Jun 232016

A quilt is a bed covering composed of two layers of fabric and a layer of batting in between, made by the technique of quilting. Many quilts are made with decorative designs; indeed, some quilts are not used as bed covering at all, but are rather made to be hung on a wall or otherwise displayed.

Some uses of quilts include

Armory (please see the article on gambesons)
Educational (e.g., Amish quilts are not only utilitarian, but also typically document a religious or spiritual conviction.)
Documenting events, social history, etc.
Artistic Expression

The Museum of the American Quilter’s Society (also known as the National Quilt Museum) is located in Paducah, Kentucky. The museum houses a large collection of quilts, most of which are winning entries from the American Quilter’s Society festival and quilt competition held yearly in April. The Museum also houses other exhibits of quilt collections, both historic and modern.

Quilting is a method of sewing two layers of cloth with a layer of insulating batting in between. A bed covering or similar large rectangular piece of quilting work is called a quilt.

Quilting originated in utilitarianism rather than decoration, which distinguishes it from most other fine needlework.
The origins of this method of craft are thought to be in the Crusades, when soldiers needed warmth as well as protection from the chafing caused by heavy armour. Additionally, there are ancient Egyptian sculptures showing figures which appear to be wearing clothing which is quilted, possibly for warmth in the chilly desert evenings.
Quilting is used in the making of a garment called a gambeson
In modern times, so-called art quilts have started to become popular for their aesthetic, artistic qualities rather than for functionality (i.e. they hang on a wall instead of lying on a bed)

The most basic form of quilting is a simple geometric grid sewn either by hand or nowadays by machine. The gridwork of stitches traps air in the material, making it much warmer than a single layer of fabric would be, or even the layers separately.
Quilting can also be used as a form of elaborate decoration, where the stitchery creates complex designs and patterns, with or without the use of color. Designs in the original fabrics can be put together to form new patterns.
A quilt using a single piece of fabric as a quilt top is called a whole cloth quilt.
Quilting is often combined with embroidery, patchwork, appliqué and other forms of needlework to create patchwork quilts.
Specialist quilting techniques include
Sashiko quilting
Trapunto quilting, also known as Italian quilting
Shadow trapunto – quilting a design in fine Lawn and filling the pattern with small lengths of coloured wool.
Tivaevae (common in the Pacific, e.g., the Cook Islands)

Social aspects
Quilters are cooperative people. They exchange fabrics or quilt blocks with each other.
They also frequently gather in larger groups (sometimes called “quilting bees”) to collectively apply the gridwork of quilting.
Quilters may also attend Quilt Guild meetings in their local area. Many quilt guilds meet monthly and feature lectures and other activities.
Quilters are usually very charitable, giving away many of their beautiful projects to family, friends and organizations.
Quilts are often made to commemorate events (e.g. weddings and births) and can incorporate pieces of fabric from used or worn-out clothing. Such quilts become historical documents for the quiltmaker and his or her loved ones.
Quilting is an excellent educational tool. It requires students to use mathematical, spatial, artistic and manual skills. It can be used in conjunction with any unit of study (examples would be to make a pictorial quilt that depicts a story the class is reading, or a particular event in history). It can be made age-appropriate by choice of materials (paper, fabric, etc.) and complexity of design.

Patchwork is a form of needlework or craft that involves using small pieces of fabric and stitching them together into a larger design, which is then usually quilted. Patchwork is traditionally ‘pieced’ by hand, but modern quiltmakers often use a sewing machine instead.

Patchwork enjoyed a widespread revival during the Great Depression because it was a way to recycle worn clothing into warm quilts. Even very small and worn pieces of material are suitable for use in patchwork, although crafters today more often use specially bought patchwork material as the basis for their designs.

Patchwork is most often used to make quilts, but it can also be used to make bags, wall-hangings, warm jackets, skirts and other items of clothing. Some textile artists work with patchwork, often combining it with embroidery and other forms of stitchery.

Patchwork and quilting are both enjoying a huge resurgence in popularity around the world, particularly in the United States and Japan.

