I have quite a few customers who make quilts using reproduction fabrics from the 1800s. They spend a great deal of time and energy making sure they have chosen just the right fabrics and colors for the different time periods in the 19th Century. Just as fabric, quilt construction and colors are different in the various periods of the 19th Century, so are quilting patterns. I have been researching the different quilt designs used and have been keeping a database. I look through many quilt history books that I own as well as magazine articles I have collected over the years. I visit museums specifically to study the quilt designs. I feel if my customers have spent so much time making faithful reproductions, then I should honor that and try to quilt a pattern that would be appropriate to that quilt if my customers desire me to do so.
Most of the quilts in the 19th Century were hand quilted. Reproducing hand quilting designs on a longarm machine can be tricky. Some designs that are easy to hand quilt, are tedious and very slow on a longarm machine. Hand quilters can pass the needle under the fabric to move to a different spot, but longarm quilters have to stop and start to perform a similar move. Some hand quilting designs can make a quilt very stiff when done on a longarm because there is more thread used to longarm quilt and therefore the design needs to be modified. For example, a quarter inch crosshatch design might be appropriate for an early 19th Century quilt, but done on a longarm the quilt would be very stiff. A one inch crosshatch might be a better choice. These are the types of issues we would talk over before quilting a reproduction quilt. Enjoy the photos below!