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  • Writer's pictureLonda

Antique Quilt Square Up-Cycle Apron


I truly enjoy taking something old and transforming it into something new - especially when that 'something' is hand-made, like these quilt squares that came from my in-law's family home. I truly don't remember bringing them, but they obviously got brought to our home from theirs when my father-in-law passed, and even made the down-sizing we did in 2016. With a wedding coming up for my in-law's great-granddaughter, I inquired if she appreciated antique things, and when I got a 'YES' along with an invite to a kitchen-themed bridal shower, the task was before me: to transform some of these squares into an apron for my gift to her.


The hand-pieced quilt squares appear to be from a church 'Circle' group, with each woman having embroidered their name - perhaps as a gift for someone moving. I'm not sure, but that's an educated guess. My husband helped me verify the squares that were actual family, so those were the ones to utilize. It was interesting that Elvie Torrens had made two. The blue square went with the small blue cotton print I had found in my 'stash', so that decision was made. Other than that, I felt it was time to start designing.

You might be able to see that these squares were NOT equal in size - nowhere near being so. A challenge to creatively conquer....


A benefit to sewing for years is having a stash of not only fabric, but patterns as well. At least mine are organized - and even in a pattern cabinet that I took home when closing my shop. I will add that I 'down-sized' from 2 cabinets full of patterns to just 1. :)


I wish that I'd taken more pictures, but I neglected to do so. As you can see, I ultimately utilized just 3 of the squares with the embroidered names for the pocket 'strip, and one of the 'blank' squares for the upper pocket onto which I embroidered the names of the bride and groom, and wedding date.

Regarding the quilt size issue, a 'dive' into my trim drawers yielded a good amount of white ric rac. THAT seemed to be the answer to the size issue, as you'll see below.


The picture below shows the pocket strip the best. Notice also that I bound the uppermost edge with the small cotton print. After I added the uppermost quilt square with embroidery I did of the names and wedding date, the step after this was to lay the full lining piece over all of this, stitch and turn - through the uppermost edge that was not stitched. That step finished off the curved sides and lowermost edges. Oh - and the neck strp and ties had to be inserted before adding the lining as well.

Realizing that an apron gets laundered often, I chose to stitch down the ric rac trim securely as you can see below. You'll also see up close that even the ric rac didn't totally solve the various sizes. Obviously, perfection was NOT something achievable in this project!

Seeing these fabrics up close is a treat though, is it not? My hubby's best guess is that these were made before 1945.....

I loved the look of this tiny blue ric rac I used to finish off the upper edge of the pocket strip.

In the picture below, I remember that I realized, AFTER initially setting the binding strip's right side to the wrong side of the top of the strip, that the pocket strip itself truly needed to be lined with the apron fabric on the backside. You can't see it in the pictures, but once the lining was in place on the back of the pocket strip, I stitched through both layers along some of the quilt piecing lines with monofilament thread in the needle to make the pocket strip more durable and the two layers 'act as one'. EXACTLY what I'm doing here though, I just canNOT remember - sorry. It worked is all that I can say.....

Here are some more pictures....

I'll be self-critical..... The upper edge should have had interfacing in it. No, the pattern did not call for it - but I should have realized the need. Ugh...

Finished Apron using old embroidered quilt squares.
Finished Apron using old embroidered quilt squares.

The ruffle was designed to be hemmed at the lowermost edge, but I decided to make it double, with a fold at the lower edge. That likely made it extra heavy, especially since it was 3 times full. Note also that I had just enough of the little blue ric rac to edge the lowermost edge where the ruffle joins the body.

It mystifies me why the lining appears to be smaller causing the outside to 'bag'. This distresses me, and I've lined things enough to know how to do so properly..... it just 'did', and I didn't drive myself crazy about it. Truly, I think often we Sewists are too hard on ourselves, and things that we see that may not be perfect, are NOT seen by others. Enough said.

Showing the pocket IS a pocket... actually THREE pockets, one on each side plus center.

And my hubby and I with the bride-to-be.

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