Poverty Piecing

I got yet another new quilt top a few days ago.  It was hard to pass up at $9.95.  It looks to be early 1900’s and very scrappy.

I learned a new term recently….’poverty piecing’.  This refers to sewing 2 pieces of fabric together to make a larger piece to be used in a block.  This top has several examples of ‘poverty piecing’

The top also suffers from some mouse damage.  It is not uncommon for an antique top to be stored somewhere that mice can get to …they chew holes in the fabrics….fortunately on this top it is only on the edge.

I can find some vintage fabric to patch those 2 spots.  Overall it is in great shape and will make a nice quilt.

Since I finished the scrappy utility quilt I decided that I could start another one.   A while back I posted this top

So I started to work on it yesterday.  Using the same fabric for the backing as the last quilt (this is the third quilt back I got out of that fabric which came from eBay for about $20) and a thick poly batting again to help fill out the puckers.

The thick batting is not the easiest to  hand quilt through…the packaging says it is best for tied quilts or comforters…but it is doing the job of helping to quilt out the puckers.  It will never be square, the edges will remain wavy …but I can live with that.  I think it will be a fun quilt.

Happy Quilting


16 thoughts on “Poverty Piecing

  1. sara says:

    I have not heard of that term, but I have several quilts using the “poverty piecing” solution on them. And I will be generous today and say I will give you $10.50 for that new quilt top thus giving you more money to make another ebay purchase and you don’t have to worry about fixing that beauty! I’m feeling rich today! Let me know….

  2. Willy Wonky says:

    The first top looks quite a bit earlier to me. You’ve got indigo, double-pink, etc. What do you think the youngest fabric is? Get out your Trestain book, and if you don’t have one, order it today. Love what you’re doing with the second strippy top.

    • timquilts says:

      the black, mourning prints, pink and white gingham all say 1880 – 1910 to me…and Trestain seems to agree

      The strippy quilt is going to be another fast finish…probably not as fast as the last one…but rather fun to have one done so quilckly

  3. Louise says:

    I have never heard the term “Poverty Piecing”. My grandmother never let any material go to waste. Old clothes, curtains etc were always reused into crocheted rugs or if in good condition in quilts. If a seam was in the way or not enough of one scrap of material she pieced them.
    I like the first quilt top shown with its early indigo pieces. I know it will be beautiful when you finish it!!

  4. audrey says:

    Your thicker batting is really working wonders with the puckered areas. I would never have started in on your latest hand quilting effort! Great to be learning new tricks about hand quilting.

  5. Siobhan says:

    In the area of the south I live in the older quilters call it “frugal” piecing…

  6. njquilter24 says:

    I never heard of that term before either. What I always learned was red was red and if the piece wasn’t big enough they just added another red piece to make the size they needed it to be. nothing went to waste!
    I love finding pieces like that in an antique quilt especially when its only found 2 or 3 times in a whole quilt.
    thanks for sharing, this is a beauty! great find

  7. Nisa Smith says:

    where do you find the old quilt tops that you show? i am always on the prowl and have trouble finding them. I don’t have lots of money to spend on them, so your deal of $9 is right for me.

    • timquilts says:

      Almost all of them come from eBay…I look at the listings every day …many of them go for a lot…but if you keep watching you can get a great deal like this one…I have about 200 at this point, but I still keep my eyes out for a deal

  8. antarabesque says:

    I poverty piece all the time! I can’t bear to waste fabric, and if there is enough to make another block, even if it means sewing two pieced together, I will. Another fabulous purchase. I, too, occassionally look, bid once on a top that had a fabric in it I could kill for, but lost out at the last minute. Wasn’t met to be, I suppose, I have enough projects without purchasing more. Better you snag them, you’d do a better job.


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