Quilt In The 19th Century

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A sandwich made of cloth and batting held together with stitches, a quilt is most often thought of as a bedcover. Throughout the 18th and 19th centuries, quilts were a significant part of women 's culture. They were used as a means of expressing social concerns and for cementing the relationships of women. The women 's movement of the 1960s and the art establishment 's discovery of quilts as a medium for abstract expression led in the 1970s to recognizing the quilt as a legitimate art form.  Originally used in clothing to keep the wearer warm, quilted fabric later was used as armor to absorb the impact of weapons. After guns were adopted for use in battle and quilted clothing no longer protected the wearer, such clothing was used only…show more content…
The art of quilt making arrived in America in the 1600s with settlers from Great Britain. English quilts were made primarily of whole cloth or of small honeycombed pieces. In America the earliest quilts followed the English tradition of whole cloth. By the early 1800s, however, American quilt makers had developed a unique approach that used a pattern of repeated blocks—each the same size and design. The whole-cloth quilt appears to be one piece of fabric, though it is constructed from several lengths sewn together. The design, usually of flowers or feathers or both, is stitched onto colored fabric, often a lightweight wool called calamanco. Other whole-cloth quilts were printed with trees, flowers, and birds. Huge appliqué quilts imitated the printed cloth, featuring a tree with exotic blooms and birds. Some rare appliqués combined houses and people to depict villages or weddings. They look like a painting in fabric. Making whole-cloth quilts requires a large clean space where the fabric can be spread out. In 18th-century America only the wealthy could afford both the materials and the space, so few whole-cloth quilts were made. By 1825 practical American quilt makers had responded to the problem of expensive fabrics and small work spaces by developing the repeated block, thus creating the distinctive American quilt. Instead of featuring a central or overall design, American quilts concentrated on one image repeated across the…show more content…
 Most 19th-century Americans lived on farms or in small towns where they felt close to nature. Quilt makers might see a bird 's foot and piece a design called Duck 's Foot in the Mud or design Pine Tree, based on the general shape of an evergreen. Appliquéd quilts of the first half century usually interpreted flowers, had names like Rose of Sharon, and were made of red, green, and yellow fabrics. By the mid-19th century quilts also drew inspiration from such constructed objects as baskets, houses, and log cabins. In the 20th century quilts incorporated technological innovations, including airplanes, cars, and skyscrapers. Quilt names suggest the breadth of the quilt makers ' interests.  Names like Joseph 's Coat and Christian Cross reflect the makers ' interests in religion.  Still others indicate that women, though not allowed to speak publicly or to vote, had strong opinions about politics.  Those in favor of the Union during the American Civil War made Abe Lincoln 's Platform or Underground Railroad, while Southern women made Secession quilts.  Later, women opposed to drinking alcoholic beverages quilted the Temperance Tree, and those who supported the Red Cross 's work during World War I made Red
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