Quilts of the depression and what is quilting then

Quilts of the Depression

Quilts of the depression and what is quilting then. Quilts of the Depression Era The period between 1929, the year of the Stock Market crash that plunged the country into the “Great Depression” and the beginning of World War II brought quilting to a new peak period. A quilt revival took place during those years, after the quilting craft had taken a backseat to manufactured coverlets and blankets during the Roaring Twenties when mass produced goods, women joining the workforce and better economic means left little time for quilt making. The motto of the years of economic hardship “waste not, want not” was translated into domestic economy in many depression and what is quiltingways, among them a return to quilting to provide bed cover for the household. It can also be argued that in times of stress and hardship, women quilted to free their mind of everyday worries. Women made quilts from whatever material was available to them. A lot of patterns of the era use small fabric scraps. This period is also marked by the use of feedsack fabric. Cloth bags were used to contain many household staples, such as flour, rice, animal feed, seed and flour. These fabrics were at first, plain cotton with logos printed on them. Housewives would wash and bleach these sacks to remove the logos and use the fabric to make domestic use items. Around 1925, printed cheap fabric with paper labels replaced the plain fabric and these became priced by homemakers. By the end of the decade of the thirties, the manufacturers of these cotton bags were competing to produce sacks that would appeal to women enough to purchase the goods contained inside. These feedsack bags were not only used for quiltmaking, but also to make clothing, curtains, pillowcases (some bags were printed with an embroidery design just for this purpose), and leftover bits were recycled into quilts. Fabric colors that became fashionable during these years were bright and cheerful pastels. Dyeing technology allowed these colors to be colorfast for the first time ever during the decade of the twenties. Bubblegum pink, Nile green, lavender, yellow and light blue hues became the choice for quilt making, both as plain and printed fabrics. Popular depression and what is quiltingprints of the period included small florals, geometric prints and children’s storybook prints. Quilt patterns of the great depression have become among the most easily recognizable in history. Sunbonnet Sue, which appeared as a redwork design as early as the end of the nineteenth century, became one of the best known and loved patterns of the era. Double Wedding Ring, Grandmother’s Flower Garden, Dresden Plate and stylized flower applique quilt patterns became the rage during these between war years. These patterns were easily available since they were printed in periodicals and women’s magazines. Women collected these patterns and made scrapbooks with the saved patterns. It is estimated that in 1934, over four hundred newspapers printed quilt patterns in their issues. Scottie Dog, Airplane, Art Deco style butterflies, and others were published in periodicals and made by quilters all over the country. Quilt brochures, leaflets and kits were published to meet a demand of quilters who wanted new inspiration. These were available for purchase through companies that specialized in the quilt market for the first time in history, like Ladies’ Art, McKim Studios or Colonial Pattern Company. Patterns were also available as premiums inside batting packages, such as the Mountain Mist Company patterns. Pieced patterns that used scraps and small cuts of fabric, scrap quilts, became staples to quiltmakers, since they made use of every last bit of fabric available. Postage stamp type quilts, using bits of fabric the size of a stamp are a good example of this quilt style. depression and what is quilting An event grabbed the attention of quiltmakers all over the country during this period: the Chicago World’s Fair of 1933, which included the biggest quilt contest to date in history, sponsored by Sears, Roebuck and Company. The contest offered a $1000 first prize and other prizes, totaling $7.500. More than twenty four thousand quilts were entered in the contest, no doubt at least partly due to the cash awards. The contest was advertised in catalogs, radio and newspapers. Out of all the quilts received, only thirty made it to the final round of judging. The quilts were supposed to reflect the theme of the fair “a century of progress”. Controversy surrounded the judging, as the winner quilt, entered by Margaret Caden, did not reflect this theme, nor, supposedly was even made by the winner. Booklets were published after the contest, showcasing some of the patterns of the quilts entered and the pattern for the winner, a Feathered Star. The popularity of this contest inspired other contests and events, at a smaller scale. Eleanor Roosevelt, First Lady during the economic depression years, promoted all American arts and crafts, including quilting. The World Progress Administration (WPA) funded quilt projects. Her influence in quilting is seen in the popularity of the Scotty Dog pattern, fashioned after their dog, Lala. Quilting declined again after the start of World War II. Once again, women had to join the workforce to support war related industries. After the war, many women kept their jobs. The good economic climate and availability of mass produced goods during the decade of the fifties, made quilting a craft of the past.

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