Quilt Restoration Project – Sunbonnet Sue and Green Boats – Part 1

I was recently blessed with the opportunity to help a family preserve some precious memories.  These quilts were machine pieced and hand quilted by the great-grandmother.  The plan is to restore them so that they can be gently used by her great-granddaughter in her new and first house.

Green Boats Before Restoration.

Green Boats Before Restoration.


The front of the Sunbonnet Sue quilt prior to any restoration

The front of the Sunbonnet Sue quilt prior to any restoration

This post is going to focus on the overall assessment of the quilts as well as the binding.

Luckily, most of the fabric on these two beauties is in pretty good shape. The pictures above show how beautiful these two are.  Upon closer examination the areas that need to be addressed are the binding, some holes and rips and some of the applique on the Sunbonnet Sue’s.

There are also stains that may or may not come out with gentle hand-washing, but they are not excessive and can be lived (loved) with.

Binding (before):

The binding on both were in very rough shape and all but falling apart.  Both were bound using the “fold over” technique and hand stitched to the front.  All corners were squared so had a lot of excess fabric.  As you can see from the photos below, not only was the binding ragged, the batting has gone through many washings and was literally falling out of the pink quilt.

Green Boats (3)

Condition of the binding on the green sailboat quilt.

Years of washing and use has made the batting separate and flake.

Years of washing and use has made the batting separate and flake.

Ultimately the goal is to make these quilts whole again without taking away from the loving care that went into making them.   It is for this reason that I decided not to worry about squaring the quilt (especially the pink one). Doing so would have meant cutting it down which would have altered the look of the top.

It is easy to see that there was no way to square this quilt without making the top look wonky - so I didn't.  It is beautiful the way it was made.

It is easy to see that there was no way to square this quilt without making the top look wonky – so I didn’t. It is beautiful the way it as made.

Binding (after):

Here are images of both the quilts showing similar before and after pictures.  I am very pleased about how this project is progressing.  I fixed the binding first for a couple reasons:

  1. There were no holes that were evident in areas that intersected the binding.
  2. By cleaning up the binding, I was able to arrest the flaking and loss of batting.

Green boats before and after binding


Pink before and after binding


The next step is to fix the numerous rips, tears, holes and issues with the Sunbonnet Sue dresses that have come up.  Now that the quilts are bound and no longer run the risk of further damage, I can tackle each section individually.  I plan on implementing hand-sewing techniques to fix all of them which will take time but will keep the hand made feel of the original work.

Repair Fabric:

Probably the most difficult choice through this process is the fabric.  Because original fabric is not available, it takes time to look through all that is available to find the best match.  I say best because there is no way to find a fabric that will 100% match up with the colors and patterns used at the time these were new.  Add into this the fact that colors have faded over time due to use and the environment, it is impossible to hide the repairs.

It will take a variety of fabrics to fix the different areas of these quilts.

It will take a variety of fabrics to fix the different areas of these quilts.

With this being said, I am not even going to try!  Instead, the goal is to choose repair fabrics that will blend well and lend to the feel of the original idea.  As you can see so far, the green and pink chosen for the binding is not an exact match, but are close enough to make the quilt whole without changing its look.

What’s Next?:

I can’t wait to get working on the individual applique pieces and that large hole through the pink quilt.  I am thinking a heart on front and back in the same pink as the binding may work perfectly for this.  A hear can easily represent the love that was put into this quilt all those years ago.

So, what's been going on?


Gotch Enterprises and The Hungry Leprechaun at Antique Alley 2015

Gotch Enterprises and The Hungry Leprechaun at Antique Alley 2015

This past six months has been an absolute whirl-wind!  After the holidays were put behind us, it was time to get ready for Antique Alley.  This was a great success and we met some wonderful folks.






Pretty much at the same time and for 2 months after, we started going to the Scarborough Renaissance Faire.  While I have sewn garments in the past, I never really thought about creating custom costumes for such an event.  This is something I can never say again!  I began by creating a fun wizard cloak for my husband and then jumping in with both feet to make entire outfits.  I can see a LOT of this type of sewing in the future!

Green dragon scale wizard cloak with gold brocade lining

Green dragon scale wizard cloak with gold brocade lining

Selesti and Sir Rowan

Selesti and Sir Rowan

In addition to garment sewing, I am kept VERY busy with quilting projects as well. Because client work comes first, the turnaround for long arm quilting services continues to run on time.

