Quiltmaking and patchwork have been popular pastimes in the U.S. since the 1700s, and today quilts are highly collectible as works of folk art with historical significance (or just nice to look at). Antique quilts vary widely in design and materials, and can be hard to date definitively because they may have been assembled in phases from older quilts or blocks.

Made from a variety of materials, from elaborate fabrics to scraps of old clothing and sometimes even old feedsacks, quilts have both a functional and social significance. Groups of women often gathered to create quilts together, and the finished result was sometimes given as a gift for a special occasion (like a wedding) or as a symbol of friendship. Quilts can also document a family’s history as the pieces sewn together can come from baby blankets, old clothes, etc.

Antique quilts are typically categorized by style (broad classification) and pattern (of the individual blocks). Some notable styles include central motif, log cabin, album, circular, star, patriotic, thematic, representational, whole-cloth, charm, utility, signature, medallion, redwork, appliqué small block, applique 4-block, strippey, Colonial Revival, Amish and crazy quilts, among others.

Some notable patterns (of individual blocks) include Sunbonnet Sue, fan, log cabin, Rose of Sharon, 9-patch, Lone Star, Whig’s Defeat, Pot and Flowers, hole in the barn door, bowtie, and so on. There are some situations when the pattern (block) name was also used as the style name (this was common in the 20th century), such as Sunbonnet Sue, Grandmother’s Flower Garden, Dresden Plate and Double Wedding Ring.


Best of the Web (“Hall of Fame”)

The Quilt Index

The Quilt Index

This collaborative project provides a visual index of almost 2,000 antique quilts across multiple museums and colle… [read review or visit site]

International Quilt Study Center

International Quilt Study Center

This University of Nebraska-Lincoln affiliated site showcases a spectacular collection of more than 3,500 quilts fr… [read review or visit site]

LACMA Luxury Textiles

LACMA Luxury Textiles

Textile collectors shouldn't miss this microsite from the LA County Museum of Art, a great reference on European an… [read review or visit site]

Sewing Machine Collector

Sewing Machine Collector

Geoff and Norma Dickens' reference site on vintage toy sewing machines from the late 1800s. Browse the images alpha… [read review or visit site]

American Folk Art Museum

American Folk Art Museum

The American Folk Art Museum's website showcases current and past exhibitions along with their permanent collection… [read review or visit site]

Sensibility Vintage Images

Sensibility Vintage Images

An extensive collection of photos and ephemera illustrating changing fashion styles from 1795 to 1959. Includes por… [read review or visit site]

Anonymous Works

Anonymous Works

This blog combines American primitive folk art, vintage vernacular photography, outsider art, and other interesting… [read review or visit site]

The Outsider Art Pages

The Outsider Art Pages

A modern look at folk and outsider art with a focus on what people are doing to keep these traditions alive. The si… [read review or visit site]

Folk Art in Bottles

Folk Art in Bottles

Whether you call them Bottle Whimseys, Whimsey Bottles, Puzzle Bottles, or Whimsies, this site showcases great folk… [read review or visit site]

Index of American Design

Index of American Design

The Index of American Design project (1935-1942) was an effort to catalog American decorative arts objects from the… [read review or visit site]

Stoveburner.com

Stoveburner.com

A stunning collection of 162 images of stoveburners, those corroded cast iron elements that power stoves, broilers,… [read review or visit site]



