Thursday, February 5, 2015

"Bias Trim Quilt":Chain or Fan Layout

Like so many quilt designs, this one has more than one name and numerous variations. I bought the top several years ago, loving the graphics and the fact that commercial bias tape was put to such a unique use.
It's in great condition, the workmanship is precise; it deserves to be finished. I planned to hand quilt it. That was the plan but, as with some of my other grandiose plans, it has languished on a shelf with lots of other tops, some also deserving, yet also unfinished.

Recently my interest in it was revived due to social media, really, and the generosity of Sharon Pinka, a fellow quilt lover. I had posted the photo on a FaceBook's Quilts Vintage and Antique where Sharon saw it and remembered that she had a pattern for it. She gave me the pattern when we met in Arizona recently, expressing how gratifying it is to find a good place for some of the things we all gather and store.

The February 1934 issue of McCall's magazine advertised their transfer printed patterns suggesting the 1930's as the approximate time period for this pattern.

The pattern includes two designs and sold for $.30. The package is smaller than later patterns; 5.25" x 6.5".

Referred to on the pattern tissue as Bias Trim Quilt you may prefer to assemble the blocks either in the 'fan' design as on the left (more Colonial they say) or the 'chain' (for the more "modern type of room".) Mine is set in a chain.
 You can see that my variation does not use a colored wedge in each corner and employs four colors of tape instead of three. The border on mine uses a LOT more bias tape and adds an extra touch not suggested in this pattern.

I enjoy reading directions and suggestions on old patterns. You are to sew the seams with a 3/16th seam. I've often seen old tops with skimpy seams. I've never seen it in printed directions.
"Three shades of bias trim...peach, lavender and rose" are suggested in tape  "1/2" wide as it comes on the card".
Directions for applying the binding suggest you trace the curved pencil lines on each 9" block as per pattern and stitch one edge of the binding along the inner curve using "Sheer Fabric Colored Cotton"; presumably a thread. The outer edge of the binding should then be "sewn to position flat."
Mine is machine topstitched neatly along the very edge. I suppose it could be hand appliqued but by the 30's I'm betting most people were happy to use their machine for such work.

For finishing, the term 'interlining' is used. I see no reference to batting. What do you think? It says, "Use double sheet cotton. This is sometimes sold in folded sheets. Leaving the sheet double, catch-stitch the sheets together to the required size and baste to the underside of quilt top."
After thus interlining the quilt you are to "join the seams of the lining (what we call backing) and baste to the back of the quilt."
This appears to me to be a top with three layers of woven cloth basted to it; a double layer of interlining and a lining. Is this how you interpret it?

Finding vintage patterns and studying them closely can yield helpful tips for those of us who love to study old quilts and ponder the sometimes puzzling construction.

When I did a quick search under 'fan' or 'chain' on the the Quilt Index and  the International Quilt Study Center none like this showed up but I have seen a few others in books and posted on-line.
Do you have one? Have you seen one?

Cardboard templates for the Double Wedding Ring design were also in the pattern envelope

Another example of using commercial tape for household items.
 A dish towel....I didn't think I had a photo of it but came across it recently.

I welcome your comments


  1. This is fascinating, Jean. What a wonderfully unique top, and how nice that you now possess the pattern, too.
    Thanks for sharing this. : )

  2. I've not seen one in person. I have a vintage worn quilt that appears to have a double layer "sheet blanket" used like batting. It's tied, not sure how that would be to ha s quilt through. I also notice the cover picture is an artist rendering and not an actual quilt.


Thanks for adding your comments!