Vintage Quilt Tops

I have 3 vintage quilt tops to share today.  I have been busy in the garden the last few days so since I haven’t done a lot of hand quilting I thought you might enjoy a look at a few tops that are going to be had quilted one day.

First is a 70’s top that spoke to me…I think it is so cool!


Those stars in the center are so far from flat!  It will be a challenge to quilt it but it will be worth it.   There are all kinds of fun fabrics in this.  Cotton, poly cotton, poly.  This is a quilt that someone made with all kinds of leftover scraps….likely all from clothing.  We are a bit spoiled these days, we buy quilt shop fabrics with only quilt making in mind for them.  In the 70’s there weren’t quilt shops for the most part.  Quilts were made from apparel fabrics.

This is hand pieced, the quilt police would have a fit with the  huge stitches and giant seam allowances. But he do the job.

Here are some pictures that show the fabrics (click pictures to enlarge)

Next is another scrappy top from the 70’s …lots of polyester double-knit, cotton poly blends, and a great plaid for the sashing


Here are some close ups (click pictures to enlarge)

And last is a top made from Seersucker.


Seersucker is a thin, puckered, all-cotton fabric, commonly striped or checkered, used to make clothing for spring and summer wear. The word came into English from Hindustani (Urdu and Hindi), and originates from the words “kheer aur shakkar”, literally meaning “rice pudding and sugar”, probably from the resemblance of its smooth and rough stripes to the smooth texture of milk and the bumpy texture of sugar.  Seersuckers are made in plain colors, stripes, plaids, checks and prints. Seersucker is used in curtains and summer suiting, dresses, and sportswear, and apparently also quilts.  

The top is machine pieced and well made.  It is light as a feather, perfect for summer.  I will use the thinnest batting I can find when I quilt it.

Here are more pictures (click to enlarge)

For now Teddy and I are back to work on our fruit quilt

Happy Quilting


22 thoughts on “Vintage Quilt Tops

  1. cynthia says:

    These quilts are testament to the enduring urge to make quilts. I began quilting in the late 70’s and remember how hard it could be sometimes to find cottons. The abundance we now have is awesome! And it’s great that you are honoring and preserving the makers’ efforts by quilting them.

    • timquilts says:

      It amazes me what people did with such limited recourses….people today couldn’t imagine making a quilt without a rotary cutter and mat, and acrylic templates etc. I seems like all that effort deserves to be quilted….they really are a big part of the American Quilting history

  2. Carolyn Solomon says:

    These quilts have such great stories to tell. I have a Quilt made from sewing scraps as well as my childhood neighbor’s kitchen curtains. It brings back so many memories when I look at it. I still have my templates made from graph paper glued to cardboard.

    • timquilts says:

      That is so true about quilts…they have stories to tell…how wonderful that you have a quilt full of memories…(and the old school templates to go with it!)

  3. I’m a sucker for seersucker. Loving this top. It will be a delight to quilt. As for the poly…it gave me the heebie jeebies even in the 70’s. Best of luck.

  4. Mike says:

    That quilt top I just rescued was like that. Stretchy wonky and mostly apparel fabric. My long arm was a bit much for it to handle… But my mom’s happy to have it on her couch now. 😉

  5. katechiconi says:

    I love the colour in the first two, fun and bright. The third one is not so much my cup of tea. I’m interested to know how you’re going to press the seersucker seams flat without flattening the ‘bubble’ in the fabric. Sounds like a big job. I made my first quilt in the early 80s, and I used a huge pile of wool challis scraps in shades of dark red, teal, green and gold. It was, and still is, pretty wonky, as I hadn’t the practice with EPP that I do now, but it has lasted the test of time, and I still use it for cool nights.

    • timquilts says:

      I prefer the first 2 myself….but the other one I like because of the seersucker…I hadn’t seen one before…as far as pressing is concerned there is no problem…the natural puckers in the fabric come back after pressing (and washing)

  6. kay17 says:

    The last one is a beauty. I look forward to see how you will manage to quilt this type of fabric.

  7. Jackie Beard says:

    Back in the 80’s we would go up to Grand Rapids to a baby clothing outlet and buy scraps from making baby clothes. There was a lot of pastel seersucker in those packages.

  8. Helen F says:

    great quilt tops!! The middle one with plaid sashing …. late 60’s I had a pair of “woolen flairs” (pants) made out of that exact fabric!!!! – well I thought I looked good in them at the time!

  9. glenda says:

    The one with the double knit patches… What will you use to back it with?

  10. Karen Myers says:

    Who knew such a loud plaid sashing could be the perfect thing to control and organize the scrappy blocks in quilt 2, perfect! As to the seersucker quilt, I remember wearing seersucker pajamas in the summer as a child, also little blouses, loved them. The amazing thing about that quilt top though is the planning the maker must have done to get the colors to crisscross on both diagonals. One always wonders why a top didn’t get quilted. (except the ones which don’t lie flat enough.)

    • timquilts says:

      I agree that loud plaid makes it work….and yes the seersucker took some planning! well done indeed….

      My mother sewed a lot of clothes for us and I remember a light blue/white stripe short pants overall suit made of seersucker that I wore when I was about 2…it had a little red anchor on the bib….

      mom isnt a quilter but that top reminds me of her because of the seersucker

  11. EA Cox says:

    I have a friend who wants a seersucker quilt, and I have a few questions. How stretchy is it? Would I need to use stabilizer? If so, what kind? Do you think there would be any issues with machine quilting it? What if it had seersucker on the front and back? Any thoughts/advice you have would be greatly appreciated! Thanks, Tim!

    • timquilts says:

      It really isn’t stretchy at all, its just sort of soft….I would not use stabilizer because I think it would make it stiff and the soft fell is the real benefit of seersucker. I can’t telly you anything about machine quilting….but I do plan to find a piece of seersucker for the backing on this one


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