Friday, January 29, 2010

Researching the fabric

The fabric is hard to pin down to an exact year. Let's look at some of the individual fabrics.

First, the pink used in the sashing and flower buds. The sashing is lighter than the flower buds but they are both rose pinks. The floral prints have background colors such as mint green, turquoise or aqua, sky blue, and bright yellow. These prints and colors were popular in the late 20s into the 30s.

However, there is also a print with a burgundy background, and a navy blue with white polka dots. These prints and colors were more popular in the late 30s into the early 40s.

So when was the quilt made? You can never say exactly when a quilt was made unless it is dated (that’s why you ALWAYS label your quilts, right?) but we can say it was made from a pattern published in 1930 using fabrics popular in the 30s so I’m going to put an estimated date on it of 1930s. My guess is that they at least started cutting fabric for the quilt soon after the pattern was published and probably finished it sometime later.
I mentioned earlier that the quilt was hand pieced and hand quilted. The maker was a skilled seamstress and probably experienced quilter. The pieces are accurately cut and stitched -- and still holding together, so they knew how to sew. The quilting isn’t as precise as the stitching, but I believe they used an original design. The flower pieces are shadow quilted, no biggie there. But in between, in the squares, there is a quilted butterfly.

It’s a bit different in each one, as if they drew a basic pattern, cut it out, and then traced it onto the blocks. You can see this best in the blue and white polka dot print. I love it.

Now that I have the pattern I want to make a new quilt using contemporary fabrics. I think it will be interesting to display them together. Still wish I knew who made this one.

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