Wednesday, June 28, 2023

Designs Still Worth Doing: The Art Deco Quilts


In 1928, the McKim Studio offered a catalog, Adventures in Needlecraft.  Among the designs advertised was one that was very unusual in comparison with McKim's other designs.

This pattern was a pattern for adult bedrooms.  The pattern was marketed in the catalog (and later ones like Designs above) with this text:

"One woman said, 'Before I catch the quilt fever, I'll have to see a pattern that's entirely different and stunningly beautiful.'  The Oriental Poppy is the answer, and besides filling those requirements it is really quite simple to make.  The pieced poppy is all straight sewing, the sort that may be run up on the sewing machine, while the bottom half of the block has two leaves and a stem that whips down by hand."

A top from my collection, circa 1930.  How big is that motif?
Pretty big!

I've been asked "is this one of those new modern quilts available today?"  Well it's an old modern quilt...from the first modern quilt period of the 1920s and so Art Deco!

Despite reassurances from McKim that this was an easy pattern to piece, I found it was too difficult for my poor skills.  Also it might have been more challenging because I wanted a small wall hanging and not a big piece.  I ended up doing a paper pieced version.  

It's okay but doesn't have the same impact as the big top from the era.

Also in 1928, Better Homes and Garden offered McKim a position as Home Arts Editor.  Many of her quilt patters were featured in the magazine.  Her feature was called "Adventures in Home Beautifying" and featured a different in the house each month.  She also included a variety of needlework that women could include in their home.

Additional Art Deco patterns were introduced via Better Homes including the Rose, the Iris, the Pansy, and the Tulip:

I have the tulip quilt in my collection, circa 1930:

The question always is:  Are these designs still worth doing?  Well Eleanor Burns certainly thought so, her pattern is slightly different but certainly an homage to McKim's original pattern:

Would you consider making any of these quilts?

Have a safe and happy day!


  1. I love the poppy quilt top. It is so stunning.

  2. The poppy quilt top is powerful, beautiful. I can't imagine what design I would use to quilt it. The tulip quilt is lovely too. What's old is new again.

  3. Yes, I would consider making one of these quilts! I ordered the tulip pattern from McKim Studios!