Whole Cloth, Blue Resist

June, 2008

Whole Cloth, Blue Resist

Maker unknown

Circa 1790-1830
Made in the United States
Ardis and Robert James Collection, 1997.007.0914

This whole cloth quilt features one of the rarest and most unusual methods that dyers experimented with to achieve the color blue. The resist method exemplifies in the floral pattern of the late 18th-Century quilt is a complicated technique. It involves first covering all areas of the fabric that were to remain white with a resist paste. The fabric was dipped into an indigo dyebath. A second application of resist medium was applied to areas that were to remain a pale blue and the textile was dipped again to create a darker contrasting blue in the floral design.

The quilt is one of only a handful of surviving pieces that incorporates this dyeing technique.