Keeping it in the Family: Our Heirloom Quilt

Keeping it in the Family: Our Heirloom Quilt

As many small independent quilt shop owners, we have been struggling of late. Because we love New Orleans and want to and are determined to give back to the city.  We are focused on keeping  our little part of the city and our family history alive and well. 

Remember that in 2015, my daughter Karen and I opened Chateau Sew and Sew, a progressive fabric and sewing studio that was located on Saint Mary Street in the Lower Garden District. Since then, we have grown not by leaps and bounds, but by friends and customers who make every day special.  

We are taking a giant leap of faith with our latest move.  We are joining with several other retail merchants to form a fabulous RETAIL DESTINATION ON ST CHARLES STREET in New Orleans. In the early days we were in a little 1400st space.  We have moved to larger spaces, now we are finally in a space that in my opinion is the optimum sewing and gathering spaces for all our customer family members. Can’t wait for you to see it.

We are excited about our move!!!!!  Starting July 1, you can find us at 1512 Saint Charles Avenue (the Lower St Charles) next door to Promenade Fine Fabrics a nice fit for our mostly cotton fabrics. 

Recently, the shop decided to form a quilting group. It usually meets on the 1st Wednesday of the month at 6:00pm.  During the decision process, memories of my grandmother, Karen’s Great Grandmother, have been racing around my mind. My Grandmother has had a great deal of influence on my life’s path.


Please, allow me to tell you a story I heard at my grandmother’s knee: She was born before the Great Depression (I ‘m sure you’ve read about it…), and learned to sew from her mother, my Great Grandmother. My Great Grandmother sewed as a necessity. She made all my mother’s clothes, sheets, towels and anything else that was needed around the house by hand (no machines in her time). One of the most important things she made was quilts, which she would give as wedding presents and christening gifts. When she’d keep one, they’d use it used until it was in tatters.

 All these decades later, I still have one of her handmade quilts she made. It’s in pretty bad shape; the binding is coming off, and the stuffing is coming out in a couple of places. But it is one of my most prized possessions.

 She told me how she and some of the other women in their rural community where they lived would go to the cotton field when harvesting season was finished to pick up the leftover bits of cotton. They would take the pieces home, comb the burs and pieces of trash out of them and store them until they had enough to stretch and pull them to form the “batting” they needed to make their quilts. Since they lived on a very rural farm and didn’t get to the “city” very often, a peddler would come around(in a horse drawn wagon) to sell them the essentials they needed. One of these essentials was flour. I remember the homemade biscuits she made when I visited every morning for breakfast (yummy). But getting back to the story…

 When she was finished with the flour, guess what was left? A flour sack. Flour, at that time, came in fifty-pound sacks. At first the sacks were made from plain cotton; but, as time went by, the manufactures became more conscious that women were reusing them for their sewing needs. My Grandmother used them to make my mom the dresses she wore to church, school, and to play. When her clothes wore out, or she outgrew them, my Grandmother would repurpose them for quilt tops (who knew the first recyclers were around about 150 years ago?).

The quilt I have was a simple pattern made of four-inch squares. Not much time for intricate sewing for her. My Mom used it for many years, and now I have it. After having it displayed  in my sewing room for years,  I have decided to repurpose it. I have 3 grandchildren (and I do mean GRAND).  I repurposed the useable pieces of the quilt (with a touch of repairs) into stuffed elephants and bears.  It is a heart wrenching and overwhelming project.  But I know each of the Grands will cherish them.  As they have children of their own hopefully they will share a part of the family history with them.

Available Monday, July 10 is PDF  Humphrey the Hound.  Humphrey is a vintage pattern first published over 40 years ago! He is entirely hand-stitched and has a cute button nose. He’s a great easy make for beginners or to make for sale as he shouldn’t take an experienced maker more than a couple of hours in total.


Remember to check out Monday, July 3 free PDF  - Dana Linen Jumpsuit Sewing Pattern by Fabric Store.

Whether you are sewing vintage or using modern materials, Chateau Sew & Sew is waiting to help you.  Call or come by.  

Come back next week, we will be off on new and exciting journeys.

I just know you are going to enjoy this fabulous recipe.  It is great old fashioned comfort food.

Basic Pimiento Cheese

This classic recipe works as a dip, spread, or all by itself.

By Southern Living Editors   Updated on April 27, 2023

Active Time:  15 mins

Total Time:  15 mins


  • 1 (4-oz.) jar diced pimiento, drained
  • 1 ½ cups mayonnaise
  • 1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tsp. finely grated yellow onion
  • ¼ tsp. cayenne pepper
  • 1 (8-oz.) block extra-sharp yellow Cheddar cheese, finely shredded
  • 1 (8-oz.) block sharp yellow Cheddar cheese, shredded


  1. Stir together pimiento, mayonnaise, Worcestershire, onion, and cayenne in a large bowl.
  2. Stir cheeses into pimiento mixture until well combined.

Store covered in the refrigerator up to 1 week.