Zipper Quilt Top

I couldn’t resist this one.   I purchased this top from eBay.  It was made by the seller’s grandmother sometime between 1968 and 1978 which certainly fits with the fact that it is made of polyester double-knit fabric.

I can hear several groans out there.   Who would ever want a polyester quilt!?    Believe it or not there is an emerging group of people who collect polyester quilts.   Keep in mind that the quilting community in the 70’s was very different from today.  There were not many shops that specialized in quilting and fabric shops were chock full of polyester fabrics. ( I wasn’t a fabric buyer at the time but remember going to Minnesota Fabrics with my mom)     Quilters used what was available and the bonus to us today is that the fabric will likely last for another hundred years without any fading or deterioration. Collectors are sort of nostalgic for the era of their youth so for people of a certain age these quilts are cool.    I do plan to hand quilt it, and I plan to use polyester batting.   I might even try to find polyester backing fabric.

I don’t know what the maker would have called the pattern but it looks like zippers to me.


It is a very simple pattern.   The pieces are 3 inches by 8 inches.

It does have a few places where the seams need repair


And there are plenty of thread tails to trim off of the back


but because it is polyester double-knit there is no raveling.

Teddy couldn’t stop looking at the fabric


He is not sure what to make of it.

I think he will approve once it is done…..or perhaps not since he is not old enough to remember polyester.

I have been snowflake obsessed and I think this last batch has got it out of my system for a while.

I added another set of 10 patterns to my Etsy store

here are a few

I bought the finish for the quilt frame and I want to get that done….and I have a few other holiday projects in mind for the weekend…..but likely I will be quilting away and wonder where the weekend went.   So many quilts so little time.

Happy Quilting



42 thoughts on “Zipper Quilt Top

  1. Love it! Someday it will be found in a land fill … 1000 years from now… and it will still be intact! (maybe dirty) 🙂 but no disintegration!

  2. Rose in VT says:

    Thanks for the best laugh of the day! Are you going to quilt it with polyester thread?? It does have a nice graphic appeal, even as I cringe at the fabric content. It probably doesn’t have the same texture to Teddy’s paws as most of ‘his’ quilts.

    • timquilts says:

      I think I will use cotton thread…..I really dont think I can find poly thread that would be hand quilting appropriate.

      I think you are right about the feel of the fabric……the keep looking at it and rubbing his feet on it

  3. ok4now2000 says:

    Beautiful, just beautiful snowflakes. .. and I love the poly quilt… I was just a wee one when this beauty was made…. you sew inspire me!

  4. Liz K says:

    Love them or hate them, polyester quilts are part of quilt history and need to be preserved to tell that part of the quilt story. Yours happens to be a very nice design-a definite bonus. Also so happy that you had the snowflake urge because they are all absolutely beautiful!

    • timquilts says:

      Thanks! When I was a kid I taped snowflakes to the window and sprayed on fake snow…then took off the paper and had really cool snowy windows….but sure a pain to wash off

  5. I remember in 1972 I could only find a few calicoes at penny’s for my first quilt. The only thing not right about this quilt is that it wasn’t finished and used!

  6. Nina Schwerdtfeger says:

    Love the snowflakes and I am of the age when polyester quilts were the thing………the zipper quilt is great!! A lot of church groups made polyester quilts!!

  7. Mrs. Plum says:

    Love your new snowflake designs, Tim. Your polyester quilt does have a great graphic design. I remember polyester double knits very well, and believe me, there are no fond memories.

    I volunteer with a group that makes quilts for cancer patients. Any donated fabrics that are too ugly, sleazy, etc., get donated to another group that makes quilts which are sent overseas. They’re purposely made with awful fabrics so they don’t get stolen before their final destination. Guess sometimes ugly has a purpose.

  8. Ann says:

    I have a soft spot for these polyester beauties. Jim’s mom made us a simple checkerboard lap quilt and finished it by tying it. You may groan, but it is WARM. It is TOUGH! 25 years of use (and dogs) have not fazed it. It is EASY TO WASH. It looks almost new after all these years. Sadly, his Mom died not too long after making it so to me it is very precious. Polyester and all!

  9. Mimi says:

    The snow flakes are just amazing! I like the three kings…. is there a king snowflake in the shop group?

  10. katechiconi says:

    Interesting, but not at all tempted to try one for myself! But you have chosen a nice, simple, graphic design. How warm would polyester be? And wouldn’t it cause dreadful static?

  11. glenda says:

    I have poly fabric I am trying to find a home for. How much yardage would you need?

  12. Yah for polyester. Polyester was a revelation at the time. No ironing needed. And yes it didn’t fade. I agree it is an important part of quilt history. The quilters of the 50s and 60s kept the flame burning until the second great quilt revival of the 20th century. We should pay homage to these quilts.

  13. Fancy you hearing us groan….lol….I grew up in Holland and we mostly used cotton for everything. I can never get used to the awful (to me) smell of polyester when I iron it, but I am curious how you will find the experience of quilting it. Teddy is probably wondering where his nice cuddly cotton is…

  14. Carolyn in Maine says:

    In the early ’90s my mother gave me a box of her “bullet-proof polyester” pants, thinking my daughter (age 14) would wear them. No way! But, there were many colours: brown, yellow, pink, red, mint green, blue, white, so I cut them up and made nine-patch blocks and plain blocks with machine appliqued hearts. I had enough for two lap quilts (with plain poly backing and batting), and I tied them. Sent them up to my parents to use on cold winter evenings.
    Sewing this fabric generated a ton of “fuzz” so I had to clean the machine very very often. Not nice fabric to work with, but definitely makes a warm quilt!

  15. Lorij says:

    Polly and Esther will be around for centuries after we are gone. It may well survive more than a thousand years. The design isn’t bad. And it should be easy to quilt if you use a ball point needle.
    Your snowflakes are beautiful.

  16. Angela says:

    It is the first time I see Teddy looking down, he always loos at you when you take his picture. I guess he is concerned about your intentions with this quilt. You probably need to talk to him and dissipate his worries, if you can. 🙂

  17. lilquilter says:

    Dude…I so admire your ambition, hand-quilting through three layers of polyester with a thick thread! Good luck! Looking forward to yiur progress reports.

    Back in 1971, I had just graduated from college with a degree in Home Economics (which I don’t think even exists any more!) and was selling sewing machines, fabric, notions, etc. at the local Singer store, and making my clothes out of, yep, POLYESTER DOUBLE-KNIT! After my quilting obsession began in the early 80’s, out went the polyesters and in came quilting cottons and I never looked back.

    I do love the graphic design of your two-color zipper quilt top and am inspired to make one. I am already thinking of jumping out of the box and machine quilting it in a modern quilting style. But first, must finish UFOs!!

    As to your snowflake designs, previous posts have said it all – they are magnificent! You are such a terrific artist! I learned to cut paper snowflakes as a child and every so often now I’ll cut a few out of scrap paper. The most pictorial one I ever did had gingerbread people joining hands, nowhere as intricate and beautiful as yours. Thank you for sharing your beautiful work with your online fans!

    Best wishes for a wonderful holiday season and a happy, healthy and creative new year!

    Lil K.

  18. Dixie says:

    I grew up during the polyester era and remember my grandmas’ poly pant suits in every color and how they marveled that there was no ironing involved! I really love the graphics on your zipper quilt!

  19. Deb says:

    I love the top ! I don’t mind ol” poly. Made many a knotted comforter out of that tough material . I used to wear it as a young girl. Mom said it was the only thing that could stand up to all my tom boy ways. 🙂


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