WIPs and PhDs

Making Old Things New

Let me start by saying that I didn’t want to do a “rework” project for UFOvember. When Bobbi Gentili from Geeky Bobbin sent the sign up sheet, I was on vacation and by the time I got home, the only slots left were for “rework” or “rehome”. I knew I didn’t want to give any of my UFOs away, so I signed up for “rework”.

I knew exactly which project I would work on. These 25 quilt blocks were first made between 1992 and 1995. The original plan was for a king-sized Bear’s Paw quilt for our bed with cream sashing and cornerstones. I finished all of the blocks, started sewing some sets of two together with sashing before I got busy, packed all of the blocks and the fabric in a large paper bag and set it aside in our basement. (Note, that was before 1995 and I still do not sleep under a quilt I have made!)

Unfortunately, around 1999, we had a 100-year flood in our town and sewage backed up into our basement. Yes, the same basement where I stored a paper bag full of cream, navy, blue and green fabrics with my blocks.

It took a few days to find the bag and we promptly threw all of the fabric in the washing machine on the hottest water to disinfect it. At the time, we were washing every piece of clothing and fabric we found, so it was quickly washed, dried and put into a plastic bin. When I got around to looking at it, the navy had bled onto the cream on almost all of the squares. Here are a few examples:

I really loved some of the fabrics in this quilt and I wanted to find a way to redeem and reuse these blocks. So I sorted them, pressed the blocks and the fabric, and put it in a bin until I decided what to do with it. Over the years, I raided the bin and used the navy border fabric for other projects. When I needed a patch for a quilt made with fabric that matched one of the blocks, I snipped it out of a block because the washed and worn block was a closer match to the quilt than the new fabric.

When I pulled out the box, I had 25 blocks (including the one with a square missing and these fabrics:

So, I decided to make a quilted jacket. My style is pretty tailored, so I took this jacket pattern, which I already had at home.

I cut out some oversized backing pieces from plain muslin, then fitted quilt squares to them. I used some of the existing sashing strips to extend key parts of the pattern. I also discovered that when quilt squares have been washed, they create these lovely nests on the back.

I had a nest this size for every couple of squares.

I decided to quilt a chevron on the back center panel, cross hatching on the front and back side panels and the sleeves, and angled lines on the front center panels.

I even got my serger out – I don’t think I have used it for at least 5 years!

I finished it with facings cut from the border prints. On the straight hems at the bottom and for the sleeves, I did a wider border print.

For the facing around the neck, I cut a narrower strip to accommodate the curve of the neckline.

I like the overall look, but it is still stained. (Check out Bruce the cat in these photos, when I am turned to the back, so is he!)

I decided to overdye the whole coat.

I wasn’t sure I could get this done in time because as of Monday noon, the dye hadn’t been delivered. But it came in the afternoon, so after dinner I boiled up some water and had a dye party.

At one point, I was very worried that it would come out dark blue, but I got the effect I wanted. Here are some pictures of the finished coat.

Floral border print for facing

I carefully used Aurifil 100% cotton threads so they would dye the same as the cotton fabrics. You can see above that the serger thread was not all cotton and stayed cream-colored.

I like the subtle color and you can’t see the stains anymore. I may add buttons, but I am declaring this a FINISHED project!

Check out all of the other great UFO blogs this month to see other ideas for cataloging, resuming, reworking and rehoming your UFOs:

Sunday 11/1Bobbi GentiliThe Geeky Bobbin
Monday 11/2Becca FenstermakerPretty Piney Quilts
Tuesday 11/3Joanne KertonCanuck Quilter Designs
Wednesday 11/4Sue GriffithsDuck Creek Mountain Quilting
Thursday 11/5Ashli MontgomeryStorytelling Tees
Friday 11/6Anne BoundySaid With Love
Saturday 11/7Sarah RuizSarah Ruiz Quilts
Sunday 11/8Teresa WeaverYour Sewing Friend
Monday 11/9Karen BrownJust Get it Done Quilts
Tuesday 11/10Bobbi BridgemanSnowy Days Quilting
Wednesday 11/11Raylee BielenbergSunflower Stitcheries and Quilting
Thursday 11/12Althea GydeBlue Heron Quilting
Friday 11/13Kenzy HoganSewing Corals
Saturday 11/14Leann ParsonsDevoted Quilter
Sunday 11/15Jessica CaldwellDesert Bloom Quilting
Monday 11/16Laureen SmithTourmaline & Thyme Quilts
Tuesday 11/17Karen KehlBetter Done Quilts
Wednesday 11/18Stacey HTwo Terriers Studio
Thursday 11/19Cinzia WhiteCinziawhitedesigns
Friday 11/20Laura PilandSlice of Pi Quilts
Saturday 11/21Rachel MThe Barefoot Crafter
Sunday 11/22Kathryn LeBlancDragonfly’s Quilting Design Studio
Monday 11/23Judit HajduQuiltfox Design
Tuesday 11/24Lyra McCabeQuilting McCabe
Wednesday 11/25Jill TherriaultStitching in Heels
Thursday 11/26Cristina De MirandaShips & Violins
Friday 11/27Katie StarcherKatie Mae Quilts
Saturday 11/28Valerie PrideauxCozy Funky Cool
Sunday 11/29Kim MastomartinoLine Design
Monday 11/30Natalia KnowltonNerdyQuilter

3 replies on “Making Old Things New”

Karen, I love the story and resulting beautiful jacket and I am in love with Bruce. I was thinking of dyeing a vintage Irish linen tablecloth to see if the celtic designs would show up. If so, then I would use it for the front or back of a quilt. It would be fun quilting on the celtic designs.


I suggest doing your homework on types of dyes. I decided to use Rit for this because I wanted soft subtle colors, even if it fades over time. For other uses, I like fiber reactive dyes, like Procion. Natural fibers like cotton and linen often have good results.


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