Monday, May 3, 2021

Quilting Tip from the 1950s

 One of the interesting tips I found came from a 1952 article from Pottstown, PA.  The article was about a church where women gathered to quilt together.

"Needles, thread, patience, good eyesight--and a bottle of colorless nail polish--are some of the requirements for quilting," the members told the reporter.

Nail polish?

"One of the occupational hazards of quilting is a scarred forefinger caused by pushing the needle through the top layer, which is the actual cover design, the woolen filling or cotton batting, and the bottom layer of plain cotton until the needle point can be felt on the quilter's finger on the underside.

It is, of course, necessary to have the stitch running through the three layerss, and a thick coating of nail polish on the finger is a good protection against the inevitable pricks," the women told the reporter.  

Sorry about the poor quality of this image, it was the best I could do this morning.  Here are the ladies quilting what appears to be an elegant applique quilt.

For some reason this tip resonated with me.  I remember that when I was young and teaching myself to hand quilt, Nana gave me something for my finger. I particularly recall the feeling of the stuff on my finger.  What was it?  I racked my memory for weeks and then at 4:30 this morning, I awoke and thought: it was liquid band-aid!  I even checked the internet this morning to make sure there was such a product (there is).  I do remember that the product protected my finger and I used it until I  abandoned (for the first of many times) hand quilting.

I don't know how Nana knew this would work or if it was a technique she learned from a family member like my great-grandmother.  I didn't find an article on using it for quilting during a quick google search. 

At this point, I prick my fingers so frequently that I should probably apply the stuff all over my hands 😁

Did you learn any unusual techniques or tips from family members or friends?  Inquiring minds want to know!

Have a safe and happy day!


  1. Liquid bandage!!! That is new to me. In any case, I stay away from hand sewing as far as possible. I learned about cheater needles (to bury threads) from a member of my guild. Great Tip!!!

  2. We discovered the wonder of liquid bandage when DH split his lip open. The stuff stings but it allows the wounded area to flex but keeps bleeding at bay. Earlier this year I reached the wrong way to get a sharp knife out of the dishwasher and sliced my knuckle. Liquid bandage to the rescue!