American Quilt Study – part 1

Good Morning!  I have just returned from the annual quilt study seminar!

Good Morning in textile!

Good Morning in textile!

It was such a good study of quilts  and bed coverings history.  It is so fun to see what treasures women are finding and preserving as we try to piece together the story of textiles.

Hand painted tree of life from India

Hand painted tree of life from India

We do know that the first printed textiles came from India.  They were hand dyed and painted.  These were not quilted, but used as a bed covering, known as Palampores.  These were very expensive and therefore only available to the very wealthy.  The above one came from the United East India Company in the mid 1700s.  Some have been documented to the 1600s.

White Counterpane

White Counterpane

Another bed covering of the 1600s and later was Counterpanes.  These were whole cloth with embroidery work.  The one above is a great example.  These could be made of linen, silk, or wool, and later cotton.

Hand woven trim

Hand woven trim

When available and affordable these counterpanes were trimmed.  From this close up picture you can also see how tiny the stitches were done.  France is a known origin for some the fine needlework.  How many of us slept under chenille spreads in the 1950s?  Every time I see one of these past counterpanes,  I am reminded of the chenilles.

hand quilted petticoat (skirt)

hand quilted petticoat (skirt)

The first quilting appears to have been done primarily for garments.   The above picture is of a silk petticoat dated in the mid-1800.  Some have been documented to have been made in the 1700s.

Resourceful women and men would later put all of these concepts together to make pieced and appliquéd quilts!

Broidery Perse Tree of Life

Broideri Perse Tree of Life

With a smaller purchase of the beautiful Indian Chintz fabrics, imitation Tree of Life bed coverings appeared.  The process is known as broderie-perse.  The images were cut from a piece of fabric and appliquéd onto a base solid fabric.  The above  picture is a  Palampores as there is no batting or quilting.  It is documented as being made in 1840.  France and England would soon learn to produce similar chintz fabrics.  The lower Tree of Life broderie-perse bed covering has been quilted.

A second broidery perse bed covering

A second broideri perse bed covering

Below is a close up of part of the above Tree of Life.  I regret that I missed the date of this quilt.

Close up of a Tree of Life broideri perse

Close up of a Tree of Life broideri perse

Another close up of the quilt shows  palm trees.  They are seen in our southern states and symbol of Charleston, SC, where this years seminar took place.  All of the pictures from this post come from the Charleston Museum.   They had a fabulous display of textile history.  In addition I was able to go on a tour of the store room and see many more of their treasures.

Top of the tree of life quilt

Top of the tree of life quilt

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2 responses

  1. I wish that you would provide supplementary information for each textile, noting the current location or collection of the item so that one might have an opportunity to see the original. If you have this information I would love to have it. These are amazing pieces.

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