Repurposing a Vintage Quilt

When we found out our baby was a girl, my mom pulled out an old old OLD Sunbonnet Sue quilt that belonged to her mom, making it around 84 years old! Talk about vintage! As you can see from the not-very-good picture above, it wasn’t in very good shape. It had several big stains, a few rips, no binding to speak of, and was generally in poor shape. But I mean, it’s over 80, so that’s to be expected. My mom said I could do whatever I wanted to try to fix it up and preserve the ladies for another generation.

Since we are sharing a bedroom with the baby, I needed to cover the windows. The bedroom has always been bright, which makes sleeping hard for me, and so a priority was making it darker so sleepy time will be easier. The quilt was the perfect size to cover the window and make a curtain/wall hanging for the “nursery” area. (It’s basically a spot big enough for a pack and play!) However, it only fit sideways. So. I came up with an idea.

I needed to make it be 4 squares by 3 instead of 3 by 4. The only thing really worth salvaging was the little ladies themselves, because the white background was nothing special. So  I cut squares out of muslin, and carefully cut out each of the Sues. I didn’t want to mess them up by sewing them on, so I used fusible webbing and ironed them on the squares. It is washable, but I only intend to ever handwash this quilt anyway because the fabrics are so old. (Of course no craft of mine would be complete without some mishaps. When I was ironing I could NOT find the 12th lady! I was counting them over and over again, and then I had a thought.. a correct thought. That I had accidentally thrown her away with the old quilt backing. She was crumpled in the bottom of the garbage can-that I had to dig through.. fun..)  Then I used a cute vintage looking floral to make borders between the blocks. The batting I made with some of my husbands old tee shirts! I backed it with a dark brown for more light-blocking action.  The only quilting  I did was to the edges of the borders to keep it simple. When I was sewing on the binding I added the pockets to slide the curtain rod through. Here it is! What a difference!

Looks so cute! And makes the room so much darker!

It’s by no means perfect. There’s a big wrinkle in the backing, and some of my border pieces are off a little bit, but… eh. That’s par for the course for any craft I do. I’m not enough of a perfectionist to spend too much time on anything. Perhaps some day. I may get some fabric glue and touch up a couple of the corners on the hats and skirts, but overall I’m really pleased with it! It adds some vintage charm to our room and makes it look a little more like a nursery area for the baby. Do you have an heirloom quilt that has some beautiful old fabrics but is in need of repair? What could you do with yours??

Here is my poor garbage lady! So glad I hadn’t taken out the trash!!

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