Decorating with Sewing Collectibles
Five Easy Ideas

Many quilters and crafters (like me!) love to collect vintage quilts, fabric, embroidery, and sewing items. These special collectibles establish a connection between us and sewers of a different generation and are treasured reminders of our sewing passions. I love to show off my collections while decorating my home. Here are several of my favorite ways.

  1. A vintage quilt is a treasure whether it is passed down through the family or found at a garage sale. Oftentimes, though, older quilts are in poor condition and only a few blocks are salvageable. One solution is to lovingly select the good blocks and frame them for a unique decorating accessory. The black and white crazy quilt block on the bottom shelf in this photo is a good example of that. Keeping the frame simple focuses attention on the quilt block. Use archival quality matte board as a backing to help preserve the fragile fabric.
  2. If you don't want to cut up the quilt despite the condition, try photocopying or photographing a block or two then frame your copy or photo. You'll be able to enjoy the unique features of the quilt while the real thing is carefully stored away. Although these were purchased, the quilt block prints on the second shelf illustrate this nifty technique.
  3. Small collectibles like vintage pin cushions, needle packages, thread, trims, and small sewing supplies make a big statement when grouped together in a wide-mouthed jar. The jar on the middle shelf contains items our editor found in her mother's sewing boxes. Her tip: build your display around the edges of the jar where the items show. Stuff the middle with batting so items won't shift when the jar is moved. Work your way up, placing items in layers and stuffing the center as you go.
  4. Buttons are fun to collect and can be displayed in jars as shown, or stretch a piece of fabric onto artist stretcher bars and sew on a variety of your favorite buttons. Arrange them in an orderly pattern or make a design of the buttons then display your button board on the wall. Another option is to paint a cork bulletin board a neutral color and pin buttons to it for an easy display.
  5. My favorite way to display vintage embroidered pieces is to use them as they were intended. I have several embroidered tablecloths that I use on the table, tea towels that go on the towel rack, and pillowcases that are displayed on the bed. I have turned a few doilies into small decorative pillows where I can group them with other embroidered pieces for maximum impact.

However you display them, enjoy your collections!