Wednesday, September 30, 2020

Patchwork Clothing

 Well we all need a break today after last night's debacle--er debate.  How about Patchwork Clothing?

In the 1980s, a lot of my friends were upset that Ralph Lauren used antique quilts to make clothing.  I found this image on Pinterest:

These pieces appear to be made from 19th century quilt.  A lot of my friends in the quilt world were greatly upset by this decision.  There's an article about this on the Ralph Lauren website here.

The V & A museum (sorry that is the Victoria and Albert Museum in the U.K.) has a piece designed by Adolfo from the 1960s that incorporates a 19th century crazy quilt.
I appreciate that the word "cannabalism" is used in the description and you can read that here.

A few years ago, this trend in fashion resurfaced.  Here's a great article you can read.  "Quilts are having a moment in fashion that I wasn't expecting," one textile artist was quoted.  

I have a secret pinterest file and a whole file folder called A New From Old.  I'll be writing about this topic again.  But let's look at clothing.  In the 1930s, as interest in quilting became more popular, incorporating patchwork into fashion became a trend.
From 1930:

Jackets were popular and this American actress showed off her jacket made of suede in 1932:

This trend appears to have been popular with college aged women in 1934:

The difference of course, was that antique quilts weren't cannabalized to make these garments.  Like many quilters still do today, the pieces were sewn and created in the present day.  To simulate an old quilt look for a mass market is nearly impossible unless one is hiring overseas sweatshops--a dishonorable way to manufacture.

Everytime I think of this particular subject I wonder if Frank Baum had a part in this trend.  Frank Baum wrote The Wizard of Oz and invented a character known as The Patchwork Girl.  She appeared in his books in 1913 and I found her particularly terrifying when I was child and read the books:

Come to think of it, this may have been one factor in my lifelong aversion to Halloween.  

Have you ever made quilted or patchwork clothing?  What are your thoughts?  We will catch up with writer's thoughts tomorrow and you can email me at

Have a safe and happy day!


  1. I've made, hmmm, a dozen patchwork jackets. I own all of Judy Murrah's Jacket Jazz books but I've never made one that elaborate. Since the style is sleeker, less padded, now, I don't suppose that I will get jazzy.