Family Heirlooms: Quilted Apron

I’m fortunate that many handmade items are still in my family, things created by my mother, grandmothers, grandfathers, aunts and great aunts. While I can claim no credit for having made them, I think they’re well worth sharing here, because they’re interesting and well-made, and because they have special meaning to me.

Also, since my mother passed away so suddenly, we never had a chance to get the family stories behind many things. So I’d like to share what I do know, and if you happen to have more information, either because you know more about the techniques than I do or because you know the family stories associated with these items, I’d love to have you share your knowledge.

My mother made this apron, I believe as a gift for her Aunt Nora, who was a talented maker herself.

apron-front

While she machine-stitched the strap and skirt, I believe the quilt block itself is all hand-sewn, and it is certainly hand-quilted in a red chosen to contrast against the green printed fabric.

front-of-star-block

hand-stitching

Mom’s tiny, neat quilting stitches are perhaps best shown by examining the back of the garment, where they contrast with the lining.

detail-of-stitching-on-back

The care and attention to detail seen here are typical of my mother’s work. Do you see how well all those corners match up on the quilt block? I always admired, and was a bit jealous of, her ability to do that. I tend to be more impulsive and have things come out a mess.

I’m not sure of the pattern she used for the quilt block, but in Suzy Lawson’s Book, Amish Patchwork: Full-Size Patterns for 46 Authentic Designs, I see one called “Variable Star,” which could have been her inspiration.

I like to imagine my mother working on this, perhaps as a few minutes of calm and order in her day while I watched episodes of my beloved Sesame Street and my brother napped, and I like to imagine my Great-Aunt Nora’s joy in receiving it.

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For updates on my more impulsive, less-exacting November Projects, here are the current totals:

NaNoWriMo: 29,425/50,000 words

NaBloPoMo: 14/30 posts.

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About rbpepper

Rebecca is an artist, writer, and photographer with degrees in Theater and Social Work, and is currently a Stay at Home Mom to her three kids. Some part of her house is always a mess, she lets her kids paint on the table and design their own costumes, and she makes excellent allergen-free cookies. She lives with her equally creative husband and children in a part of Virginia known for being "pretty close to Dulles Airport", and dreams of moving to an old farmhouse in New England.
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