It’s no secret that Civil War–style quilts are mega popular—and we bet we can tell how much you love them by the colors in your stash.
If your stash resembles a spread like this:
We’ve got some fun tips for you today!
Some of our most popular books about reproduction quilts are on sale—this week only, you’ll save 20% and we’ll even cover your shipping costs.* But more than that, we’re sharing little quiltmaking tips from these talented authors, gleaned right from the pages of their best sellers. So grab the tips below—and grab your favorite books while they’re still a steal!
TIP 1: Study the quilts of the past
From Remembering the Past by Julie Hendricksen
We know from our recent interview with Julie Hendricksen that she’s a softy for antique quilts—she currently has a collection of several hundred. So when it comes to reproduction fabrics, Julie’s a whiz (it doesn’t hurt that she owns a quilt shop too). In Remembering the Past, Julie examines several blocks in each antique quilt, explaining the interesting choices each quilter made. Her eye for detail is illuminating! And her insights are something you can easily apply to your quilts. An example:
A page about the In the Pink quilt from Remembering the Past
Julie offers the same thoughtful advice for every quilt in Remembering the Past. If you’re looking for a visual crash course in nineteenth-century era fabric selection and placement, you found it.
TIP 2: Tough to choose fabrics? Stick with this palette
From Civil War Legacies II by Carol Hopkins
Got lots of Civil War prints, but not sure how to mix them together? You’re in luck—Carol’s a pro. She encourages you to pull fabrics from different fabric lines that reflect these specific colors and prints popular in the mid-1860s:
- Fabrics associated with men’s clothing, such as stripes, plaids, checks, polka dots, shirting prints, textured fabrics, and other geometric shapes
- Prints with interesting background features, such as vines, dots, squiggles, and mottled colors
- Brown, red, blue, purple, and gold color families ranging from light to dark within each colorway
- Madder-style prints, stripes, and paisley
- Accents of cheddar, cinnamon pinks, and poison greens
Quilts from Civil War Legacies II
TIP 3: Use coffee and candles (!) to get an aged look
From Civil War Remembered by Mary Etherington and Connie Tesene of Country Threads
Yes, you read that headline right: candles. And Mary and Connie aren’t using the wax—they’re using the flames! Do you dare follow their advice to get an antique look in the sweet doll quilts below?
“These two little projects faithfully represent the doll quilts from long ago that young girls might have played with and cherished during Civil War times. To make these Broken Dishes and Double Four Patch designs look as if they were just pulled out of an antique trunk, we stained the finished quilts in a coffee bath and then literally scorched them with a candle flame in random spots. Carefully!”
More from Civil War Remembered
TIP 4: Make heaps of half-square triangles at a time
From Tributes and Treasures by Paula Barnes and Mary Ellen Robison of Red Crinoline Quilts
If you know which quilt blocks were trendy during the Civil War era, you know that some contain lots of half-square triangles. Paula and Mary Ellen promise there’s no need to fear half-square triangles—especially not with a tool they use called Star Singles:
“We love half-square-triangle units, as you can see from our quilts! We provide cutting options for some projects in which purchased triangle papers are a good option. We like the Star Singles papers for ease and accuracy and often use them in our quiltmaking. They make several identical half-square-triangle units at a time. Star Singles papers are designed by Liz Eagen of Spinning Star Design. They’re widely available at quilt shops and online.”
Of course, Star Singles are optional; learn a different way to make multiple half-square triangles at the same time in this post. Once you choose the technique you like best, you can dive into making these exquisite quilts from Tributes and Treasures:
When it comes to Civil War era repros, what’s your favorite color? Tell us in the comments!
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