Monday, July 25, 2011

Doll Quilts - Vintage and New

I've been inspired by blogger friend Dawn's doll quilt replicas and her plan for displaying them. I can't wait to see the end result.  Visit her blog at Collector with a Needle.
I happen to love doll quilts, too - both vintage and newly made. Here's the doll quilt that started my collection.
16" Square      c. 1940

I found it at a local quilt show boutique about fifteen years ago. It was displayed on an old ironing board and I thought it was adorable.
Little did I know that it would be the start of a very specific collection and would also lead to my interest in making doll quilts.

The embroidery was done after the top was pieced and goes all the way through to the back - serving as the quilting.

I enjoy trying unusual techniques that I notice on old quilts so I made a replica to donate to the silent auction at my next guild show. I used some of my vintage fabrics and variegated pink thread as seen in the original. The embroidery took longer than I thought! I was happy that a quilter friend had the winning bid.

My replica - 2001

Sorry about the photo quality but it's the only one I have of  the two quilts together (being  shown at the guild.) The original is in front as I can see yellow patches in the corners.

Making small quilts is even more fun than collecting them. It's a satisfying way to try different techniques, color combinations and styles with a better chance of completion. Recently, I made this Joseph's Coat, the name being a reference to the biblical story of Joseph's Coat of Many Colors.

21" x 26"
Sometimes it's called "Rainbow"

It is found almost exclusively in a three county area of SE Pennsylvania. Made by both Mennonites and non-Mennonites, no pattern has been found. I guess it doesn't really need one!! It was most likely shared among individuals living in this particular geographical area. 
When our Minnesota study group studies a particular style, some of us choose to make our own example for education and fun. I knew I would never make this quilt full sized so it was a perfect project when we studied the Strippy style.  
I used only solids and quilted a different design in each color strip as is typical in early examples.
Hand Quilted

Here it is full size as shown in Quilting-Traditions-Pieces From the Past 
c. 1900 Pennsylvania     82" square 
I had to revise this post after I realized I had some great photos of large Joseph Coats quilts that were part of the American Quilt Study Group seminar I attended in Lowell, MA, 2007. The late great Cindy Cawley did a study center on Pennsylvania quilts. I don't know if she owned these particular examples because many in the class brought quilts to share. You can see how the quilting is done. Most use rainbow colors - one includes white.

Whether vintage or newly created, a doll-sized quilt is versatile; it can be used on a wall or table top - at least until the chilly winter evenings come and dolly needs it.

Poor Andy (c. 1972) lost his left arm somewhere along the way but he remains cheerful!

Watch for more of my doll quilts in the coming weeks but.....

Next: Mariner's Compass Medallion Update 


  1. What beautiful little quilts. I especially love your replica of the 9-patch with the embroidery. So sweet!

  2. Lovely little quilts Just shows it doesn't have to be a complicated quilt to look good. I Love nine patches

  3. I absolutely love dolls quilts and these are just gorgeous. I really like the idea of the embroidery used as quilting and your replica was absolutely beautiful. Happy stitching.

  4. Great Quilts Jean.
    I have a wall size Josephs coat on the short list. I did find a doll pattern size, and was glad to see the close up of your quilting on it - that step generally stumps me ;-)
    Well sone - looking forward to your next post, thanks for sharing.

  5. Doll quilts just make me happy. Loved seeing these, especially the Joseph's Coat! Never would have thought to scale that pattern down. It's wonderful!


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