Thursday, June 28, 2012

Random Thoughts on Patchwork Clothing

Bernard Willhelm

From LuFlux

Vintage "Klimt Dress" from Giorgio Sant'Angelo

Vintage Printed men's jacket from Pucci

Actress Hester Booth in a Harlequin costume about 1720. The painting is in the collection of the Victoria and Albert Museum

Suit worn by a Kiss member

Button from England during World War I

Monday, June 25, 2012

Newly Discovered Susan McCord Quilt

In February Michigan's Henry Ford Museum announced the acquisition of a newly discovered quilt by Susan McCord.

 Susan McCord, Triple Irish Chain
The Henry Ford Museum

For fans of antique quilts it's equivalent to finding a new Rembrandt. Susan McCord was a 19th-century quilting genius, creating at least thirteen quilts of unique design. She seems to have invented the string-pieced applique vine in the border above. Nobody else used it---until of course we all made our own.

Here's one of mine.

 Several years ago Shauna Christiansen, Deb Rowden and I published a book called Susan McCord: The Unforgettable Artisty of an Indiana Quilter. We made many quilts inspired by McCord.

Deb Rowden, Vines

Deb used Susan McCord's vine idea to set some antique blocks. 

Barbara Brackman, Oh Susannah!
I was inpired by McCord's quilt that the Ford Museum calls Colorful Branches to do a wall hanging.

Susan McCord, Colorful Branches
The Henry Ford Museum

See the Ford Museum's blog with links to more pictures of the quilt here:
And see their online exhibit Quilting Genius here:
Our Susan McCord book is still in print. The Star's Pickledish Store carries it. Read more here:

Janet at Quiltsalott has generously posted a free pattern for her interpretation of the Trailing Vines quilt:

Update: Annette Ratzenberger sent a picture of a quilt she made inspired by Susan McCord's Ocean Wave. She made the pattern herself

Friday, June 22, 2012

Hewson Quilt Progress

Bettina Havig and her Hewson quilt top

Bettina's original design frames the reproduction panel.

Quilters are making progress on their Hewson print quilt tops. Bettina has the top done and ready for hand quilting
 Roseanne Smith is doing Broderie Perse applique. This picture is 3 months old. She doesn't want to finish---it's the elusive never-ending handwork project we love.

Here's a shot of Merikay Waldvogel's on the left and mine in January. Merikay noticed that most of the original quilts have more details in the center panel so she appliqued birds in the corners. Mine was inspired by Zebiah Hewson's.

Quilt by Zebiah Hewson, Philadelphia Museum of Art

This is where I am now, working on the third border, some of which is digitally added here.
And in looking at the original I see I have to applique more birds and butterflies in there too.

You can probably still find the kits for this one by
Jean Ann Wright for Andover.

Click on these links to see others in progress or finished:
Here's one from Quilt It & Dotty
Susan's on BusyThimble blog
Scroll down to see Jo Morton's shown at Spring Quilt Market

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Happy Birthday Title IX

The Lowell High School Girl's Basketball Team
 about 1905 from the Library of Congress

Here's my favorite Sports Illustrated cover ever (May 7, 2012). Read the articles about the effects of Title IX here:
[The link isn't working. Run down to your local barber shop and rummage through the stack of magazines. I read it at the Jiffy Lube last week.]
Title IX was federal legislation requiring that girls get equal funding for sports in schools and other programs receiving any federal funding.

Hole in the Barn Door? No- Hole in One
This week's anniversary is a great excuse to make a quilt---using sports fabric. Lavon Wynn made this one for her neighbor Genty, a great golfer.

Or using a sports pattern. Find this one by Laurie Simpson in Victory Girls: Patriotic Quilts and Rugs of World War II.

Kate in 2009
Post Title IX

A Soccer Quilt in pink----the perfect post-Title IX combination.
Gloria in 1989
Post Title IX

 Another Gloria on the left, Marilyn on the right
Pre-Title IX
It was all about the outfits.
 Me in 1949
Pre-Title IX my brother was the athlete.
Post-Title IX
It was all about the team.

