Freebies & Features

Creating with the Experts

As we proudly introduce our latest historic collection, NEW ENGLAND QUILTS FROM OLD STURBRIDGE VILLAGE, we asked museum curator (and designer of the line) Aimee Newell, for a few tips on how to best work with these unique prints. Here’s what she shared with us:

“Antique quilts offer lots of inspiration for contemporary quilters. Using reproduction fabrics is one way to give your quilt an antique feel, but try these ideas to add to your quilt’s look.”

  • Don’t be afraid to mix colors and patterns – early 19th century New England quilts employ a lively variety of printed cottons to brighten the room where they were used and to show off the new cylinder printing technology of the time.
  • Recycle! Use scraps from old clothes and household textiles along with new reproduction fabrics; one of the quilts at OSV uses an embroidered pocket as part of its center medallion, while another quilt is made with an old quilted petticoat.
  • Invent your own block. Many of the early 1800s quilts at OSV use the eight-pointed star block pattern, but almost none of them are exactly the same, and few truly fit the pattern names we all know today. Instead, their makers made small changes in which pieces are light and dark, or how they joined the blocks together in order to make their own unique design.
  • Sign your quilt…so many antique quilts in museum collections are anonymous; don’t let this happen to your quilts – let them tell you story and help the curators of tomorrow be able to date 21st-century fabrics. Make a label, either simple or elaborate, with your name, the date, the place and any other information you want to share and stitch it securely to the back of your quilt.