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I am a quilter living in Woodbridge, Suffolk who has made quilts since I was a teenager. I also ring bells! Both are great British traditions....I will try to feature some of my antique Welsh and Durham quilts, the quilts I make myself, my quilting activities and also some of my bellringing achievements. Plus as many photos as I can manage. NB: Double click on the photos to see greater detail, then use back button to return to the main page.

Sunday 31 October 2010

Paisley fabric panels

Here is the fabric that I am intending to use on the reverse of my Welsh quilt (two lots-enough for two quilts, then). It was bought as a "vintage paisley quilt or throw" and I paid just £20 for it. The dealer confessed that it was not very old (she thought possibly 70's but definately not victorian) and did I still want it? Well, I just love red paisley fabrics, of course I had to have it!! Besides, modern repro cloth would cost more than this...

The two sides of the throw were each made of four yard long red paisley fabric panels, sewn together, to make an interesting pattern. Each side is different. The throw itself had not been used but was very poorly put together. So I had no compunction in unpicking it to reuse the fabric. Also, I was able to inspect the construction and inspect the wadding.

The throw was very simply made - the three layers had been put together, wrong sides together, and then sewn around and turned inside out (the envelope method). This was then sewn around again. The sewn edge was folded in and top stitched to make a bound edge. But it was very rucked up and had not been carefully sewn. The inside was a length of white woolen cloth with a twill weave.

The more striking design - almost gaudy...with a central star and blue flowers...

A more sedate red paisley, I will use this fabric for the first quilt...central design has a flowershaped design and the paisley is more classical in appearance...

Jen Jones has a quilt museum in Lampeter's former Town Hall - which I very much look forward to seeing one day. This year's exhibition was of quilts made with paisley fabrics and also paisley shawls...two quilts looked similar to my fabrics and were made from the paisley panels, but in different designs, of course.

I sent a copy of the two photos to Hazel at Jen Jones to ask the age of the two quilts on display - here is her answer:

"We have two paisley panel quilts in this years exhibition - the one most like your fabric has provenance and came with other quilts from the same family (different generations).

"Bold paisley Panel quilt" made in 1880 by Ann Lewis of Whitland (prolific quilting area).

The other paisley quilt has been dated as 1890. Hazel"

Now, these fabrics were popular and were likely to have continued to be made for some time. But it appeaars that the fabric is older than the 1970's - and even if not older than the 70's is well in keeping for the era 1880/1890 that I most admire. However, my feeling is that the fabric is older - the sewing did look like a treadle sewing machine(hard to explain why, it just looks that way) and may be from the 20s or 30's. It is always difficult to find good backing fabric but in this case the paisley panels will really add to the appeal, and, make the quilt truely two sided. A lucky find.....


  1. WOW!!!! What a find! The top panel is EXACTLY the same as one that is in the Quilt Museum's collection, quilted - one of the items shown in the Turkey Red exhibition recently. Here's the link -

    They call it the Circles Quilt.

    The description mentions that the back has another Turkey Red panel - no idea what that one looks like but wouldn't it be amazing if it matched the other one of yours?

    This was my favourite quilt out of the Turkey Red exhibition and I am planning a pieced recreation of it.

  2. On second thoughts - I wonder if a reproduction could be made from your panel? If you send me some high resolution photos (without fabric creases) I could have a go with Spoonflower's fabric printing service... A repro of this panel would be fantastic.

  3. this fabric is just beautiful. As you know I am a huge fan of turkey red and paisleys too!
    I agree with Susan a repro of this panel would be amazing for me to own as well.
    I think I would have to quilt it and hang it on our wall.
    I just love the design of it....
    What an amazing find and I agree use it for the back of your quilt it will be beautiful to turn over and see this fabric.
    lucky you!

  4. I have been mulling this over - I will try to take photos of one panel and can send this on a disc - don't know if high res would email successfully - but not this weekend as we are off to Nottingham and Loughborough on a bellringing outing...I will have to think about the lighting to get some good colours Pippa

  5. What a fabulous find, and in such good condition -- it's just beautiful and is going to make a spectacular quilt back.

    I just discovered your blog and have had the most pleasant time reading about your quilts and also the bellringing.