What is quilting Quilting History II

Quilting History II

What is quilting Quilting History II During the first half of the 19th century in America, quilting saw a golden era. Fabric was cheap and plentiful, since it started being manufactured in mills in the new nation. Fabric mills in the eastern states and the south started producing affordable cloth in large quantities. Britain, wanting to defend their own fabric industry and export, started flooding the American market with cheap fabrics.What is quilting Quilting in the Nineteenth Century The end result was that fabric was not only easily available for the first time in the history of the country, but also affordable. Lifestyle changes and a flourishing middle class that could afford fabric and time to quilt made quilting more popular than ever. Quilting bees, a gathering of women in a community to quilt and socialize became a tradition during the first decades of the nineteenth century.

Quilting patterns had been mainly copied and shared in closed circles within the communities, but another major change took place in 1830: the publication of the first issue of Godey’s Lady’s Book, a monthly magazine for women. By 1835, the magazine was publishing quilting patterns, alongside fashion plates, short stories, and patterns for other crafts. Godey’s and other women periodicals allowed quilters to be able to have access to new sources of inspiration for their craft. Agricultural fairs also started including categories for needlework. Local yearly fairs were held, and women started entering their quilts to be judged. Not only they had the incentive of a small cash award, but also the recognition of other quilters in their community. Women saw new quilt patterns at these fairs and copied them or made their own variations.

But the one innovation that revolutionized quilt-making as it was known until then was the invention of the sewing machine. The first patent for a successful sewing machine was issued to Elias Howe in 1846, though the first sewing machine had been already invented in France in the decade of the 30’s.

By the 1850’s, Isaac Singer had perfected the sewing machine’s mechanism and started industrially producing sewing machines. Though expensive, Singer introduced the “payment plan” option. Nineteenth century women were able to save time making clothes for their families and of course, soon, they were using sewing machines for piecing quilts. As a result, women started making quilts as much for artistic expression as for warmth. It is estimated that by the end of the 19th century, about half of the patchwork quilts made in the States were machine pieced.

Geometrical pieced quilt patterns became the rage between 1840 and the end of the Civil War. They could be easily pieced on the new sewing machines.

On the other hand, appliqué also reached a peak of popularity and perfection in Baltimore, Maryland between the 1840’s and mid ‘50s.What is quilting in quilting history These appliqued quilts called “Baltimore Album” quilts show a high degree of skill and workmanship. Superb blocks with floral motifs, fruit baskets and urns, buildings, ships, animals were appliqued on light backgrounds and joined together to make the most stunning appliquéd quilts in the history of quilting.

But not all quilters in America were enjoying these innovations and leisure. Waves of migration westward took place all during the 1800’s, starting in the 1820’s. Women took their quilts with them as they moved to settle in the new territories. Once there, pioneer women had to return to old quiltmaking methods. They had to resort to carding, spinning and weaving their own fabric and having to color it with homemade dye recipes. Fabric once again was a precious commodity until railroads made the transportation of goods to the West cheaper and faster.

The Civil War period brought big changes in women’s lives and in their quilting as well. Quilts were made in the North and the South as both fundraiser items to raise money for the war effort and also as cover for soldiers going to the war front. Cloth and thread once again became scarce in the South, due to the economic blockade. After the war, quilting became the source of income of many women who had lost everything.

Quilting started losing popularity in the years between the end of the war and the end of the decade of the 70’s. The mass production of blankets and many women having to join the workforce meant the decline of quilt-making until the Philadelphia Centennial Exposition of 1867. The interest for all things colonial brought needlework to the forefront of women’s minds. And the Far East exhibits at the Exposition gave women inspiration which started the “crazy quilt” fad. These quilts used expensiv

What is quilting

e fabrics like silk, velvets and taffetas, sewn together on a foundation and heavily embellished with embroidery. However, it was a s

hort lived fad and in about five years, the taste for these quilts had stopped.
During the last twenty years of the 19th century quilting lost its appeal to manufactured bedspreads and blankets. Women’s magazines and periodicals continued publishing patterns, but decorating fashion dictated against quilts, and when women could afford them, they bought ready-made bedspreads instead of making quilts. It took another twenty years for the next golden era of quilting in America to arrive.

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