By: Virginia Gunn
This study identifies and interprets a category of quilts made largely from the gingham and chambray fabrics used for functional everyday clothing in the early twentieth century. These simple quilts have been overlooked because of the focus on the more popular Colonial Revival quilts that flourished at the same time. An in-depth analysis of primary sources, including magazines, catalogs, photographs, quilts, and contemporary industry literature, offers insights into these quilts and fabrics. The research reveals that the quilts reflected the prevailing philosophy of the American Arts and Crafts Movement. They also reflected the increasing influence that arbiters of taste and fashion had on women’s fabric choices in the opening years of the century. The quilts provide evidence of a short transition when the use of calico waned and when it would eventually be replaced by the vat-dyed colorfast cotton prints that became available after World War I.