A survey in America identified Quilting as a multimillion dollar industry. International quilting exhibitions attract thousands of visitors from around the globe, while countless smaller exhibitions are held every weekend in local regions.
Active cyber-quilting communities abound on the web, books and magazines on the subject are published in the hundreds every year, and there are many active local quilting guilds and shops in different countries.
‘Quilt Art’ is established as a legitimate artistic medium, with quilted works of art selling for thousands of dollars to corporate buyers and galleries.
Quilt historians and Quilt appraisers are reevaluating the heritage of traditional quilting and antique quilts, while superb examples of antique quilts are purchased for large sums by collectors and museums.

Types of patchwork

Stained glass window patchwork
Cathedral window patchwork
Somerset patchwork
Trapunto (Stuffed or Puff patchwork)
Crazy quilting

Types of patchwork block

Aunt Sukey’s Choice
Baby Blocks
Barbara Frietchie’s Star
Bear’s Paw
Blazing Sun
Bow Tie
Bridal Wreath
Brown Goose
Cactus Flower
Clay’s Choice
Crosses and Losses
Dolly Madison Star
Double Irish Chain
Double X
Dresden plate*
Drunkard’s path
Eccentric Star
Fish Block
Grandmother’s Fan
Hen and Chickens
Hole in the Barn Door
Hovering Hawks
Jacob’s Ladder
Lincoln’s Platform
Log Cabin
Morning Star
Next Door Neighbor
Ocean Waves
Ohio Star
Old Maid’s Puzzle
Old Tippecanoe
Prairie Queen
Road to California
Rocky Road to Kansas
Shoo fly
Spider Web
Star of Bethlehem
Steps to the Altar
Tree of Life
Turkey Tracks
Wandering Foot
Winding Ways
and many, many more

A gambeson is a padded surcoat, usually worn underneath flexible metal or leather armor, such as a chainmail shirt. It was often produced with a sewing technique called quilting. The gambeson was vital in preventing crushing damage, since even if the edge or point of the weapon was stopped by the exterior armor, the remaining impact could still splinter bone and rupture internal organs. The gambeson distributed the impact over a larger area, and absorbed some energy by deforming.

For soldiers who could nor afford a harder, more expensive exterior armor, the gambeon was often the only armor available. As a gambeson is very labor intensive in the making, most common soldiers would have to produce their own.

Quilted leather open jackets and trousers were worn by Scythian horsemen before the 4th century BC, as can be seen on Scythian gold ornaments crafted by Greek goldsmiths. The European gambeson can at least be traced to the late 10th century, but it is likely to have been in use in various forms for longer than that.

The gambeson was used not only as a sole defense, but was worn beneath mail and plate in order to cushion the body and prevent chafing. It was very insulatory and thus uncomfortable, but its protection was vital for the soldier. Use of the gambeson declined during the renaissance, and by the 17th century, it was no longer in military use.

Several different patterns were used, and the form of the gambeson varied throughout the middle ages and the renaissance due to the ever increasing percentage of the body protected by rigid steel armor. Usually constructed of linen or wool, the stuffing varied, and could be, for example, scrap cloth or horse hair.

Tivaevae (also spelled tīvaevae and tivaivai) are a form of art common in Pacific nations such as the Cook Islands. They are needleworks often created by groups of women called vainetini, though some women prefer to work on their own.

By custom, a tivaevae is not measured by monetary value or production cost. Its value is said to be reflected by what is shown on it and the socialising during the creation.

Tivaevae are often given to important visitors, and in the Cook Islands are often displayed in houses during annual public health checks. Other important occasions for presenting tivaevae include during traditional boys’ hair cutting ceremonies and weddings.

The tivaevae’s origins are uncertain. Rongokea (1992) believes it to be an imported art form, and cites two sets of Christian missionaries in the 19th century as possible origins.

Note: some academics consider tivaevae to be a separate art form from that of quilting. However, there appears to be no consensus on this.


Imagine having over 200 antique classic quilt patterns at your fingertips! Browse through the patterns, descriptions and instructions, then print the pattern you want and start quilting – today!

Dear Quilter,

We have just added FIVE more patterns for a total of 206 patterns that are really valuable to quilting enthusiasts – whether novice or expert. It’s a digital replica of the famous classic full size 8” x 10” quilting book entitled:

One Hundred and One Patchwork Patterns… quilt name stories, cutting designs, material suggestions, yardage estimates, definite instructions for every step of quilt making – by Ruby Short McKim

plus a FREE bonus of 24 Bird Life McKim patterns, Ruby’s 48 state flower patterns, 19 Eveline Foland patterns and 14 other vintage 1930’s patterns!

