Monday, May 2, 2016

A Patchwork Antimacassar

Antimacassars are surprisingly useful and not very much talked about.  The name comes from macassar oil that was widely used on hair in the 1800s, so an antimacassar was anti (against) the oil staining furniture. In historical novels and museums, they are pretty doilies laid over arms and backs of chairs to protect the fabric from staining and wear.  However, some trains and airplanes also have these things, but typically disposable and ugly.  

So my mom was worried about her spandy nice new chairs in her beautiful new room - she had some old thing laid over the back of the chairs to protect them, and I offered to make her a patchwork antimacassar.  Because of course I love to be practical and I love to sew down my scrap bag.  She decided on the size she wanted, and I had free rein to make it.  

I simply made a patchwork rectangle, backed it with dark green, and added a decorative red blanket stitch around the edge.  I thought of doing some stitching in the middle, too, but decided the fewer bumps of stitching, possibly the more comfortable for the head leaning on it.  There are already the patchwork seams, of course, so maybe I should ask Mom how comfortable the antimacassar is turning out to be.  Except I think this is the chair that Dad usually sits in.  You know how people stake out their spots in the house - usually nonverbally and with great indignation if another person sits there (whoops - I slid over into my children's reality there!).  

Do you have antimacassars, or need some?  I don't, at my house, but I'm not expecting to keep my furniture in mint condition until the children are out of the house.  Decent, hopefully, but not without some wear and tear.


Lana said...

My grandmother always had doilies with these screw in pin things to keep them in place. We were forbidden to touch the pins cause you know they were so fun to twist them in and out. We have leather furniture so we just clean up with a damp cloth and we are good to go. I like your color choices with the furniture.

Polly said...

WHAT? This has a NAME???

We always called them "arm covers" on the arms of chairs and I never called the ones on the backs of chairs anything, but knew what they were and why they were there. I love the fact that they have a name. and a relatively complicated-sounding one at that.

Our living room furniture is leather, so no need, but our downstairs furniture can use some protection (though I hope to make $23 slipcovers soon).

I love yours so much, and what a great way to "sew through the scraps."

BLD in MT said...

Neato. I sure have seen these objects in use, but never knew their name or origin! Good work!

Alica said...

Well...our recliners came with some for over the arms, but they never stayed in they went into my scrap bin for some heavy duty patching fabric!!

e said...

I love your antimacassars! Yes, I'm old enough to know that word! :^)
Also, I would love to know if 'spandy' means expensive. We use the word 'spendy' rather than pricey, which is much more common.

Margo said...

e, I caught "spandy nice" from _Little Women_. So I am guessing it just means really nice :) And no, I didn't google it. So many mysteries and intangibles disappear in the harsh google.

jenny_o said...

They're beautiful as well as functional. With regular use, a high back upholstered chair does pick up body oils that are hard to remove, so these are a great idea! Love the photos!


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