Whole Cloth Quilts
Cast of Characters
Depression Era Art
Double Exposure
Keeping Us in Stitches
Pieced Quilts
Applique Quilts
Whole Cloth
Activities & Resources
Matter of Style
Making Connections

Cradle Quilt

Red Whole Cloth Quilt


  In the Illinois State Museum's quilt collection, there are a few whole cloth trapunto quilts. A Whole Cloth Quilt is made using one large piece of fabric for the quilt top instead of an arrangement of pieced blocks. 

The pattern is created by lines of quilting stitches. Quilting adds more than stitches to hold the three layers of the quilt together; it adds light and shadow, texture, and dimension. Whole-cloth quilting demands an experienced, skilled quilter. 

The quilter draws the design on the cloth. A pencil is used on light-color cloth. Chalk is used on dark cloth. The quilting stitches should be small and even, to make visually strong lines that form the pattern. The outlined shapes throw a shadow when light shines on the quilt. 

Stitching white threads on a white fabric is called White Work. If a quilter wants to make these outlined shapes show up even more, she stuffs the quilted shapes with extra batting to make them puff out. This is called trapunto

Trapunto was more popular in the nineteenth century than it is today. Here we feature a baby's crib quilt in white and a large bed quilt in the popular shade of red.


Behind the Scenes Art Native Americans Forest Prairie Site Index Home
Contact Us

Copyright© 1999 Illinois State Museum Society