Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Past Perfect: Gay Bomers

This month's Past Perfect featured quilter is Gay Bomers.
She didn't make the quilt above; she drew the pattern for
her company Sentimental Stitches.

The quilt is Beyond the Cherry Trees and the quiltmaker is Alice
Tignor, who used Gay's pattern to make a reproduction of the quilt below.

The original Beyond the Cherry Trees quilt

Gay's modus operandi is to buy sadly used quilts that should have been preserved because
of their beauty, their family history, the patterns and their historical value.

From the Benjamin Biggs quilt

Sarah Poulsen's version from Gay's pattern

Gay and Clutch live in Grand Rapids, Michigan

Dear Daughter original quilt

A specialty: Album quilts in bad shape.

I've long thought the best way to preserve a once-beautiful antique is to copy it as closely as possible. And Gay is proof that it works.

She doesn't  herself make just one copy; she draws the pattern so faithfully that many quilters can make a copy.

Nancy's copy of the 1857 Album at her
blog the Literate Quilter.

The original 1857 New York album.

Debra Harry's blocks

The original Benjamin Biggs album

Lori's version at Humble Quilts

From the Dear Daughter quilt

Gay also does historical research on the names inscribed.

Dream Garden
She isn't all 19th-century.

Just Takes Two by Barbara Black

And she isn't all applique. Above a quilt she designed with
Brenda Papadakis

8 inch block from Dear Daughter by Barbara Schaffer

Gay publishes her patterns in interesting fashion. The pattern is free for the first month it's posted and after that you can buy a digital download. As time goes by you can buy the whole package from her shop Sentimental Stitches.

Here's a spot to buy her digital downloads:

And last year's Dear Daughter quilt:



  1. Gay is truly a treasure. I've been following her for quite a while. The history and the beautiful blocks -- so much love and care.

  2. And she hosts a quilt retreat in Shipshewana 3 times a year.

  3. "Perfect" indeed! She is not only very talented, but extremely generous as well. Good choice!

  4. Beautiful quilt--(p.s. did you realize your blog is not secure--should be "https" not http..just thought you'd like to know) hugs, Julierose

  5. Her patterns are amazing as are the quilts she chooses to reproduce!!

  6. I have also followed Gaye for several years. I feel very grateful to quilters like you two who work to preserve these works of art from the past! How privileged we are to live in this time and place where we can share such treasures so easily, and have such a wealth of inspiration at our fingertips over the internet.

  7. Hooray for Gay and her wonderful quilt patterns! Thanks for including my 1857 version!

  8. Gay is such a kind and generous person. I’ve had the pleasure to talk with her over my version of the 1857 Album Quilt. I’m now in the process of making Benjamin Biggs. Her patterns and instructions are so precise and easy to recreate. I also love reading the historical content that follows the quilt and its makers. Gay is definitely a great choice to feature for your Past Perfect post.

  9. Hi Barbara, I am Esther from The Netherlands and I follow your blog only since a couple of weeks. Very interesting. In the pictures of this blog you show a antique block in which the red fabric is almost gone. I repaired an old quilt (must have been over 60 years) in which all the red fabric was vanished or teared (and other colors weren't too bad). Do you think the fact that red fabric is so vulnarable has got to do with the red paint?

    best regards from Holland

  10. Esther---the redy dye is the problem. It is hard on the cotton. Read this:

  11. We can all benefit from Gaye's meticulous pattern drafting. Thanks for sharing my Dear Daughter block :)

  12. I absolutely LOVE Gays website and patterns. She does such a remarkable job of recreating old quilts and leaves all of the detail which makes them incredible. I love all of the hand work involved in many of her quilts. I have bought and downloaded quite a few and I'm thinking about going to one if her retreats.i just love quilters who share their patterns and techniques with others (like Barbara brackman!!)

  13. Great pick! I too love Gay's work and have several of her patterns in the works. She also has a huge archieve of historical patterns that I believe were sold by her family in some way back in early 20th century. The redwork/embroidery patterns are great

  14. Hi Barbara,
    I love your blog. Do you have quilts and/or blocks from the "Gilded Age" and what makes them unique from other 1800s quilts?