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]

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]

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]

Sense & Sensibility Patterns

Sense & Sensibility Patterns

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    

Beautiful Vintage 1930's Grandmother's Fan Handmade Yellow Cotton Quilt Vintage Cotton Grandmothers Garden Hand Quilted Quilt Full 71 By 84Vintage Cotton Block Square Triangle Hand Quilted Quilt Full 71 By 74Vintage Cotton Quilt With Cotton Batting Hand Quilted Full 69 By 80Vintage Hand Stitched 4 Pt Star Quilt Top Feed Sack Material ? 53"x78" Double ?Vintage Cotton Quilt Hand Quilted Cotton Batting 73 By 91 FullNice Vintage Handmade Quilt Top Blue & White Block Square 72" X 81"Beautiful Vintage Handmade Cotton Quilt Top - 72" X 101" - Star Pattern1920s Vtg Chic Hand Made Cut Piece Stitch Flower Garden Shabby Cottage QuiltQuilt Vintage Snowball Bowtie Hand Sewn Quilted Yellow Print Gorgeous Shabby Chic Antique Patchwork Quilt, Glamping, Picnic, Throw, CoverCharming Vintage Handmade Floral Quilt All Tight Hand StitchingVintage/antique~charming Alabama Quilt Top~feed Sack, 30 Signatures, Excellent Vintage Single Size Cotton Feather Filled Eiderdown Quilt Green/red Paisley.Beautiful Handmade Vintage Quilt Cotton Flower Pinwheel Hand QuiltedBeautiful Handmade Vintage Quilt Cotton Flower Pinwheel Hand QuiltedStriking Vintage Hand Set Feed Sack Wedding Ring Quilt Top, Novelty Prints; FullPretty Antique~vintage Whole Cloth Hand Quilted Durham~welsh Quilt ~ Pale PinkVintage Half Square Triangles Cotton Quilt With Cotton Batting Full 73 By 80Antique Vintage Grandmother's Flower Garden Quilt 88 X 100Marvelous Vintage Handmade Pine Burr Quilt 76” X 98” Colorful Prairie Points Impressive Vintage Hand Set & Quilted All Cotton Carpenter's Wheel Quilt; Queen Colorful Vintage Handmade Large Scrappy Squares Quilt 70” X 80” Fine Vintage Irish Chain Cotton Basketweave Serene Blue Country Cutter Quilt NrVintage Handmade Hand Appliqued Sunflower Quilt 74” 86” Yellow & Brown Vintage 1930's Feed Sack- Old Cottons 8 Point Stars Design Quilt Top - Pink BaseVintage Handmade Grandmother's Flower Garden Quilt Top 84” X 86” Beautiful! 1880s Indigo Blue & White Stars Antique Table Quilt Runner 33"Vintage Hand Sewn Feed Sack Postage Stamp 25 Patch Quilt Top, Lots Of Novelty !Vintage Art Deco Cottage Tinted Vogart Style Bedspread Or Quilt Top - To FinishBeautiful Vintage Hand Pieced Quilt Top~ Polka Dots~florals~red Accents~70"x70"Vintage Hand Sewn Feed Sack Applique Butterfly Quilt Top, Needs Lots Of Tlc !Early Album! C 1850s Whig Rose Applique Quilt Top Pc 30" X 32"Vintage Blue Tumbling Blocks Quilt Top 84" X 74" Cutter?Antique Primitive Applique And Pieced Star & Block Quilt Top Early Fabrics AafaVintage Patchwork Blocks Quilt Top Pink Sashing Shirting Indigo 1890 To 1910 EraGrapics C 1930s Medallion Diamond Feedsacks Vintage Quilt Top Pc 24" X 24 1/2"26 Hand Sewn Cotton Quilt Blocks Sampler: Flower Garden, Butterfly, Fish, Star ~back In Time Textiles~quilt Top Pcs Library Of Pre Civil War Era Fabrics 1830Antique C1880 Carpenters' Star Quilt Block Indigo Blue 16 1/2" Make PillowExcellent Antique C1880 Carpenters Star Quilt Block Paper Label 16"11 1940's Rose Wreath Applique Quilt Blocks, Extra Squares Of MuslinVintage Quilt Blocks Vintage Periwinkle Quilt Blocks, 20's-30's Era Feedsack Moprimitivepast 22 Vintage 1930 Feedsack Fabric 8 Star Quilt Blocks Lot GreensFolk Art! C 1930s Pa Dutch Tulips Bird Table Vintage Quilt AppliqueMuseum Find C 1860s Princess Feather Applique Antique Crib Quilt Top BirdsShoezeum Vintage Original Og Nike Quilt 49 90s T Shirts Steve Prefontaine OregonVintage Amish Quilt Hand Appliqued And Machine Pieced Hearts & Wreath Circa 1990Rich Color! Antique Turkey Red & Cheddar Quilt 80" X 58"Antique Eagle & Star Applique Red & Green Cotton Quilt Family Estate Americana1890 1900 Turkey Red Quilt Whirling Log Friendship Swastika RugVintage Antique Grandmothers Fan Quilt Top Cotton 86x93 1940's DocumentedVintage Quilt Hand Appliqued And Hand Quilted Baskets & HeartsAwesome Vintage Ocean Wave Pattern Quilt W/feed Sack Fabrics #j46Vintage Handmade Quilt Log Cabin - Barn Raising 110 X 94Only One! Antique Hearts 1860s Indigo Blue & White Applique Table Quilt RunnerVintage All Cotton Hand Quilted Gee's Bend Style Hourglass, Pinwheel Thick QuiltVintage Handmade Double Wedding Ring Quilt 74” X 76” Antique Hand Stitched Grandmothers Garden Quilt *