Quilts from Clothes, What a Concept
Day 2 of Quilt Extravaganza (Mom and Kelli and I sit around the dining room table and make quilts)
I am working on projects that I have already started. I am only a little jealous of Kelli’s perfectly arranged fat quarters and all of Mom’s Civil War-print fabrics. Hopefully in this Compact year I will remain content with the fabric that I have. If not, I have found other options.
Quilting from old clothing, what a novel concept.
This is a fairly “new” thing in the quilter’s realm of the blogosphere, when this is really how patchwork got it’s start. People made blankets from scraps of old clothing. They started to arrange the colorful squares in new designs to make it more interesting. I know this because I used to live then. In the olden days, I mean.
This is actually true.
I spent the summer working as a historical interpreter at Living History Farmsin Urbandale, Iowa, and absolutely loved it. I worked at the 1850 Pioneer farm and in the 1875 town at the Millinery and the Flynn Mansion. As an interpreter I wore period clothing and went about life as if I lived in that time period. I cooked over a hearth in 1850 and on a wood stove in 1875. I did a lot of needlework. Wonderfulness.
The clothing gets rotated year to year to suit the different interns. By mid-summer my shirt for the Millinery had it’s last. After a visit with Laura from Period Clothing, I got a new top. A week later I was visiting the Print Shop and recognized a rag as my sleeve. When visiting the Tangen home my I recognized a hexagon in Lucy’s English paper piecing as my shirt as well.
This is also at a time when quilts were made as the scraps became available. There wasn’t the luxury of completing 15 quilts from November first to the end of the year like a certain mother of mine. When I worked in the upper-class Victorian home I had plenty of time to do “fancy work,” but most crafting for most of the population in this time period was utilitarian.
My mom likes to joke about what our ancestors would think about our quilt making today. We buy yards of fabric to cut it apart and sew it back together. My roommate from India caught on to this irony as well.
“Where to you get fabric with all of these different patterns?”
“I bought them at the quilt shop.”
“You buy the fabric?”
“And then you cut it apart?”
“So you can sew it back together?”
“I thought ‘patchwork’ was supposed to be made from ‘patches'”
Hmmm… I guess this makes sense.
A great website to check out if you’d like to quilt the new-old-fashioned way is Quiltville.com. Bonnie Hunter is super-efficient at organizing all of her scraps and using up every bit of fabric.
So in the spirit of ‘patchwork’ I intend to raid Spencer’s closet and keep an eye out for men’s cotton shirts at Goodwill. This is after I finish all of the quilts I’ve already started and have used up all of the fabric I’ve stockpiled. This will probably happen some time next year when I can buy fabric again anyway.