If this is the first time you’re seeing this series, My Sister’s Quilts is the mini quilting memoirs of my sister who is a fantastic quilter and has made baby quilts for each of her 15 nieces and nephews. (But none for her own 2 children, so I hear…) Here she is to tell you about making this 1920s Inspired baby quilt for our nephew A.
This quilt was inspired by some vintage patterned fabric I found in a little quilting Boutique in East Molesey, England, called Creative Quilting. (You can find them on the web here: creativequilting.co.uk) This little quilt shop was also only a 1/2 hr walk away from where our flat in Thames Ditton.
East Molesey is the tiny little village that is the across the river from Hampton Court Palace. Henry the 8th lived at Hampton Court during much of his reign! East Molesey has many houses and buildings that have plaques on the front of them stating who lived there during much Henrys era. Many of them housed support staff that worked in the castle, as well as famous authors, etc. East Molesey is also where I got my one and only lucky glimpse of the Queen as her motorcade passed on the way to Epsom Horses racing track one day.
So, nestled in the middle of so much extraordinary history and culture, I found Creative Quilting. It seemed bizarre to me that in the midst of all this amazement, this little group of British ladies had a fascination with a much younger culture and art/sewing form from across the pond! When I first moved to England, I was quite surprised by the fact that quilting was not a popular hobby! It made finding little corner shops like this one, particularly special. The ladies there thought I was somewhat of a novelty, being American and all. They would ask me to bring in and share all my projects, and tell about the massive fabric stores back home. Many of the fabrics they stocked were imported from America. The Creative Quilting shop was a place of warmth, and there was a familiar comfort about it. I could duck-in and have a little solace there when I was feeling home sick…
I enjoyed working with these 1920’s-1930’s inspired patterns! There is something that is unique, untouchable, and mysterious about the 20’s. Art, music and fashion took brave new twists and changes which were much more daring than changes made in their preceding decades. Then came the great depression and all of this new found flamboyance was traded for practicality. I remember being fascinated listening to my grandma talk about the harshness of the times, the simplicity of life, and also about the flour sack dresses! It was this grandma that also taught me how to hand stitch and make my first doll clothes. During the depression, quilting was one activity that a woman could do to fulfill her desire to be creative while still making something practical for her family. Warm bedding was welcome on cold nights and the lovely patterns and fabrics brought a simple beauty to the home. The quilt could be made from sewing scraps and from out-grown clothing, so very little expense was involved. Sounds to me like us ladies could still use these reasons to indulge our sewing urges….
Anyhow, I have a little flare for the arts and for nostalgia, and so all of the above influenced me in the making of A’s quilt. A is my bright little nephew, and I can’t wait to see how he will channel and develop his talents of precision and accuracy! I actually thought of him recently when cutting out a quilt for his new baby sister. Well matched quilting corners depend on the most precise and accurate cutting measurements! I love hearing stories of A’s attention to detail, order and organization. These things will make you great A, and by the way, we all love you exactly the way you are!
Thanks, Aunt Fessy, for another fantastic quilt, history lesson, and memories of your time in England! Who else wants to go there and visit this little quilt shop now? We’ll see you next month for another installment of My Sister’s Quilts