20 February, 2008

Antique Quilt Making and Sewing Photographs

The Library of Congress is an excellent resource for vintage photographs. A great number of images in the Prints and Photographs Online Catalog are in the public domain. My mom and I recently searched through the collection to find old photos of women sewing or quilting. We downloaded them to our hard drive and, because there were no known rights restrictions on the images we selected, we cropped them, modified them, and uploaded them to Shutterfly to be printed.

We're planning a "quilting" theme for her bathroom, as my mom's a quilter. I'm not sure to what extent we'll take the idea, yet, but to start with we're going to hang photographs spanning from 1890 to approximately 1945 of women, children, and the occasional domesticated male sewing or making quilts. Here are a few of the images we found:

I love this one. It was taken in Chicago right around the time The Box House was built and shows a group of flapper girls demonstrating a new seam ripper. The caption indicated they were models.

This one cracks me up. It's from an old stereoview card and the caption was "A stitch in time." We found a variation of the theme, same caption, with a grandmother sewing a little boy's pants, but I think this one is funnier.

Here is a little girl hand sewing quilt pieces in a pattern called Flying Geese. I was probably her age when my mom taught me how to sew; I made a Flying Geese quilt top some time in college, but like all my quilt projects, it was never finished.

In the tenements, everyone had to work.

This one makes me a little sad; the poor mom looks just so exhausted. Her son on the right looks like he's up to something, and the cat looks plain smug.

All in all, we found about 12 suitable images--way more than can be crammed into the tiny Box House bathrooms, but enough for my mom to swap 'em out when she gets bored.

*Although we've modified these images a tad, feel free to use them on your own Web site if you stumble across this--we'd just appreciate a link back. Click each of the images for a larger view.


Anonymous said...

Great photos. It brings to mind some fun things you can do with the shower curtain, etc!

Joanne said...

Kitliz--We're trying to decide if a quilted shower curtain would look cool or if it would overwhelm the small bathroom. As soon as we get them unpacked, we'll try draping one of her quilts over the shower curtain for a visual.