Sale 5 cents a pattern! Yes, one nickel!

It is much easier to use than a paper book

With your eBook, you don’t have to worry about damaging or losing the various pieces of your patterns as you repeatedly make tracings onto fabric, just print the pattern and instructions you need.

Jun 132016

Here are some sample illustrations on the right from inside this vintage book. Below is the introduction of this great vintage book.  There are countless illustrations and vintage patterns inside the book too.
What a great find.  Download the PDF HERE for free!

“The subject of Historical Costume covers such a multitude of detail that a volume on each century could be written, with hundreds of illustrations. Thus it is, most works on costume are expensive and bewildering; but I hope this small practical handbook will be a useful addition to the many beautifully illustrated works which already exist.
I have divided the matter into centuries and reigns, as far as possible, in this small work, besides separating male and female attire, thus simplifying reference. A special feature has also been made, of supplying the maker or designer of dress with actual proportions and patterns, gleaned from antique dresses, as far back as they could be obtained; and I am much indebted to the authorities at the Victoria and Albert Museum for the permission given me to examine and measure their unique specimens; also to Mr. Wade, Mr. G. G. Kilburne, Mr. Duffield, Mr. Box Kingham, Mr. Hill, Mr. Breakespeare, and others,[34] for their valuable assistance with interesting specimens. I have used outline drawings in the text, as being more clear for purposes of explanation. The dates given to the illustrations are to be taken as approximate to the time in which the style was worn. Many of the photographs have been arranged from my own costume collection, which has made so much of my research simple, reliable, and pleasant. I am also happy to state that before the final revision of this book I have heard that my collection of historical costumes and accessories will, after a preliminary exhibition at Messrs. Harrod’s, be presented to the Victoria and Albert Museum as a gift to the nation by the Directors of that firm. Thus the actual dresses shown in these plates will find a permanent home in London, and become valuable examples to students of costume. The coiffures in the collotype plates are not to be judged as examples, for it would have consumed far too much time to set up these figures more perfectly, but all the bonnets, caps, and accessories given are genuine examples.
In a book of this size, one cannot go into the designs of materials, &c., which is a study any earnest student would not[35] neglect, but in this connection I would draw attention to the comparative colour density and proportion of designs chosen for various effects.
It has been my endeavour to arrange a greater variety of the forms which make up the characters of each period, and also to give a wider knowledge into the footwear, or details of the footwear, than is usual in most costume books.
In a review of the styles I would not press any choice for building new designs, as I believe in close individual research and selection, which may utilise many interesting features from costume settings even in periods which are almost scorned. I believe the purest beauty is found in the simple forms of dress and decoration settings from the 12th to the 15th centuries, schemed to the natural proportions of the figure. The grace of line and movement is often aided by the short train, which can be so happily caught up in many ways; the slight drag of the train always keeps the front clear in outline, besides showing the movement of the limbs. Length of fall in the material was desired, the figure creating its own folds with every turn, but a belt was often placed rather high under the breast. There[36] is little reason with nature of fine form to make dress into sections by a corset waist. A long, lithe, complete curve in outline—much happier unbroken, except by the girdle—is certainly the most artistically useful conception, not breaking the rhythm (as does the harder belt), while it also induces much beauty in lifting and arranging the drapery. The long falling sleeve also has the same qualities, giving a greater fullness of shape, a variety of colour (by a difference of lining), with a winglike motion, besides softening the angle of the elbow.
I think the next garment for high esteem is the chasuble-shaped tunic (with or without sleeves). Falling cleanly from the shoulders, it stops at a charming length for the skirt to take up the flow of line. The delightful effect of partly-laced or clasped sides was not missed by the ablest designers. How refined, too, was the character of decoration of the old period! The art of concentrating effects is seen to perfection, retaining the breadth of shape and length unbroken. Jewelled embroidery of fine enrichment was wrought on the borders, neck settings, square corners, the girdle, and the clasps. The preciousness of effect was truly appreciated by the[37] enclosing of the face in the purity of white lawn and zephyr-like veilings; the circlet and the long interlaced plaits and charming nettings were all tastefully schemed. Has woman ever looked more supreme through all the centuries of extravagant styles and distortions? I believe not: but I have come to the conclusion that, at whatever period of seeming insanity of style, the woman of fine taste can overcome all obstacles by her individual choice and “set up,” and has really always looked fascinating.
There was another form of decoration at this period—the cutting of the edges into a variety of simple or foliated shapes, giving a flutter and enrichment to forms in a simple manner, and this, in conjunction with the increasing richness of materials, was a valuable aid to lighten the effects. It was probably initiated by the heraldic characteristics in vogue.
The pricked and slashed details had much the same result in enriching surfaces.
Later the fan sleeves of the 18th century were enhanced in a similar way by the curved and scalloped shaping, which was used as late as the Victorian sixties with happy effect on the polonaises.[38]
Now, as regards the finest corset dress, the palm must be given to the sack-back dress of the eighteenth century (not in the period of its distortion with hoops), and a full setting showed it to greatest advantage.
This type of design lent itself to more variety in beauty of arrangement than any other; the looping, reefing, and tying always set gracefully in accord with the back fall. The easy exchange of the stomacher also gave additional chance of effect, and the beauty of the fan-shaped sleeve, with its lace falls at the elbow, was a delightful creation. How rich and refined this character could be, without the monstrous forms and head-dresses which later invaded it and turned it into ornate absurdity!
When we examine the period of Charles I, we find much charming dignity in the adaptations of earlier inventions; the collar settings were noble, indeed perfect, in arrangement, and the bodice decoration and proportions most interesting.
For the grace of girlhood no dresses are happier than those of the early 19th century to 1830, and the inventions in trimmings through this period were prolific in beauty and lightness of style.
Analysis of the many fashion-plates and[39] original dresses of this period will well repay all interested in beautiful needlecraft and dress design. The arrangement of frills, insertions, gathered effects, applied forms, and tasselled or buttoned additions, will be found full of beauty and novelty, especially in the dresses of white embroidery. Plates XXIII and XXIV (see pp. 218-231) give some happy examples of this time.”

