as a door window covering…

Embroidered Dresser Scarf Used as Door Window Covering

pillowcase dolls….

Pillowcase Dolls

cats with handkerchief dresses…

Vintage Handkerchiefs as Cat Dresses

a Christmas handkerchief used as a focal point in a quilt wall hanging…

Christmas handkerchief used as center for quilt wall hanging

embroidered towels as pillow covers…

Embroidered Towels Made Into Pillow CoversTURES

days of the week embroidered towels made into a coverlet…

Tea Towels Made Into Bedspread

and an embroidered tea towel made into a tea or toaster cozy.

Vintage Tea Towel Made into Tea Cozy

Look at all the beautiful things vintage kitchen linens were made into in this photo: curtains, placemats, chair seats, and napkins.  So charming!

Vintage Kitchen Linens Remade

Besides the projects, the book has interesting information about the history of and collecting the subject item of each chapter.

One project I found on Pinterest from Karoline of Cherished*Vintage uses vintage tablecloths and embroidered pillowcases to make wire coat hanger slipcovers.  So pretty!

The always creative refashion blogger, Beth, of The Renegade Seamstress, made a gorgeous dress out of a vintage Vera tablecloth.  How stunning!

What is your view on these vintage fabrics: store away, use, or repurpose? Do you have a project you have made with pieces of a quilt, tablecloth,  or other vintage item?

Antique Store Finds


Over the Labor Day weekend I browsed through several of the many antique stores in the rural town of Ramona, California.  I enjoy looking at vintage embroidered linens and kitchen items, sewing things,  childhood things, old books, and just about anything.  It’s like exploring someone’s attic or garage for old treasures.

Some of the things I saw were pretty embroidered dresser scarves, fabric, and quilts…

some old sewing machines…

buttons prettily displayed, and wooden spools standing in a wooden case.

I love Portuguese yarn dolls – this one has a lovely apron.


My mother had one of these Witch Needle Threaders made in Germany.  Why don’t they make these anymore?  They’re so easy to use – with a press of a lever the needle is threaded.


Only a few of the finds came home with me: “vintage” rayon fabric, notions, and cookie cutters.


I love the little shell buttons with the notches.  So pretty!


First Dress: The Good and The Bad

When I posted my completed dress I didn’t want to take away from my feeling of accomplishment by pointing out the flaws.  Now I want to review the problems I had, as well as the parts of the dress which were more successful.

Let’s start with the good:  the dress is not pulling over the bust due to the adjusted fit of the princess seam bodice , the interior is nice due to a full lining, the ease of stepping into the dress because of the long back zipper, the zipper works and is nearly invisible, the seams are well matched, and I finished.

The bad: the hang of the skirt; in the front it tends to form a fold right in the center like I’m wearing culottes.  It also forms an unflattering bulge that sticks out at the center when viewed from the side.


I’m holding out the skirt in the photos partially to try to camouflage this.  Sneaky me!


I think I may have caused this by cutting the skirt with a dip in the center instead of straight across.

On the back of the dress, I shortened the bodice but not enough and the seam line is dipping at the center.


But the part that looks the worst to me is the hang of the backside below the zipper where the fabric forms two indented triangles. I would have corrected it but I don’t know what I did wrong or how to fix it.  It really bothers me!  I’ve heard of a bubble at the end of an invisible zipper but what is this?  What can I do differently to get a smooth finish?  It makes me want to avoid another back zipped dress.