Thursday, March 21, 2013

Sneak Peek - Shirtings 1895

I have a day at home today.  I am celebrating Johann Sebastian Bach's birthday * by listening to a CD of organ works while I pin baste my recently finished quilt top.

Shirtings 1895

The old sampler quilts appeal to me.  I love the randomness of the different size blocks, the filler blocks and the not quite straight edges.  I had collected some shirtings here and there (as one does) and looked for blocks that were in quilts from the late 1800s.  I copied some of the blocks in my own collection.  To get the random feel I made each block in a size that suited the pattern, and used the ends of strips to make flying geese and half square triangle filler blocks.  When I had 12 big blocks I put everything on my design floor.

It wasn't very easy to arrange the multi-sized blocks.  In was, in fact, very frustrating.  I was trying to do the whole top at once and it just didn't come together.

Finally I choose four blocks that did fit and sewed them together.  Then I added a row of flying geese, and that looked okay.  I kept adding blocks of blocks that pleased me, and made a few more as necessary.  I filled in gaps with leftover strips without worrying about the colours.

I am pleased with the result.  I'm getting it finished to put in my patchwork group's quilt show next month and I will be interested to see what the reaction of my fellow quilters will be.  Not everyone likes random.

More on shirtings - Barbara Brackman's Material Culture blog has a recent posting on shirting prints.  Shirting fabrics were very popular for men's shirts, and become a fad for women's shirts in 1910.  There's a link to Moda Fabric's blog with a post on today's equivalent of shirting prints - low volume prints.

I bought this shirt in an op shop last year.  It's black on yellow and I thought of shirting prints when I saw it.

The design is ... interesting.

* Wikipedia states that J S Bach's birthday is 31st March.  I have been certain for years that his birthday was 21st March. I still enjoyed the CD.


  1. I like your Bach Birthday celebration! Maybe he deserves a 10 day celebration! 21-31st. Your shirting blocks look great together. The way you added fillers looks balanced and nice!

  2. I really like that quilt top! Somehow I knew those triangles were called Flying Geese.

  3. LOVE your shirtings quilt top and what a lucky find you had at the op shop.


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