Saturday, August 11, 2018

Mid 19th Century Quilt Idea

Quilts are hands down one of the most nuanced, complicated, fraught with myth and misinformation corners of textile history. Most of my sewing life, I have been saving scraps from projects hoping to one day turn them into some sort of basic quilt of a form correct to somewhere in the middle to late 19th Century. But while I am always fascinated to read scholarship on the evolution of quilts during the 19th Century, I find myself nowhere close to wrapping my mind around it. Even the seemingly haphazard late Century crazy quilts combine their own brand of specialized joining and stitches, leaving me wondering in the end if the make-do quilts of legend ever existed at all. While artistic license is always a possibility, these two works seem to portray something that may be possible with my random period scraps and novice hands:

The above image appears to be ca. 1850s but I have not found specific information on the date or artist. The bed covering appears to be a simple arrangement of a variety of squares and rectangles. Detail of the piece:

And the following is ca. 1870 Story of Golden Locks Seymour Joseph Guy:

I'm not sure if the detail at the lower left here is meant to portray a decorative curved form of the edge of this quilt or if it is just a fold but this also appears to be an arrangement of random pieces arranged in basic geometric shapes fit together as able:

May be worth a try.

Your's & c.

The Victorian Man


  1. I've been doing the same, saving fabric scraps from my historical sewing projects for a quilt.

    1. Would be interested in seeing what you come up with!

    2. I currently have about half of the amount of scraps I need to create a 5' x 6' quilt.
      I'm curious to know more about what you mean by "make do quilts of legend"?
      I don't know a lot about quilts but I have seen many victorian quilts made from random scraps.