Some Interesting Historical And Prescriptive Threads About Quilts And Fabrics


During the American civil war the ladies in the South would raise funds for their soldiers by sewing and selling quilts. Well, the war went on a lot longer than anyone had anticipated and the ladies quilting changed from fundraising to bedding. In fact, it got so bad that there ended up being a shortage of quilting fabrics. Near the end of the war, people were tearing apart old mattresses and carpets in a desperate search for any kind of fiber that could be used as quilting fabric.

Back in Victorian times quilting was a pastime for the rich and pampered as they were the only ones who could afford the fancy materials being used in their quilts. One popular craze was something called crazy quilts. These quilts would sport many kinds of contrasting materials, colors and designs. So the Victorian quilters were always looking for eye-catching and outrageous quilting fabrics. It was not unusual to find velvet, silk and brocade doing duty as quilting fabrics. Years later the Victorian quilters also began introducing flannels, denims and other cottons into their crazy quilts' list of acceptable quilting fabrics.

Many of the Victorian crazy quilts are still around today and can be viewed in museums and other quilting displays. Many of them still look wonderful. The wild variety of quilting fabrics are as eye catching today as they were centuries ago. Unfortunately, the one quilting fabric that did not age well was silk. If you see a crazy quilt that sports pieces of silk you will quickly notice that those pieces of quilting fabric have deteriorated quickly. So now you know a little of the history of quilting fabrics, but what do you know about caring for your quilt. Some prescriptive Dos and Don’ts:


Ever store them in plastic of any kind!

Store them in humid or hot climates. If you are comfortable, then the quilt will be

Store quilts in attics or garages

Put quilts in the dryer or hang them over a clothesline. They should lay flat between two sheets placed on the grass in the shade


Store your quilt in a pillowcase or sheet, or roll it onto a muslin-covered tube

Place a piece of fabric between the pillowcase or sheet and your quilt to protect it from the acids in the wood

Twice a year, when the humidity is low and the air is blowing, air your quilt outside, out of direct sunlight

Refold your quilt every 3-4 months so you won't make a permanent crease in it. Crumple up some acid-free tissue paper to help eliminate fold lines

Keep your quilts away from direct light. The sun will make them fade and will age the fabric

Repair any tears as soon as possible to help lengthen the life of your quilt

Remove any marks immediately. Washable quilts can be cleaned with cold water. Delicate cross-stitching fabric and thread, would need to be dry cleaned by an expert

Before you wash, test the fabric to see if the colors are going to run

Follow these tips and ensure the endurance and comfort of your quilt.

Our very own Jacki made this beautiful crazy quilt for her home, here's her crazy quilt story:

I have actually made a crazy quilt for our home. My husband and I own a home built in 1891 and love antiques! When we added on a great room to our 1891 home, we wanted to add antique furniture and accessory pieces so the room would not have a completely "new" look. Along with that, I chose to design a crazy quilt using material scraps I gathered from both of my Grandmas, my Mom and some friends. I used those fabrics to create the quilt squares. To add a unique twist to the quilt, I gave one to various women who had had influence in my life over the years and asked them to embroider the seams and stitch their name in their block. I collected the blocks back from each of them and put them all together in one antique looking quilt. I love it! Each square brings with it many memories. I have hand embroidered blocks from some of my school teachers, relatives, Sunday school teachers, and friends from many different stages of my life.

We hope you enjoy constructing, enjoying and caring for your own crazy quilt as much as we do!


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  • Jacki Alcorn
Comments 1
  • Martha Wipp
    Martha Wipp

    Thank you for the storage, washing and drying information. Great and needed information!!

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