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

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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Then we’ve got some fun tips for you today, gleaned right from books from best-selling authors! So grab the tips below—and grab your favorite books too.

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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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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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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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!








23 Comments (leave a comment)

  • Favorite Civil War repro color: the greyed purples.

    —Marcia P. on October 3, 2016
  • Cheddar!!!

    Jeanne on October 3, 2016
  • poison greens!

    —Kristie Michalowski on October 3, 2016
  • I like the indigo | gray blues. Cheddar is a close tie.

    Don’t have the nerve to "scorch" a color.

    —carol on October 3, 2016
  • I love blues!

    —kay on October 3, 2016
  • I love blues.

    —Gloria Galiana on October 3, 2016
  • Double Pinks followed by Cheddar.

    —Margaret Dalmer on October 3, 2016
  • I like the blues, the best, too! The warm caramel browns are my second favorite. The greens are my least favorite

    —Amanda B. on October 3, 2016
  • Purple is definately my favourite colour but I really love all the Civil War colours and am quite surprised how good the cheddar looks. I make little CW quilts because I draw the blocks up on graph paper and then make templates to trace, draw and then hand piece. I am addicted to the CW quilt books and tend to stick to the colours they have used wherever possible.

    —Ondrea on October 3, 2016
  • I really like the blues with the tans.

    —Chris on October 3, 2016
  • I love them all but I tend to go to the browns and pinks first

    —connie b on October 4, 2016
  • I would have to say the grays and cheddar colors……Love the dark….with a pop of color!

    —Patty on October 4, 2016
  • Pink – love the old shades of pink!

    —Ali on October 4, 2016
  • My favorite color is Cheddar. 2nd Favorite is turkey reds

    —Helen on October 4, 2016
  • As I look at my stash I would have to say I favor blue and red would be a close second.

    —Maureen Klebe on October 6, 2016
  • Love the blues

    —Terri McGreer on October 7, 2016
  • I love cheddar, especially combined with warm brown, with a pop of pink or red. I actually have a drawer full of chocolate and cheddar!

    —Linda Towers on October 7, 2016
  • Don’t have a favorite when it comes to civil war fabrics. I like them all!

    —Cindy Kahrs on October 7, 2016
  • turkey reds,all grays,chocolate and tans……shoot, I love them all!

    —Mary Chasey on October 7, 2016
  • I’missed partial to the cadet blues. I love this shade of blue!

    —Donna Myers on October 7, 2016
  • The gray blues are my favorite.

    Paula Hedges on October 7, 2016
  • Browns and dark reds are my favorite. Forget the burning. Just wash your fabric with a harsh soap.

    —Linda Christianson on October 8, 2016
  • Recently visited Williamsburg, VA and loved the colors of rustic structures, brick buildings and beautiful floral and green plants.

    —Alice Bowers on October 9, 2016

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