Bed Cover with Petticoat Borders

October, 2013

Bed Cover with Petticoat Borders

Maker unknown

Early 19th century from circa 1750 clothing
Probably made in Connecticut
2005.016.0001, Purchase made possible through James Foundation Acquisition Fund

This bed cover is constructed of recycled clothing. The center area was made from a wool broadcloth hooded cloak, cut apart and pieced back together to make a flat rectangle, then embroidered with a variety of trees.

The maker also took apart a quilted petticoat and added it to the sides and foot of the center rectangle. The petticoat went out of style when neoclassical dresses with slim skirts came into vogue about 1800. The motifs and stitching style are related to other petticoats with Connecticut and Rhode Island ties.

The petticoat is embellished with motifs in the border, including insects, birds, a lion, an owl, a sailing ship, a mermaid and a turtle. The border is worked with backstitches, while the grid is worked with running stitches.

This quilt was on display in The Whole Story, guest curated by Linda Baumgarten, curator of costumes & textiles at Colonial Williamsburg. It is paired with a reproduction cloak and quilted petticoat, which illustrate how the garments would have appeared before they were recycled to make this quilt.