4 tips for getting an authentic look in your Civil War quilts (+ sale!)

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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:
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Colors-of-reproduction-fabrics

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

Julie-HendricksenWe 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:
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In-the-Pink-quilt
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.

See more of Julie’s antiques and remakes >


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:

  • Reproduction-fabricsFabrics 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
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Quilts-from-Civil-War-Legacies II
Quilts from
Civil War Legacies II

See more of Carol’s antique-style beauties >


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?

Connie-and-Mary“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!”
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Scrorched-quilts
Scorched doll quilts
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More from
Civil War Remembered

Can you find the quilt in which a tiny American flag appears? >


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:

Red-Crinoline-Quilts“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:
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Quilts-from-Tributes-and-Treasures

Watch a video featuring all 12 jaw-dropping quilts >


When it comes to Civil War era repros, what’s your favorite color? Tell us in the comments!

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