Monday, June 20, 2011

From Trash to Treasure

Friday afternoon when I went to run some errands I noticed a growing pile of garbage in our alley behind one of the houses down the block - one that has been empty for many years. As I slowed down to check it out (you know, see if it was worth digging through) I saw a couple of yardsticks poking out of one of the large, bulky black trash bags and made a mental note to poke around when I got back home.

When I finally did get back to do some official trash picking, I untied one of those large, bulky black trash bags to see some bits of fabric inside! I checked a few other bags and boxes, and ended up hauling two trash bags and three boxes back home to sort through. Unfortunately, most of the fabric was stained and soiled (boo hoo!) and went right back in the trash. But, at the very bottom of one of the big black bags I found this shopping bag all tied up, and when I opened it this is what I saw:

Inside this bag is one of the best treasures I've ever found - bright, beautiful, funky and freaky vintage fabric prints, cut for a quilt top and partially assembled! YEAH!

Repurposed Vintage Quilt Top

Check it - there are 16 assembled strips, each made from 21 5" cut squares (sewn with app. 1/4" seams so that each strip is about 94 1/2" long - almost 8 feet wide). And the NEWEST fabrics in the bunch seem to be from the late 1970's, most seem to have white, pink, and green or blue in common.

Repurposed Vintage Quilt Top

I am SO EXCITED about this find! I am in love with these fabrics!

Repurposed Vintage Quilt Top

And I can tell that the woman who started making this quilt top also loved these fabrics, too. I can just imagine the other things she made for herself and her family from these fabrics - dresses for herself and her girls, and decorations for her home.

Repurposed Vintage Quilt Top

I am determined to make this my summer project and finish this quilt!  My idea is to mix strips of solid colors in between these busy and bright strips to break it up and make it a little easier on the eyes. But I need a little help - since stitching quilt tops is NOT my best sewing talent!  What do you think of a small white strip bordering each of these patterned strips with a larger strip of either pink, green, or blue in between? Maybe you can envision something even better?

Repurposed Vintage Quilt Top

As for the rest of the trash picked treasure, there were a handful of vintage 1960's dress patterns in my size, a shoebox FULL to the brim with vintage sewing machine attachments (no sewing machines, those were probably already sold), some vintage knitting and crochet pattern books, and the mother of all vintage button stashes housed in several different boxes (a couple thousand buttons all together). I'll post more about some of the other finds later, but right now I am THRILLED about this quilt and want to get stitchin on it right away!


Sarah C said...

WOW!!! What a great find! I love the idea of finishing that quilt that the previous sewer never did. I cannot wait to see the results.

Karen said...

OH!!Be still my beating heart!!! What a find!!!

Donna said...

What a score for you! Good!

Keep Stitchin' said...

Oh my goodness! What are the chances?? How fun, I hope you have a ball working with them! I have heard so many stories of somebody 'just stumbling upon' unfinished quilts, quilt tops, or fabrics that somebody was about to throw away or had at a rummage or estate sale!

Dog's best friend said...

I'm so jealous but happy for you. It's hard to tell when someone last worked on this, but I see fabrics in there that date from the 1930s or 40s, maybe. Or they may be reproductions of those eras. I'd have to feel them to know. You really hit the jackpot.

Ebony said...

So jealous about the buttons, I am a vintage button freak! Let me know if you need them sorted or, um.... taken off your hands. LOL.

Reethi said...

I'm glad you are rescuing this project - it's tragic that someone's precious stash ended up in black trash bags...