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Thread: Historical Quilting Patterns and Motifs

  1. #1
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    Historical Quilting Patterns and Motifs

    I've been working with fabrics from the 20s and 30s and now have my quilt sandwiched and ready to machine quilt. I'm not going with hand quilting, which would have been more appropriate for that era, but I don't want to do a modern quilt design either. I'm going to machine stitch on a machine that is not suitable for FMQ, so I have to have a pretty simple design. What motifs were popular for this period? Is there a good reference on quilting patterns for different eras? Thanks.

    ~ C

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    You can always go with the tried and true, cross hatching, either straight or diagonal would be appropriate.

  3. #3
    Super Member SusieQOH's Avatar
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    I agree with cross-hatching. It was used in many vintage and antique quilts.

  4. #4
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    I have a collection - American Needlework - "a complete manual with step by step instructions for recreating 176 early American Designs in embroidery, crewel work, cross stitch, needlepoint, patchwork, applique, quilting, hooking, knitting, crochet, weaving and candlewicking, plus a special section on rug making."

    BTW - it's from 1962

    It has basic feathers (double sides, swags and rings) along with crosshatching and some basic motifs and scroll work. First time I dug into this box, some pretty neat stuff in there!
    My name is Cathy - and I'm addicted to old sewing machines and their attachments.

  5. #5
    Senior Member Rebecca_S's Avatar
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    Rope designs would be used on older quilts, and many of those are a series of gentle curves which could be done with a walking foot.
    Orange peel can be done as a series of gentle curves as well.

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    Baptist Fan. In some parts of the country I think it was called Methodist Fan.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by elnan View Post
    Baptist Fan. In some parts of the country I think it was called Methodist Fan.
    Seems like I've seen the fan pattern on a lot of antique quilts and I've been thinking it would be very quick to do on a longarm, but it might involve a lot of wrestling with the bulk of the quilt on a domestic machine. 70 Classic Quilting Patterns by Gwen Marston/Joe Cunningham Dover Publications 1987 has some nice ones. You didn't tell us how big or what the quilt pattern is.

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    There are lots of stencils available to help you with your traditional choices.

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    Some were simple flower designs....such as daisy and tulips. You can check on Urban Elementz (Spelling?) for idea's and then make your own simple template for marking your quilt.

  10. #10
    Super Member WMUTeach's Avatar
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    Ditto on the the cross-hatching. I have used it on several quilts that used reproduction prints and the stitching almost disappears in to the little patterned fabrics.

  11. #11
    Super Member crafty pat's Avatar
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    I usually go with what looks best with the pattern I use.

  12. #12
    Super Member quiltingshorttimer's Avatar
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    also clam shells. and don't think that machine quilting it is "wrong". Many women were getting treadle or even electrical machines by then and would have been proud of that machine and used it on their quilts to show others that they had a machine. I have a quilt from that era that is machine quilted.

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