Wave the Flag 2015

Wave the Flag 2015

Out a Western Window 2015

Out a Western Window 2015



Wave the Flag feather detail

Wave the Flag feather detail












Most recently, I participated in the Texas Row by Row!  This was so fun and within a week I had produced a cute, water-inspired quilt which consisted of rows from Sandy’s Quilt Shop, Sew it Up!, Peggy’s Quilts, Quilt Among Friends, Cabbage Rose, Richland Sewing Center, Lone Star House of Quilts, and Suddenly Sewing.


I handed in this cutie to Sandy’s Quilt Shop in Joshua Texas.  Not only did I win my pick of 25 fat quarters, I also received an additional prize of 3 yards of fabric.  I chose a beautiful off-white neutral for my 3 yards and then a selection of vibrant batiks in rainbow hues.  I think I may make a fun double hour glass quilt.


So, what’s coming up next?  I have been commissioned to do a few  new projects.  First of all, there are two beautiful hand-quilted quilts that have been loved a bit too much.  Because the owner wants to use them (carefully), we are going to replace the binding and fix the areas that have holes.  In addition, there will be an appliqued quilt made from a child’s leotards.  This will indeed be a challenge.

Pump Boys & Dinettes – Something New and Exciting

As you can probably guess, I got side tracked from my normal sewing, cooking, horse riding and sight-seeing activities… I just haven’t been posting. Why do you ask?

The reason is that I have been working with the Carnegie Players in Cleburne Texas on a theatrical project.  One thing I always wanted to do was be in a musical – I have absolutely no acting experience.


10559761_10202501366077396_8092051714911120017_nI cannot even begin to tell you how exciting it is to be part of this amazing adventure.The people are so nice and while a lot of work, the process is also great fun.

10511294_4649254446327_8960161421105401699_nBecki Esch (aka Rhetta Cupp) is my on stage sister – I am Prudie Cupp.  Us girls own a diner which is situated right next door to Jim and L.M.’s service station and what fun we have! This show is so full of fun music, songs and jokes that everyone who comes to see us enjoys themselves.  We even have had folks dancing in the aisles!10155551_859376024086950_3730780967260415898_n

This past Sunday I had the amazing opportunity to sing to my very own husband!  Yep, our Director – Kate Hicks – chose him from the audience to be the “Best Man”. Of course, he has always been the best man to me, but I will cherish forever the opportunity to sing to the love of my life on stage.

Kate picks someone new every show – you could be the next “Best Man”.

All the folks that are in or work with this show have really worked hard to make this so much fun. We have a full crew of live musicians – many of which sing, dance and have a part to play in our story as well. Dick Helmcamp is the Musical Director as well as “Hank” at the station.


There are still two full weekends left to come see us – and you should!  Shows are Friday and Saturday evenings and Sunday afternoons.  Click here for more information: Pump Boys & Dinettes


Plan on spending some time laughing, singing and dancing in the aisles!


Row by Row Texas – Carrollton and Lewisville

Up until now, I have chronicled my Texas Row by Row fun by writing about every shop I visit in one day – this is not only becoming tiring and sometimes long, I have found that by doing this, I am not able to really show you many of the amazing things I am finding at many of these shops.

At the very beginning of this adventure, I had the pre-conceived notion that one shop was going to be about the same as another… boy was I wrong!

So, with this in mind, I will be focusing on only two shops for each blog posting. This should allow me to post lots more pictures and provide much more info on each.

Now, if you happen to live near, or work in one of the shops I have already visited and blogged about and would like me to expand on my prior postings – just holler and I will!  Who says I have to visit a quilt shop only one time????


The Old Craft Store
1110 W. Main Street
Carrollton, TX  75006

Old Craft Store FrontThe Old Craft Store in Carrollton, TX resides in a beautiful old brick building. Like many other shops we visit, there is no question that this location is rich in history.  As a matter of fact, before I talk about all things quilting, I want to point out two unique non-quilt features of this great shop.


Old Craft Store Merc

  • Inside is an actual, working post office!
  • To walk into one of the back rooms is to step back in history.  This re-make of an old mercantile is absolutely amazing and worth coming to see whether you are a crafter or not.

Old Craft Store (2)When we first arrived, Melba was discussing a project with a customer.  This lady was asking for advice regarding the backing for some quilt tops she was holding.  The woman actually stood in the middle of the main floor turning circles trying to decide what direction this project should take her. Eventually, she took off to her left to find the perfect complement to both her her projects.

