Fancy to Frugal - Authentic Quilt Patterns from the '30s

by Kay Connors, Karen Earlywine
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Create the nostalgic heirloom quilts you've always dreamed of! This follow-up to the popular Link to the '30s offers 10 authentic patterns from the 1930s. True to the era, with intricate hand-quilting patterns incorporated into every project, the quilts are nothing less than exquisite. You'll learn a variety of techniques as you feature the reproduction fabric you love in quilts to be treasured for generations.

by Kay Connors, Karen Earlywine
8.5" x 11" printed on your home computer
Format Description:
full color, PDF digital download
Product Code:
Publication Date:
December 7th, 2010

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Review from Stick Your Nose in a Book: Quilting Book Reviews by Jennifer Zoeterman

Fans of hand piecing, hand quilting, and hand applique will enjoy the ten projects in this book. All are authentic reproductions of quilts from newspaper patterns using today's '30s fabrics. These are not fast and easy, but real heirlooms. All templates, quilting patterns, and extensive instructions are included.

Review from The Applique Society Newsletter

The 1930’s were a time of uncertainty, economic worries and depression. Sound familiar? One thing to come out of those hard times were the colorful and bright scrap quilts of the era. Imagine what a lift they must have given the quilter when, at the end of the day, they were able to sit and stitch on a colorful quilt. Kay Connors and Karen Earlywine’s book Fancy to Frugal: Authentic Quilt Patterns from the ‘30’s is the follow-up to their first book, Link to the ‘30s, and offers 10 authentic patterns from that time frame.

Three of the 10 patterns feature appliqué; the authors’ preferred applique technique is the freezer-paper method. All skill levels are addressed in the book as there are quilts that can be made using the rotary cutter; others will need templates. Some of the quilts have embroidery and all of the quilts feature exquisite hand quilting.

The authors always strive to make their quilts as done in the past with lots of muslin, a plethora of prints and solids, and plenty of hand quilting (the quilting patterns are also included in the book). The Quiltmaking Basics chapter of the book covers everything you will need to know to work on these projects, including a section on how to deal with set-in pieces, Y seams, and curved seams.

Review from Barbara Rhoades, Top 500 Reviewer

The cover photo for Fancy to Frugal got my attention right away. I am a lover of the Dresden Plate and noticed the combination of rounded and pointed pieces.  It reminded me of a Compass Rose, only easier! Even if you are not a lover of 30’s fabric, these patterns are wonderful. Use modern fabrics/colors and the beauty will still be there.

This is one of the few absolutely complete books on quilting I have seen. Not only does it have the patterns, it has the right sized templates AND quilting designs for every pattern. If that is not enough, each pattern has a photo of the original newspaper pattern; a bit of history for you to know.

I’m not sure which pattern I will start with as I love them all. The butterfly—what an idea to use wide rick-rack for the body and small for the antenna! Of course, the Dresden Plate will be on my list of must-makes. As I am a lazy appliquer, I love the stitching to show and this will be one of the best to show off my stitches.

Then there is the Mayflower pattern. As I was reading the introduction, I noticed the vine of flowers around the edge. My thought was that this would make a wonderful garland for a Christmas tree! I bet I could figure out how to do it. Turns out I don’t have to, as the directions are right in the Mayflower pattern as this is used on the edges! Instead of putting the wrong sides together, I will make a turned tube to hide the seams.

English paper piecing, circles and pansies are just a few more of the wonders you will find in this book.  If you need to review or learn a few quilting techniques, that can be done in the 12-page quilting basics section. This book covers it all. A definite must-have for my library.

Kay Connors

Kay Connors was born in Texas, raised in New Mexico, and she has had homes in Colorado, California, Washington, Alaska, and Idaho, where she has lived since 1979. She has been quilting since 1973, first to use up fabric, and then to feed her passion. She is a contemporary quilter but finds she can't pass up anything having to do with old quilts. She buys feed sacks, old quilt tops, quilts, and every piece of reproduction '30s fabric she finds. Collecting old patterns and drafting her own from found quilts has allowed her to make quilts that she feels need to be in her home. In 1998, Kay and her sister, Karen Earlywine, bought a little house in the hill country of Texas as a quilting getaway.

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Karen Earlywine

Karen Earlywine was the youngest of four children in a post-war family in Texas. She was two years old when the family moved to New Mexico. Karen, her husband, and their grown children still live in the southwestern part of the state.

Quilting became an important part of Karen's life in 1977. Now the most important thing in her life is her family. Four young grandchildren have new quilts as they go from cradles to cribs to beds. College graduations and other events in the lives of close friends and family are celebrated with the gift of a quilt.

Years of working on old homes and collecting antiques intensified the interest Karen has in reproduction fabrics and quilts of the past. She and sister Kay Connors both share this passion and try to get away to their shared house in Texas to scout the area for fabric and antique treasures as often as possible.

View more titles by Karen Earlywine