Polyester Double Knit Bow Tie

By: Gail Van Horsen
Sequim, Washington

This double knit polyester Bow Tie quilt is fairly common to quilts of its time. Double knit polyester was available in abundance beginning in the middle of the 1960s and virtually disappeared by the end of the 1970s. The quilt is a fairly simple design, quilting is minimal, batting used is polyester, and the backing appears to be a cotton sheet. All four of these features are common in quilts made during this time period.

I was determined to choose a quilt from my polyester double knit collection and very few of them meet the solid color criteria. I have always enjoyed the simplicity of this quilt and the vibrant colors. When purchased, the inspiration quilt was one of three using the same fabric and by the same maker. I admired the work that went into those three pieces. I have a personal theory that quilters just had to quilt, even when the fabric selection was not ideal. The vast majority of polyester double knit quilts I have studied are hand pieced and hand quilted, the reason for which I may have discovered when making my study quilt.

I have completed double knit polyester quilts by hand piecing before, but felt machine work would be time saving. It was not, and I gave up trying. I also had to give up the idea of pressing a sharp edge, although I tried several techniques including using paper over the seams and between the seam and the fabric to prevent both scorching and pressing marks on the top of the fabric. I have a much higher respect for the women who were inspired by polyester double knit and made these quilts for their families.