Quilts antique, quilts unique: celebrating the ’30s (+ fabric giveaway)

Fandango quilt from Applique Quilt RevivalWhat is it quilters love about ’30s quilts? Is it the make-it-do mentality of the era? The nostalgic reminder of simpler times? Or maybe it’s the sweet, cheerful color palette that ’30s quiltmakers drew on to (literally) cover up a difficult decade. Perhaps it’s all of these reasons wrapped into one—and perhaps that’s why reproductions of ’30s quilts are so popular.

Quiltmaking experienced a huge surge in the 1930s. In her book Treasures from the ’30s, prolific designer Nancy Mahoney explains why:

Nancy Page newspaper article--Mayflower quilt block“During the thirties, times were hard and ‘waste not, want not’ was a common mantra. Bragging rights were often based on the clever use of a discarded item. Women prided themselves on their resolve to make do with less. The national quilt revival of the 1930s provided many with a creative way to do just that. Beyond creating something practical, quilting also provided a means for women to contribute to the household’s shrinking income. Many women saw an increasing demand for their needle arts and started their own home-based businesses, enjoying success and even financial independence.

“By 1934 most metropolitan newspapers featured articles on quiltmaking, with the quilt article as the most popular Sunday feature. Some newspapers featured a quilt block with templates that could be clipped and saved; others featured a block drawing and offered a full-size pattern for 10 or 15 cents. I’m so thankful these patterns were collected and cherished by quilters.” (Newspaper article, right, from Fancy to Frugal.)

Giveaway alert! Not only has Nancy written a trio of books on ’30s quilts—she’s also designed a line of 1930s fabrics, called “Adeline,” with P&B Textiles. Our friends at P&B were kind enough to send us not one, but TWO bundles of Nancy’s beautiful fabrics to give away to you! See the end of this post for how to enter the giveaway.

1930s fabrics by Nancy Mahoney, from P&B Textiles

Take a look at some of the beautiful quilts that Nancy and others have designed specifically for ’30s fabrics.

Beginner’s Luck quilt by Nancy Mahoney
“Beginner’s Luck” by Nancy Mahoney, from Treasures from the ’30s.

Backyard Bliss quilt by Cynthia Tomaszewski
“Backyard Bliss” by Cynthia Tomaszewski, from Quilting Those Flirty ’30s.

Mayflower quilt by Kay Connors and Karen Earlywine
“Mayflower” by Kay Connors and Karen Earlywine, from Fancy to Frugal.

Cowboy’s Star quilt by Nancy Mahoney
“Cowboy’s Star” by Nancy Mahoney, from Treasures from the ’30s.

Butterflies quilt by Kay Connors and Karen Earlywine
“Butterflies” by Kay Connors and Karen Earlywine, from Fancy to Frugal.

Forever Summer quilt by Cynthia Tomaszewski
“Forever Summer” by Cynthia Tomaszewski, from Quilting Those Flirty ’30s.

Shadow Star quilt from Quilt Revival
“Shadow Star” by Nancy Mahoney, from Quilt Revival.

Stroll around the Garden quilt by Kay Connors and Karen Earlywine
Stroll around the Garden” by Kay Connors and Karen Earlywine, from Link to the ’30s.

Cowboy Days quilt by Nancy Mahoney
“Cowboy Days” by Nancy Mahoney, from Appliqué Quilt Revival.

Bunny Hop quilt by Nancy Mahoney
“Bunny Hop” by Nancy Mahoney, from Appliqué Quilt Revival.

Jeweled Wedding Ring quilt by Kay Connors and Karen Earlywine
Jeweled Wedding Ring” by Kay Connors and Karen Earlywine, from Link to the ’30s.

Find more ’30s-inspired designs in these books:

Treasures from the '30s  Quilting Those Flirty '30s  Link to the '30s
Applique Quilt Revival  Fancy to Frugal  Quilt Revival


1930s fabrics by Nancy Mahoney from P&B Textiles 2What is it you love about ’30s quilts? Tell us in the comments and you could win one of these two beautiful fabric bundles from our friends at P&B Textiles! We’ll choose the winners one week from today and let you know by email if you’ve won.

Many thanks to P&B Textiles for their generosity. Happy stitching, everyone!

Comments are closed for this post.

Thanks to all who entered the drawing! Our first randomly chosen winner is Marcia, who said:

“Quilts from the 1930s tend to have colors that make me feel optimistic. Many patterns make the most of tiny scraps of fabrics, whether scraps or applique, and emphasize the hand stitching for piecing and quilting. Even the utilitarian quilts that I’ve seen have a great sense of color and design. I cherish the two quilts made by great grandmothers that are in our family’s care.”

Our second randomly chosen winner is Patricia, who said:

“I love history of any kind. And it was during the ’30s that my own mother was a teenager and learning needle arts. While she was not a quilter, she encouraged me to learn every needle art there is. As a result, I’ve sewn clothing since I was 12, taught myself how to embroider, crochet, and cross-stitch; and a dear friend introduced me to quilting at 50 yrs old which, at the time, I thought would be very difficult! I was wrong! Since I’ve loved fabric from an early age, I LOVE piecing as well as applique, and am now learning to machine quilt. The ’30s fabrics are lively, fun, and colorful; and what I think of as a popular reaction to a dreary economy! Thanks to all the women who keep the ’30s fabrics popular!”

Thanks to everyone who entered the giveaway, and congratulations to our winners!


1,066 Comments

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.