An American Beauty

By: Sandy Sutton
Huntington Beach, California

In about 1908, Marie Webster sent her finished Rose or Pink Rose Quilt to the offices of the Ladies Home Journal in the hopes of getting it published. It was her original design based on the traditional Rose of Sharon block from the nineteenth-century. She had modernized the pattern by setting the roses with a curved trellis and an interesting swag border.

The quilt was not published until 1911, after Marie had designed two other quilts – Wind Blown Tulips and Snowflake. They were all published together in the January 1911 issue of the magazine. She later renamed her Rose quilt in the 1920s after a popular hybrid rose named American Beauty Rose.

This publication revolutionized the quilting world. Marie introduced designs executed in pastel shades of solid colored fabrics that would become the signature palette of the 1920’s and 30’s. Her designs appeared in the Ladies Home Journal, and she was asked to write articles about quilts. After many requests for her quilt patterns, she published a catalog entitled The New Patchwork Patterns. She founded her own business, The Practical Patchwork Company, in 1921. Besides patterns, the company also sold partially completed quilts.

The inspiration quilt is a well-loved quilt in my own collection. To make the study quilt, I reduced the pattern from the book Marie Webster’s Garden of Quilts by Rosalind Webster Perry and Marty Frolli by 50%. I also have the original pattern that I believe was printed and sold in the 1930s and 40s. I used the color scheme and quilting patterns from the inspiration quilt.

Because of their wonderful designs and the use of fabrics with a solid palette, Marie Webster quilts are timeless in their appeal and beauty.