Quilt Patterns

Civil War Quilt Patterns

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Civil War quilt patterns exist in duplications and in museums across the country. To say times were different then would seem so cliche. However, quilts made during this time truly did serve a purpose. They weren't meant to be hung on walls or stuffed in a closet for a rainy day.

Women created quilts and bedding for soldiers. When the men left, their mothers, wives or betrothed would send them away with a quilt in hand. At hospitals throughout the Civil War plagued area, quilts and blankets were used to attend to the wounded and the doctors.

Recreating the patterns from this part of history is like reenacting a battlefield. Each flower or piece of silk was representing something. When women were able to use their best fabrics it showed that their side was gaining and ground and it kept the hopes of victory alive.

Civil War quilt patterns served as moral boosters, probably more so than any other type of patterns ever before or sense then. They were patriotic with eagles and flags. Some were the union flags and others used confederate colors.

Quiltmakers can find Civil War quilt patterns in history books, catalogs and even magazines. They represent not only those supporting the war effort but a push against slavery as well. African-Americans used Civil War quilt patterns to fight for their freedom, just as other quilters fought for the war movement.

History in Fabric

The Civil War was an important era for the United States. Not only did it tear a county apart, but also it brought one together. Some feel that without this war the country may have still split, but stayed divided.

Quilts from this period aren't in mass numbers. They were all used and served a purpose. Some were draped over the wounded, while others kept President Abraham Lincoln warm. Civil War quilt patterns were so symbolic and important to a person that a solider would carry his with him. If he lost his life on the battlefield, his fellow soldiers would bury him in his quilt.

The Civil War quilt patterns were often used as a source of income. This could be to raise money for the troops, a family or just the war effort in general. It was done on both sides. The northern ladies made quilts and the southern belles got their needle and thread out as well. However, it did become more and more difficult for the south to create quilts as they ran low on supplies due to blockades.

When it was time to sell their Civil War quilt designs the northern ladies went to the great fair and the south took a ride on the gun boat. Now women didn't actually get on gun boats. They just designed patterns for a comforter, blanket or quilt to raise money so the south could purchase gun boats.

Patterns and Designs That Represent an Era

The role that women played during the Civil War helped bring about the fight for women to vote and being more involved in society. While not everyone approved of women becoming more involved and speaking their opinions, they couldn't turn down the financial assistance that they brought to both the Union and the Confederacy.

Northern fairs for quilt patterns were like bazaars, but different. They would last an entire week or sometimes longer. The quilts shown at these events were often made of silk. Because silk was so fashionable during this era, the quilts that used silk usually sold better. The famous Log Cabin patterns came about during the Civil War and it used silk and cottons. Wool was also used. The eagle and the flag were big motifs for the quilts.

The Southern events weren't too much different. Stitching played a big role in these Civil War quilt patterns as they had motifs of flowers. Applique Civil War patterns were also used on southern quilts. The best fabrics were used to make a bedspread, quilt or blanket, but as the Civil War continued on the choice began to dwindle and they had to start making do with what they had around.

Finding the Mood with Color

The purpose of the Civil War quilt patterns changed, so the color choices were just as flexible. Civil War quilt patterns weren't known to be flashy, but they were known for their delicacy and attention to detail. For those trying to be authentic you are going to have to remember that certain colors and fabrics just weren't available during this time.

Rations and damaged railroads could make creating a quilt difficult for a quiltmaker. Plus, you have to think about what the quilts were being used for. A quilt that was designed to raise money is going to be a little more pristine. However, when you are designing quilts for soldiers you aren't going to want a color that necessarily stands out.

Here are some general tips that can be followed for Civil War quilt patterns or other types of patterns you use:

  • Keep track of the use of primary and secondary colors in your comforter. Primary colors are red, blue and yellow. A combination of primary colors will give a quilter secondary colors of purple, green and orange.
  • Typical colors for a base are black and white. Remember though that black is going to dim the surrounding colors and white is going to brighten them. You can also use black and white for the runner or border.
  • Before you start to sew your patches together to make your Civil War quilt patterns, make sure you wash your fabric. This will be a test run for the fabric to make sure the colors won't bleed and damage other fabrics.

If you are looking to capture this somber mood then you are going to want to use cool colors. The variations of green, blue and purple are cool colors because they create a relaxing atmosphere. There is not much motion in these Civil War quilt patterns with this type of coloring.

For the lovely ladies of the south, they may have used warm colors for the quilts they tried to sell to raise money. The same can be said for the ladies representing the north during the Civil War too. Warm colors are red, orange and yellow. These give a vibrant appearance to a quilt, so it certainly could trigger a happy response.

A man on a gun boat needs something positive in his life and with these types of Civil War quilt patterns, he was able to get just that. If you want to recreate this feeling for a Civil War buff then these patterns would be a great gift.

You can find Civil War quilt patterns online and can take them to your next quilting bee to discuss how to make certain seams and blocks with your fellow quilters. Making Civil War quilt patterns isn't about choosing a side; it's about recreating a moment in history.

While you are sitting around the quilting circle, you will be reliving a moment that so many women and men have shared before you. Relish in it and enjoy your Civil War quilt patterns.