When we think of clothing and quilting from the 1800’s you have to think of calico fabric. Calico fabric is defined as simple woven cotton fabric with small designs printed evenly on them. Originally from India, demand for calico fabric quickly spread all over Europe and the U.S. During the Civil War era (1840 – 1880), calico fabric comprised of indigo blues, lavenders, reds, pinks, and browns. It is now a roaring industry to supply civil war re-enactors and quilters with these reproduction fabrics from a past time. Beverly chose to make a reproduction quilt that would have looked at home in that time period. I think it turned out beautiful. What do you think?
Piecing a Reproduction Quilt
Obviously it is a sampler reproduction quilt. In a time before quilting books and magazines, sampler quilts were a great way to share and keep patterns. There is no question that this is a scrappy quilt. But I feel that she managed to keep the colors balanced throughout. I like the use of the solid squares between the pieced blocks as to not overwhelm the eye. There is a lot going on, there was no need to add more. Didn’t she do a great job with her points?
I especially love the backing fabric she chose. On Facebook I recently shared my love of polka dot fabrics, so I was going to adore Beverly’s dotted backing fabric no matter what. But I’ve also noticed it’s a little hard to find a good backing fabric for a reproduction quilt like this. There are only a few designers making 108″ wide backing fabrics for civil war reproduction quilts. This Buggy Barn Basics backing fabric is perfect for Beverly’s quilt!
Quilting a Reproduction Quilt
She wanted me to quilt this with an all over edge to edge pantograph called Stars and Loops. She also asked that we quilt it as large as possible, which I was happy to do for her. Computerized designs come in all sorts of densities, but it is possible to enlarge or shrink them to adjust their density a bit. I increased the size until the largest open area met the minimum distance needed by the batting, roughly the size of a fist. Stars and Loops is exactly what it sounds like. It is a playful loopy meander with some stars mixed in. It was a great choice for this pretty reproduction quilt.
History is fascinating. Remembering not only the lessons of the past, but some of aesthetic as well can be fun. It can connect us to our past and help us appreciate and direct our future. Beverly has created a piece of art that is beautiful and useful in so many ways.
Check out some other civil war era quilts that I’ve posted on the blog before.