As with many shops housed in older buildings, there were many rooms filled with different types of elements. One was almost all notions, patterns, thread and tools. Another room was dedicated to sewing projects such as aprons and other wearables.


Old Craft Store ApronsOld Craft Store Quilts


Yet another room was for classes.

Old Craft Store Class

Over every vertical surface it seems there was a finished project on display. Some of the more memorable include a twister snowman that our daughter fell in love with and a beautifully quilted Christmas tree wall hanging.

The row for The Old Craft StoreOld Craft Store Row featured a unique flower pot whirligig red/white and blue design that just screams summer and the 4th of July!

I must admit that prior to our arrival at this shop, I was worried we would be able to find it – there was so much construction and confusion between Fort Worth and Carrollton that the Garmin was having fits.  Ultimately, this shop was worth the journey and we plan on visiting again.


Quilt Country
701 S. Stemmons #90
Lewisville, TX  75067

Quilt CountryOur next stop was in Lewisville, TX at Quilt Country.  It is very difficult to miss this shop because outside to theright of the doors is a gorgeous summertime mural complete with lots of quilts.  As I have painted many murals over the years, I could appreciate how much time and effort went into this work of art.

Quilt Country Mural 2


Inside, the shop is very straight-forward.  The main area is full of color and activity as shoppers checked out the huge selection of fabrics.  As we have gone shop to shop, one thing sometimes stands out and that is the way a shop displays and sells their fat quarters. Quilt Country is not alone in having their own take on the sale and display of fat quarters.

Quilt Country (7)Quilt Country (4)


Quilt Country Fat QuartersNot only do they have cute bins full of the rolls of fat quarters, they have taken the concept one step farther. Each roll is bound by a colored ribbon, and as you can see from this picture, each color represents a price.  It is very important to me to know the costs of things before I start planning for a project and this is one great way to let the customer make up their mind while the staff answers more complicated questions.

At the time of our visit, we got to meet 4 very sweet ladies behind the counter – they even posed for a Quilt Country Ladiesgroup picture!!  This sort of enthusiasm is contagious as was evident by the number of shoppers that buzzed about the store.

Quilt Country APQS Long Arm




Quilt Country
has more than just fabrics, notions and a great staff.  In addition to all this, there is a classroom, bulk batting section and a room full of APQS long arm quilting systems for sale.  As I Quilt Country Projectsam looking at purchasing a long arm quilter sometime in the future, it was great to check out what this manufacturer has to offer.

The walls were covered in finished projects to inspire – my husband was especially fond of this medallion quilt.

QUilt Country Row

Stop in sometime and pick up the block for this shop, it’s a fun quartet of
summery images set in tilted inner squares.  I can’t wait to dig through my stash to find the perfect little pieces to create these images.


As I mentioned at the start of this post – these are only 2 of the 6 shops we visited on July 26, 2014 – in posts to come, I will share our experiences visiting the following Quilt Shops:

Stitched with Love
500 N. Custer Rd Ste 110
McKinney, TX  75071

The Quilt Asylum
153 S. Central Expressway
McKinnney, TX  75070

Happiness Is . . . Quilting!
217 N. Kentucky St.
McKinney, TX  75069

Blue Ribbon Quilt Shoppe
102-C North Ballard Ave
Wylie, TX  75098

Thank you all for letting me poke around, ask questions and enjoy your own special way of supporting the quilting community.

Row by Row Adventure – Texas July 19, 2014

With so many shops to visit, it is hard to even title my pages by location, so I am resorting to using dates.  Each time we go out (hubby and I), we spend the day visiting new areas of our community and Texas as well as making new friends – today was no exception!

It seems that the word has gotten around as well.  Two of the shops I visited actually have seen this blog!  This was a true honor and I am happy that you find reading somewhat fun.  So, on to what really matters – the shops we visited!


Ladybug Quilt FabricLadybug Quilt and Fabric
217 West Main St.
Azle, TX  76020

This shop was actually on our list last week to visit, but because we got to chatting it up with other folks along theLadybut Quilt Fabrics Custom Tables way, we were too late when we arrived and they had closed – 4PM on Saturdays for everyone’s reference.

Lady Bug Row

The Ladybug is not the largest shop we visited, but like so many others, it held an individual charm and something special.  This shop resides in an older home with a comfy porch on Main Street. Inside are a modest amount of quality fabrics and some very pretty projects.  What will stand out are the gorgeous wood tables, displays and cutting table that were designed and built by the owner’s husband.  I love it when the love of quilting takes on new meaning and brings folks together.


