Antennae for Design

More About Depression Era Quilts ~

Reader Sandra G recently wrote: Thank you for Sharing the Antennae For Design Article and Photo. I recently acquired a Vintage Butterfly Quilt Top, that has me puzzled as to what the fabrics are and dating it ? The Butterflies appear to be very similar to your Photo. I am clueless about this Quilt Top and any help would be greatly appreciated. You have a great Website and Blog!

Depression Era Butterfly Quilt Top

Butterfly Quilt Top Detail 

I asked her to send photos and she did send several. I do think this is a Depression era quilt for several reasons. The red butterfly especially, with the cheery cherry printed over the red and white polka dot fabric, looks very 1930s-1940s. All the butterflies are hand-embroidered, which also leads me believe the top is from the Depression era. It’s really a charming quilt top, and beautifully made. I love the design placement of the butterflies. The colors are so vibrant–the finished quilt will make any room sing. What a great find Sandra G.!

* Note ~ a quilt top is just that; the top only. Quilt tops are a wonderful way to acquire a vintage quilt. For some reason or other, the quilt was never completed. Ideally the quilt top would have been tucked away and stored out of direct sunlight–just waiting for some industrious- type to complete the job! If stored properly, you’ll find the vintage fabrics in their original vibrant colors as sunlight and repeated washings are most damaging to textiles.

Butterfly quilt top hand embroidered detail

2 thoughts on “Antennae for Design

  1. Marti Warren

    I agree it does look like fabrics from the 30’s & 40’s. They were often leftover scraps from aprons and dresses which were handmade back then. Quilters shared fabrics with each other, hence the variety. A wonderful example!

  2. Dorothy Roeske

    Contact the American Quilt Museum in Lowell, MA. If you want to know more about the quilt, they have a project called MassQuilts. I have a similar question re. a family quilt and e-mailed them a picture. They identified the pattern via e-mail and I am following up with an appt. at the Museum where their Quilt Documentation Project will give me further information later in the month. How fortunate to find this great resource. I can’t wait!


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