Download the PDF HERE for free and Enjoy!


Jun 032016

One Hour Dress Made in 34 Minutes!

When announcement was first made in 1923 that Mary Brooks Picken of the Woman’s Institute had developed a new plan by which an attractive dress could be made in an hour, it aroused tremendous interest among women everywhere. Some doubted that such an achievement was possible, until the dress was made in a public demonstration in the Grand Central Palace, New York, in 34 minutes, a fact recorded in the New York newspapers and attested to by officials of the National Merchandise Fair.

The simple dressmaking system developed by Mary Picken is just as relevant today as it was in 1924. Whether you are trying to create a 1920’s dress, sew a flapper dress costume, learn dressmaking, looking for inspiration, or a fashion student – you will get something from this book.

CONTENTS of the Ebook:

Introduction – Making a Dress in an Hour
Step One – Take Your Measurements
Step Two – Divide the Material
Step Three – Cut Out Belt and Skirt
Step Four – Cut Out the Blouse
Step Five – Bind Neck and Sleeves
Step Six – Join the Blouse and Skirt
Step Seven – Complete the Skirt
Step Eight – Complete the Blouse
Step Nine – Make the Belt
Step Ten – Finish the Dress
Variations of the One Hour Dress
Other Variations Shown in This Book

This book can be downloaded immediately HERE:

May 242016

Do something DIFFERENT this year!

Are you bored with seeing the same Christmas decorations EVERY year?

Giant blow-up Santas (been there, done that),

icicle lights (they don’t really look like icicles – do they?)

and -eeks- faded plastic toy soldiers (YUCK!)

Same stuff, different year.

Why not bring back the creative decorations and displays of yester-year?
These displays are EASY to make and fun to paint.

Plywood, paint and a jigsaw is pretty much all that is needed and a pencil to draw out a Santa Claus pattern !

Whether it’s Santa and his reindeer charging across the top of your roof, or a fireplace on the front lawn, flanked by red-flamed candles, an outside decoration gives your home a special and UNIQUE holiday look.

Use these vintage Christmas display directions to make new, unique and eye-catching displays that will delight young and old alike – Click Here!