Wednesday, 10 July 2013

Crafts of Yesterday with Instructions

Brant Heritage Quilt Guild does a most unique program called 'Crafts of Yesterday'.    The idea is to recycle old fabrics like their foremothers.

Patricia Ryckman-Fleming, chair of the Program Committee was most generous in sharing her information.  Patricia is a quilt teacher and for several years taught fashion design at Mohawk College in Hamilton Ontario.    Patricia made the cutest ladies aprons from a man's shirt.

1.  Obtain a shirt from the man in your life, shop when prices are marked down significantly or take a trip to Value Village and look for new or next-to-new shirts that are made from good quality fabrics.  Shirts with a button down collar and shirt tails in "large" sizes are best as they give you more fabric to work with. The shirt size can be adjusted up or down depending on the size of the recipient.  Fabrics in plaids, checks, and stripes are good-look for interesting colours.  Name brand shirts are a nice bonus because you can detach the label and sew it on the pocket to give a bit of pizazz to your apron.  The shirt can be cut off with a co-ordinating fabric added at the bottom perhaps 6" deep finished.  Consider extra pockets here as well.

2.  Wash and iron the shirt. Button the front buttons and turn up the collar.

3.  To cut the shirt lay it out flat on a table.  Start with the side seams and cut away the seam allowances.   Remove the sleeves in the same manner. Cut the back off below the yoke.

4.  I like to leave about 5/8" of the back yoke below the collar soit will sit easier on the neck.  Measure and mark every inch or so across the yoke, then mark
the cutting line down to the underarm.  This can be slightly curved at the bottom but straighten it out at the edge for adding the seam binding.   

5.  Pocket - Usually the 'men's' pocket is too large and/or misplaced for a ladies apron so carefully remove the pocket and the label.  Resize the pocket or cut a new one from the sleeves.  Be sure to match the pattern of the fabric to the placement on the shirt.  Stitch the label on the left side of the pocket and stitch the pocket to the shirt.  (Machine stitch length 2.3)

6. For binding the apron top, sides and making the ties - cut diagonal binding 2 1/2" wide from the back of the shirt.  Cut 6 - 2 1/2" strips from the upper left to the lower right on a 45 degree angle - three strips on each side of the first cut.

7.  The longest two pieces are joined together on 45 degree angle folded in half lengthwise and pressed then used for binding the upper part of the apron from center back to the sides.  The middle length pieces are used for the ties and the shorter two pieces for the sides.

8.  As we are using bias binding always pin them in place before stitching so they do not move. Stitch the upper binding to the apron with a 1/4" seam allowance.  Turn to the right side, pin in place and edge stitch.  This should leave a neat stitching line on both sides of the binding.  Trim the binding even with the side edges.

9.  Ties - Fold the ties in half inside out. Stitch down the side and across one end using 1/4" seam allowance.  Turn, press and edge stitch all the way around.  Lay the ties across the apron front ending at the sides, pin and stitch to hold in place.

10. Side Seams - Pin binding to the back and stitch using 1/4" seam allowance.  Turn the bottom of the binding inside out and stitch with 1/4" seam allowance.  Stitch the binding up the front extending into the loose binding about 1 1/2" at the top.  Fold the tie outward and top stitch a rectangle on the front to secure.   Turn down excess binding on the back and hand stitch in place.  Press and you are finished. 

There aprons make nifty gifts for family or friends and make especially nice hostess gifts.  

Bonnie Kelley demonstrated how to make a Toothbrush Rug.

Patricia has written the instructions for us:

 This is an easy, quick craft to learn using new or used fabrics in the ways of our foremothers.
Cotton fabrics are the most economical to use for these rugs as they can be washed, dried and will give extended wear.  

 You will need a "big needle".  In the past many people altered a toothbrush by cutting off the bristle end and filing it to a point like the tip of a needle.  The other end of the toothbrush with the hole in it is used as the eye of the needle to thread the strips of fabric through.

 The strips you use can be cut 1/2" to 1" wide and a yard or more long, then folded in half lengthwise as both sides of the fabric will show.  1/2" strips will make the rug look finer while the 1" strips will be a little more rustic looking. 

Decide on the width of your strips and measure your fabric cutting snips at that interval across the top of the fabric.  Grab that little piece of fabric and tear down until you have several strips.  Fold these strips in half lengthwise.

 Cut a small slit in the end of each strip for knotting together.  Put the end of one strip through the slit at the end of the other then feed the tail of the first strip through the slit on it's own end.  Pull gently and you will find they are connected.  Pin the knot temporarily to hold as you begin to work your rug.  This procedure is repeated as you join each strip.

 Hold two strips side by side.  The strip on the left is the filler strip and the one on the right is the knotting strip.  Make a half-hitch knot with the knotting strip around the filler strip by crossing the knotting strip over the filler strip then under and back through the loop.  Slide the knot near where the strips are joined and pull it snug but not tight.  Repeat 3x resulting in four knots.  Join into a circle by pushing the needle down through the first hole passing under the filler strip and back up through the loop - this forms a half-hitch knot and links the strip into a circle.

 Hold the filler strip beside the previous round of knots.  Continue making knots and working rounds until you reach the desired size then weave the ends of the knots in to finish off.

 As you go, add extra knots to form the curves of the circle.  In the lst and 2nd rounds you will probably need to add an extra knot for every two knots by pushing the needle through the space in the previous round.  Continue adding extra knots as needed to make your rug lie flat.  Spread your rug out frequently to make sure it is lying flat.  If it bubbles up you will need to add extra knots in the next row.  If the edge ruffles you may need to add fewer knots in the next row.

Tie in any loose ends from the knots and you are finished.  Some gals say they can sit down and make a small one in a day.  

Patricia also taught the making of Penny Rugs using three colours of felt.  

Penny rugs were quite popular in the late 1800's and early 1900's when women made decorations for their furniture out of wool scraps using pennies for patterns.
This craft disappeared as textile factories opened up and produced a myriad of home products. Over this past year many quilt shops have been carrying beautiful felted wools,threads, and books with patterns and they have become very popular.

There is no doubt about it, the Brant Heritage Quilt Guild has some very talented ladies!
Thanks for sharing Patricia and Bonnie!


  1. I recently made a promise, to myself, that I was NOT to start any new projects until I finshed the old ones. least I lasted a week. Thanks for the great ideas. Now I must go and clean out my husband's side of the closet.

  2. Great looking apron and a 'green' project as well. A photo of attaching the ties and side binding would be great to have.
    An alternative that I have done on similar aprons is to have bias binding for the ties, the armholes, and around the neck all as one long bias piece. Divide it evenly and sew to the apron and simply sew down the bias open edge for the ties. This catches in the top of the bias already put on the sides.