Suddenly SewingSuddenly Sewing
3529 Heritage Trace Pkwy # 173
Fort Worth, TX  76244

Suddenly Sewing Row


Suddenly Sewing is a fully-stocked quilting shop carries fabric, notions, patterns and even machines.  Husqvarna Viking was the predominant brand, but we also saw Pfaff and Singer.  The friendly staff was so helpful and pointed out the cute firecracker row that was their contribution to the project.

Suddenly Sewing Shop View


Upon walking inside, you could see the projector screen at the back as a class was being held on machine embroidery.  Many people were attending the class and commenting about all the adorable embroidery designs that are available to home project makers.


Must Love Fabric SignMust Love Fabric
722 E. Northwest Hwy
Grapevine, TX  76051


Must Love Fabric  Visitors

I just loved the sign for Must Love Fabric, their logo really stood out in the parking lot.  We were also not the only ones who found this shop in Grapevine, TX.  Two other ladies were there this day as well to pick up their Row!  Unfortunately, the row was not in the shop for me to take a picture of as the owner had taken it along to a show.

Must Love Fabric Row

Must Love Fabric is another shop that resides inside an older house; however, has ample parking for many visitors.  Each adorable room held patterns, fabric and finished projects so there was so much to see.  There even is a dedicated sewing room as well.


Quilters Dream (2)Quilter’s DreamQuilters Dream Store
6409 Colleyville Blvd.
Colleyville, TX  76034

Quilter’s Dream in Colleyville was buzzing with activity when we arrived.  The dark grey building stands out and is hard to miss – you will be glad you didn’t when you come inside.  From the moment you walk in, you are met with gorgeous fabrics and finished projects that will spark your creative side.

Quilters Dream Sale Room Quilters Dream Row

The ladies were busy cutting fabric which gave me a few moments to poke around.  What we found was that this was their last day for Christmas in July and there were free patterns, ideas and even cookies! (I never turn down cookies, just so you know)

The second great surprise was their – I know I will name this room incorrectly so I won’t try – specialty room with amazing priced fabric bundles and finished projects.  I was told that many of the local quilters have gotten together to provide these items.  I picked up a large bundle of fabric for only $6!  It was a welcome addition to my Halloween Stash.

The row for this shop is an adorable maple leaf motif which I was told can be fussy-cut from batik fabric to create some gorgeous variations.


Sew It upSew It Up StudioSew It Up Store
740 Grapevine Highway
Hurst, TX  76054

Sew It Up Studio also has its own take on the quilting scene.  Originally a sewing store for clothing, they have added quilting fabric, notions and projects as well. This seems a very intuitive idea as the two can go together nicely.  Now you can purchase fabrics and ideas for quilting projects and learn how to turn this hobby into a garment or accessory. Because Sew it Up holds classes, this is an easy thing to do.

The row presented by Sew it Up looks like Spring flowers done up in hex’s.  If you need the tool – they have that too!

Sew It Up RowSew It Up Plate Idea


Lastly, as I mentioned garments and accessories, I also have to say that their use of the license plate as a purse element was so adorable.  I can’t wait to try this.


Richland Sewing CenterRichland Sewing CenterRichland Sewing Center Class in Progress
850 West Pipeline Road
Hurst, TX  76053

Richland Sewing Center was the last stop in our journey today which was a good thing because we spent quite a bit of time there.  This shop was very large and held just about everything you could need as a quilter.

This was one of the shops where my name was recognized (either that or my logo of little Molly running in the grass is hard to forget).  Jeanie met me as I looked around the store and shook my hand.  We had a great laugh about what it takes to be a good long-arm quilter (good music, relaxing atmosphere and libation of choice!)

There was a Floriani course being taught with a full room in attendance, a large section of machines for sale – everything from sewing to embroidery to long arm.  This shop even has a dedicated repair shop at your disposal.

Richland Sewing Center full-service repair shopRichland Sewing Center Row

Did you say you are new to sewing and would rather buy an affordable used machine? – they have these too.

All the while that I was looking through the fabrics, talking to the nice young man about machines or peeking in on the class my husband was having a nice long talk with one of the owners.  It seems there was something for everyone.


As I look up at all that I have put to paper for this one day, it dawns on me that I probably should re-think my review process and maybe do some individual and in-depth postings for many of the shops I have listed.  It is one thing for a shop to tell you what they do – yet another for someone outside to give their own, first impressions.

What do you all think?  Somewhere down the line would you like to see more information on these shops, maybe with some interview questions?  Please let me know!



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