Friday, March 15, 2013

Jockey Cap - 1940's Reproduction

One year ago - February, 2012:
A friend of mine showed me a little project she was doing using Drunkard Path blocks in 1930's and 1940's reproduction fabrics. The technique was simpler than the usual two templates required for this design  but she said the trouble was that she got two identical blocks with this method and she wanted to do a small project where each block was different. What to do with those extra blocks?

I realized quickly, as any good friend would, that I could help her solve that problem. So she sent me home with a pile of blocks all prepared to applique and now we each have an identical set of blocks.

Basically, you select two fabrics that you like together, cut a square and a circle out of each, ( we used a 5" square and a template for a 3" diameter circle). Applique a circle to the center of  each square (we did needleturn) Now trim the completed block to 4.5" and then cut it  into quarters and reassemble creating two identical blocks. I cut away the 'bottom' layer of each inner quarter circle.

The beauty of it is that there are no curved seams to sew as there are in the more typical method of making Drunkard's Path blocks.
More typical construction method
Two templates required

Here's my finished little quilt:

                22.5" x 26"

Hand quilted
No matter what method you use to create it, this versatile block can be worked in any size and arranged in countless ways to create very different looks. Numerous names have been applied to it; sometimes related to the way the blocks are arranged;  Jockey Cap, Fool's Puzzle, Oregon Trail, Baseball to name a few.

I wrote about the design and it's relation to the Women's Christian Temperance Union in this 2011 post.

More examples:

Scrappy - Kaffe Fassett design
32 x 45
Block orientation and fabric choice makes a big difference!
The bold graphics of two solids

Very contemporary
My friend Gail just sent me this example - I had to add it!
Dad's Plaids by Elsie Campbell

Click here to view this tutorial which uses the more challenging and traditional curved piecing construction but at the end of the tutorial there are tons of photos of different settings...worth a look!

Have you worked with this design? 
If not, I hope you are inspired to try a version of your own in the method you prefer.


  1. I love the little quilt you created.
    I have made Drunkard's Path blocks using the traditional curved seams. I was nervous going into it, but they weren't that bad. I just tried some sample blocks and never made a whole quilt. I didn't need to, because I taught my Mom how to make them and she did a whole bed quilt and now it is mine. : )

    1. How clever of you, Janet! I am working on a larger scale with batiks and hand dyed solids for a more contemporary look for my next one....don't expect to see it soon, though!

  2. Wonderful examples. I've used the larger acrylic templates and pieced two Drunkard's Path quilts. And Janet is right... the large, gentle curve is relatively easy to piece. But the smaller ones... your method is just right.

  3. I love your quilt. I'm inspired. I really want to make one. Hugs PS I am now a follower

    1. Yeah! Thanks for leaving a comment AND for becoming a follower of my blog - for some silly reason I wanted to get to 75....a milestone in my mind....and you did it for me! :) I hope you'll continue to share your quilt thoughts and ideas.

  4. Jean. I hopped on over here from the QHL (I've been a member forever). Love this Drunkard's Path posting. I've been making these with the circle and square for 20 years and thought I was a renegade. Now I know I'm in good company! Your quilt samples are glorious.


Thanks for adding your comments!