Clubs & Associations

Other Great Reference Sites

Most watched eBay auctions    

Antique/vintage Handstitched Feedsack Postage Stamp Irish Chain Coverlet QuiltVintage Feedsack Flower Garden Quilt Handmade 66'' W X 80'' LRare Antique Historical S A R 1897 Navy Quilt 14-16 Spi Tea Stain Muslin BackingEarly Antique Quilt Calico Fabric Rare Blue & White Star Textile Aafa CutterVtg Quilt Top Strip Star PatternVintage Handmade Patchwork Jacobs Ladder Quilt 76” X 78” All Over HandquiltedAntique Vintage Handmade Patchwork Quilt W/ Dust Ruffle 74" X 50"Vtg Strip Quilt Top Vintage Grandmothers Fan Variation Quilt 78" X 67" Hand Quilted Great Older FabrVintage Grandma's Flower Garden Coverlet Or Child's Quilt36 Vintage Embroidered Sunbonnet Sue Quilt Blocks Feedsack 10" X 10" Hand StitchBeautiful Handquilted & Appliqued Floral W Half Diamonds 76" X 78" Cotton QuiltMint Antique Vintage Ocean Waves Quilt Red Navy Polka Dots Wreaths ExpertAntique Redwork Quilt Top - Child /crib Size New England Barn Find - Lovely!!Vintage Patchwork Quilt - Double Wedding Ring - Great ColorAntique Hand Made Quilt Calico Fabric Blue & White Textile Aafa CutterVintage Patchwork Quilt Top - Rainbow Of Colors - Unusual DesignVintage Hand & Machine Sewn Basket Quilt Green Gold Red Peach 93 X 89Lot Of 12 Antique Quilt Top Blocks Squares Star Pattern Green Red White 14"x 14"Antique Hand Pieced Quilt Top 62 X 79” Vtg. Double Irish Chain Postage Stamp Feedsack Quilt - Approx 76" X 78"- RestoreAntique Victorian Silk Crazy Handstitched Quilt Blocks Turkey Track Stitching Old Antique Hand Made All Calico Fabric Quilt Textile Aafa RareVintage/antique Quilt BlocksVintage Bowtie Quilt Top 90" X 76" ~ 120 Blocks W/ 480 Bowties! ~ Great FabricsVintage Hand Pieced Hand Quilted Wedding Ring Quilt 1940' 86" X 78"Stocking From 1880s Crazy Quilt~embroidered Flowers~house With Smoking Chimney~Mint Antique Hot Pink Navy Gray Brown Pa Red Nine Patch Quilt 12-14spiBasket Quilt Top 84x61 Muslin Vintage Antique Hand StitchedAntique Rail Fence Patchwork 1800's Mourners Blue Black Purple Cottons QuiltEstate Vintage Hand Sewn Quilt Top Patchwork 23"x 90" Purples UnfinishedGorgeous Antique Hawaiian Quilt Red & White Flora 79x79" Graphic BeautyLate 1800's Hand-pieced 8-point Star Quilt - Cutter For CraftsVintage Eight-pointed Star Of Bethlehem Hand-stitched Quilt, 83" X 87"Small Vintage Hand Sewn Feed Sack Cotton Flower Garden Quilt Top, Needs Tlc !Vintage Hand Sewn Red And White Cross QuiltVintage Handmade Diamond Pattern Quilt Top~all Cotton Excellent Condition-83"x70Amazing Vintage Antique Patchwork Quilt Top-72x83-cotton-vintage Fabrics1920's Unfinished QuiltVintage Handmade Quilt-dresden Plate-hand Quilted Antique Grandmother's Flower Garden Cutter Quilt All Hand Done Cotton FabricVintage, Truly Old, Hand Sewn All Cotton Basket Quilt, Well Washed, 82" X 61"1930's Unused "dresden Plate" Quilt 16 Pieced Plates Vintage/antique FabricAntique Patchwork Quilt. Early, Churn Dash, White And Red Solids, Hand QuiltedCharming Vintage Cross Stitch Quilt Hand Embroidered Blue & White Hand QuiltedMint Antique Stunning Patriotic Pickle Dish Wedding Ring Stripes Quilt 16-18spiMint Red Multi Antique Vintage 1930 Cottons Japanese Fans Quilt Display SleeveVintage Full Feedsack Fabric Quilt Flower Pink Red Purple White Turquoise FlourPastel Multicolored Grandmothers Flower Garden Hand Sewn Quilt TopVintage Quilt Top Red White And Blue 9 Patch Quilt Top 69 X58 Machine SewnVintage Antique Grandmother's Flower Garden Cutter Quilt All Hand Done Vintage Quilt Top With Feed Sack FabricVtg Quilt Top Vtg 30s 40s Antique Hand Sewn Yo Yo Pinwheel Quilt Patchwork Blanket QueenMint Yellow Antique Stunning 1930 Cottons Nosegay Ice Cream Flower Bouquet QuiltVintage Hexagon Quilt 72 X 60Vintage Wedding Ring Quilt Top #2 Unwashed Unused A+ From PaAntique Redwork QuiltVintage Patchwork Quilt -flower Garden - Great ColorsAntique Flower Garden Cutter Quilt Feedsack Calico Pretty Cottage Pastels Nice!