What 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.
“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.)
Take a look at some of the beautiful quilts that Nancy and others have designed specifically for ’30s fabrics.
“Beginner’s Luck” by Nancy Mahoney, from Treasures from the ’30s.
“Backyard Bliss” by Cynthia Tomaszewski, from Quilting Those Flirty ’30s.
“Mayflower” by Kay Connors and Karen Earlywine, from Fancy to Frugal.
“Cowboy’s Star” by Nancy Mahoney, from Treasures from the ’30s.
“Butterflies” by Kay Connors and Karen Earlywine, from Fancy to Frugal.
“Forever Summer” by Cynthia Tomaszewski, from Quilting Those Flirty ’30s.
“Shadow Star” by Nancy Mahoney, from Quilt Revival.
“Cowboy Days” by Nancy Mahoney, from Appliqué Quilt Revival.
“Bunny Hop” by Nancy Mahoney, from Appliqué Quilt Revival.
Find more ’30s-inspired designs in these books:
What 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!
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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!