Sunday, April 24, 2022

Scrapbook of My Youth

My mother, known affectionately by many as The Momma (in the 60s everyone had a nickname), must have saved a scrap of everything she ever made for me -- from baby to prom dresses, and everything in between.  

Mother took up quilting not long before the 1976 Bicentennial.  Although she was an accomplished machine sewer, she did most of her quilting by hand.  I think that generation thought it wasn't a "real quilt" if not made by hand -- at least that was my MIL's attitude.  So Mother had a goal of making at least one quilt for each of us three kids. The middle brother's was entirely cross-stitched, probably a pre-printed kit, which was then quilted by some Amish women in Kentucky.  

Otherwise The Momma was strictly into quilt-as-you-go (a Georgia Bonesteel/Lap Quilting fan through and through) so my older brother and I each received a Cathedral Window.

While my brother's was made with yellow background and quilt shop fabrics, the "window" inserts in mine were mostly fabrics from my clothes alternated with a green and white polyester gingham.

This is a very labor-intensive process that requires a lot of folding and turning back bias edges and whip-stitching the units together -- beyond my pay grade!  The stitching on the curves becomes the quilting on the back. There is no batting.

Looking at this quilt is like looking at a scrapbook of my youth.  This pretty little pink is from one of the first dresses she ever made for me.

There are several  other delicate pastel prints that I can't remember, probably baby dresses.  This floral polished cotton was an Easter dress, I'd guess about 6th grade.

I remember these cowboys, but not the garment.

The red rose fabric was a shorts outfit I remember wearing to Brownie Scout Camp.

The brown in this window is from a top I made in high school to go with a suit.

And those elves just creep me out!

I have no remembrance of that fabric at all.  

Included in this quilt are lots of pajamas and a even a pair of peddle-pushers I made in high school.

Like I said, The Momma was into hand quilting, not only because it was "real" quilting, but because it was easy to take along on my parents' extensive travels after retirement.  In fact, the last column of this quilt was finished in South Africa where my folks were visiting middle brother in 1975.

(Mother heard that you should always date your handwork so that when you become famous people can distinguish your early works from your later ones!)

I am embarrassed by how dirty this quilt is.  It got lots of  use when we still had a double bed.  Because of all the hand stitching, I'm afraid to launder it.  However, no amount of washing will get rid of the pilling in the polyester background! (My dad worked for DuPont in Dacron ... 'nuff said).

Lots of memories in this quilt.  The amazing thing to me, though, is I never encountered those scrappy treasures the many times I was sneaking a peak at Mother's drawers and the cedar chest when she wasn't looking.  The scraps were probably in a box labeled "Libby's Scraps" right next to the box labeled "Christmas Presents" in the attic! (We kids knew what was in that box and we could peak if we wanted to, but I never did.)


  1. Dacron, that was a name I had been trying to remember. I sewed for a designer at a dress factory in 1959 and the plain colors were a dacron/cotton blend. That preceded the name polyester in clothing. I specifically remember one pink dress I made for myself out of dacron/cotton which had tucks on the bodice.

  2. Actually it was 1958, I was 17 and it was my first job.

  3. What a gem that quilt is, Libby! Fun to see the close-ups of all those special prints. My mom made all my clothes growing up (including my wedding dress), but didn't do any quilting until later on. It would be really fun to have pieces from all those little dresses!

  4. I always wash and dry my quilts and they are all hand quilted - depending on how well the stitch work still is it should be fine

  5. Thank you LIbby! Telling my readers on Tuesday to come on over and see this masterpiece! Scrapbook of my life is sure a great title!!! Hugs!

  6. What a labor of love for your mom, and precious memories for you!

  7. What a treasure, Libbie! The variety of fabrics in your quilt is so wonderful. OH, how I wish I had kept scraps of the clothes I made for my girls when they were little. I didn't quilt back then, so in the trash they went.

  8. Lucky you, to have such a wonderful keepsake from your youth!


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