In the annals of American equality, Title IX was a perfect game.

More about vintage sports quilts here
See Minnick and Simpson's Victory Girls book here:

Most of the pictures in this post are from my book:
Sew Into Sports: Quilts for the Fans in Your Life

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Mermaid Magic

Donna Blum sent a photo of her Mermaid Magic quilt, an impressive applique fantasy. She used the Broderie Perse technique, cutting flowers and foliage out of a large-scale print.

I recognized this print right away.

It's from my Moda collection Morris and Company, the Anemone print.

When I looked closer I saw she used the same print in a different colorway for the white anemones and an orange colorway for the Mermaid's hair.

VERY clever! It's fun to collaborate. Donna, me and John Henry Dearle who designed the Anemone print 120 years ago.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Show Off Piecing: Whig Rose

A pieced block with appliqued leaves.

Tennessee quilt historian Bets Ramsey has pointed out a group of floral patterns that look to be appliqued, but on close inspection reveal pieced seams. The block above shows the best clue to a pieced rose---the diagonal seams that extend from the corner of the block to the buds.

That seam is easier to see in a block rather than a quilted piece.
These roses, often called The Whig Rose, are numbered 14.6 in my Encyclopedia of Applique (but the catch is many are not appliqued.)

 You find them from about 1840 into the twentieth century.

I own this fragment of a top that looks to be 20th-century. Her pattern wasn't too good or her sewing skills were not up to it. The puckers did not quilt out.

I tried drafting a pattern in Electric Quilt but so far I have only attempted the central rose, something Ruth Finley called a Foundation Rose in her 1929 book Old Patchwork Quilts.

I hand pieced this drawing the seam lines on the fabric back from the templates---a very old-fashioned idea. Here's what I learned---don't put stripes in the center! I also learned the pattern works. Maybe I will redraw it and try deeper curves. And add buds.

It's hard to believe how complex some of these pieced roses were. The buds often had appliqued parts added to them, but some of them are all pieced---buds, leaves and all.

Some were pieced into a circle and then the circle pieced inside a square

I found several in the Quilt Index from the Quilts of Tennessee project (see below for links) but it's hard to see from those 30-year-old pictures how much is piecing and how much is applique.

There is often embroidery---I added a little digital embroidery and buds to my  sketch. The 19th-century seamstresses might cover the seam with embroidery and add thorns and rose hairs to the bud.

I did some photo manipulating of this Tennessee example to show the embroidery.

Here's a well-used example from the West Virginia project.They seemed to think it necessary to cover the seam with stitches. I'd be showing off my piecing, thank you.

A top from Marie Miller's online store

Donna Skvarla owns one of the best examples I've seen of this show-off piecing. You don't often see prints used.

And speaking of showing off---this one has a green strip inserted in the seam line. That's not embroidery.

In the Tennessee study of nineteenth-century quilts, Bets and Merikay Waldvogel examined 1,425 quilts, of which 64 were classified as rose patterns. Of those, twelve (almost 20%) were pieced or pieced and applique combined. That percentage is high enough to tell us that any rose quilt we come across should be examined to see if there is piecing in what we assume to be an applique design. See more about Bets's article at the bottom of the page.

This summer I thought I'd post occasionally about Show-Off Piecing. You may be inspired to try it.

Mary K. Clark, 1854

Here is an EXTREME example of the Whig Rose idea from Fort Walla Walla's collection.

Below are Quilt Index links to several Tennessee roses that may have piecing:

Bets Ramsey, "Roses Real and Imaginary: Nineteenth Century Botanical Quilts of the Mid-South," is in Uncoverings 1986,Volume 07 of the Research Papers of the American Quilt Study Group. The volume is out of print but you can read it online in the wonderful Quilt Index. Click here:
Read it and send them a donation.