The Quilters’ Guild has just published a book o the 1718 Coverlet.
The 1718 Coverlet by Susan Briscoe
This eagerly anticipated and much requested book includes a comprehensive directory of every block in the coverlet, with both original and modern instructions for you to create your own replica coverlet or other smaller projects. The book also tells the story of The 1718 Coverlet, and how it was painstakingly re-created by members of the Quilters’ Guild in 2004.
What is the 1718 Coverlet?
In case you don’t know it, the 1718 Coverlet is the earliest dated example of British patchwork. Bought by the Guild at auction in 2004 the Coverlet has been carefully conserved to ensure that it lasts for many, many years to come.
The Quilters’ Guild website offers the following description of the coverlet – ‘The coverlet measures approximately 169 x 185cm (66″ x 73″) and is made up of basic units of 11cm (4″) square. The block containing the date also has the two initials “E” and “H” worked into it. The coverlet is made from silk fabrics, apart from 6 pieces of wool velvet or plush, and is constructed in the technique known as ‘piecing over papers’, where the fabric is folded and tacked over a paper shape before being stitched together. The blocks have been stitched together with white linen thread. The tacking remains in place and unusually is worked through the back fold of the fabric and the papers only; no tacking can be seen on the front of the coverlet. The back of the coverlet is linen, pieced together in the form of a crazy patchwork of recycled pieces.’
Sadly, despite extensive research, ‘EH’ has never been identified. There are over 120 different fabric designs used in the coverlet, with the oldest dating back to the 1640s.
The Quilters’ Guild, after painstaking research, undertook the mammoth task of recreating the coverlet. As far as possible the same method of construction was used, and much time and effort went into creating the exact fabrics used in the original.
The original coverlet is too fragile for regular display, and is only displayed on occasion in specialist conditions, but the replica gives us the opportunity to appreciate the beauty and detail of this ‘good-as-new’ lookalike.
See the original
The original 1718 Silk Patchwork Coverlet will be on display at the Quilt Museum and Gallery in York from 5 September to 13 December 2014.
Buy the Book
The book is available online from Quilt Museum Shop, and all royalties go to the supporting the charitable aims of The Quilters’ Guild charity to care for and continue exhibiting its marvellous Collection.
If you decide to make one of these (or maybe something less ambitious), please have a look at our website for all your quilting supplies.