Patchwork Inspired Patterns by Antique Quilts

Patchwork Inspired Patterns by Antique Quilts

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Learn how to create your own versions of antique quilt designs from a collection of history-rich quilts spanning the late 1800s through the 1930s.
In an all-new two-part Sewing With Nancy series titled, Patchwork Inspired Patterns by Antique Quilts, we unlock the secrets of quilts from yesteryear with guest Julie Hendricksen. Julie and I show antique quilts from her collection and teach you how to construct your own reproduction quilts in part one of Patchwork Inspired Patterns by Antique Quilts. Watch today’s episode online.


The Patchwork Inspired Patterns by Antique Quilts book and DVD are available from Nancy’s Notions.

Snowball Crossing

Let’s begin with the vintage Snowball Crossing quilt design. Alternating light and dark Snowball blocks with tiny corners make this quilt look like it’s pieced from circles, but in fact it’s very easy to assemble.

Now for a variation of the theme, a second Snowball quilt, shown on today’s episode, features a Snowball pattern too. But here, the snowballs are arranged in a 9-patch formation and then set on point with alternate squares cut from shirting fabrics. This is a classic 2-color quilt, yet it uses more than just two fabrics.

Patchwork Patterns Inspired by Antique Quilts - Part One on Sewing With Nancy Zieman

Reproduction Chain

Juile shares her Reproduction Chain quilt on Patchwork Patterns Inspired by Antique Quilts, which is based on a quilt that was made in the 1930s. Julie thought it would be fun to see how it looked in an even older palette of 1890s fabric. The patchwork design is simple to make, and the perfect reason to not let your scraps to go waste!

Patchwork Patterns Inspired by Antique Quilts - Part One on Sewing With Nancy Zieman1930s Checkerboard Charm

Use this 1930s Checkerboard quilt as an inspiration. In part one of Patchwork Inspired Patterns by Antique Quilts, you’ll see the quiltmaker—most likely a saver of every inch of fabric—hand pieced one hundred 1-1/2″ pieces into each 100-patch block. I don’t know about you, but I am in awe of this quilt.

Not to be outdone by a 100-patch quilt, the next quiltmaker, again from the 1930s created another Checkerboard Charm quilt with 289 tiny squares, alternating between prints and muslin. The whole look is tied together with solid-pink sashing.

Birthday Quilt

Julie tells me she spied the most compelling 9-patch quilt on display at a quilt show; the price tag was $25,000! She didn’t buy that quilt but couldn’t stop telling her friends about it. To her surprise, each time she wasn’t in her shop, Julie’s staff cut a 1″ strip from each reproduction fabric they cut for customers, then pieced all 1,024 blocks and honored Julie with what she calls her Birthday Quilt.

Patchwork Patterns Inspired by Antique Quilts - Part One on Sewing With Nancy Zieman

The vintage-inspired quilt featured below—recently pieced and quilted by Susan Petruske of Pleasant Valley Farm Longarm Quilting—features Julie’s Birthday Quilt instructions as seen in part one of Patchwork Inspired Patterns by Antique Quilts!

Patchwork Inspired Patterns by Antique Quilts with Nancy Zieman and Preserving History author, Julie Hendricksen on Sewing With Nancy

Here’s a photo of Susan (right) revealing her vintage-inspired 9-patch quilt—with Julie (left) at the 2016 Quilt Expo!

Patchwork Patterns Inspired by Antique Quilts - Part One on Sewing With Nancy Zieman

Recreate your own vintage 9-patch quilt with help from our friends at Nancy’s Notions. They have a perfect vintage-inspired fabric bundle, Birds of Liberty, to make Julie’s Birthday Quilt above.

Birds of Liberty fabric bundle at Nancy's Notions

Watch Patchwork Patterns Inspired by Antique Quilts on Sewing With Nancy online.

Patchwork Patterns Inspired by Antique Quilts - Part One on Sewing With Nancy Zieman

Share your favorite vintage inspired quilt pattern in the comments for a chance to win a copy of Patchwork Inspired Patterns by Antique Quilts. Thank you to our gift sponsor, Martingale Press/That Patchwork Place.

Nancy Zieman's Giveaway Winner

The random winner of a copy of the Doodle Stitching Book, from Nancy’s Notions, is Susan Berg.

Her comment was: “I always doodle, especially during meetings. I never thought to put doodling and quilting together in this way. Thanks for this idea. I’d love to have the book for more inspiration.”

Half-Square Triangle Scrappy Patchwork Christmas Stocking by Nancy Zieman | Third Annual Stocking Sewing Challenge | Sewing With Nancy

Don’t forget to submit your Christmas Stocking in my Stocking Challenge! The deadline to enter is SATURDAY, December 3, 2016. Click here to see how to enter. Make sure you are subscribed to my enews mailing list so you won’t miss a thing. Sign up here.

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Nancy Zieman The Blog

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66 Comments

  • Joyce
    November 10, 2016

    The log cabin is my favorite antique pattern and then there’s the Irish chain and then…they are all beautiful!

  • Libby
    November 10, 2016

    Several years ago, I was at an estate sale and went through all the quilts there. I finally purchased “trip around the world” and that has been my favorite since. The log cabin comes in a close second!

  • Helen Owen
    November 10, 2016

    Love the snowball design – I will be trying that one!

  • Doris Pedersen
    November 10, 2016

    I love the Birthday Quilt! It is beautiful and I would love to make one like it.

  • Jan C
    November 10, 2016

    I prefer quilts that are not too busy. So the eye can “rest”. So I like quilts with sashing, or, ‘white space’. But, I love the old patterns, like the Irish chain and log cabin,.

  • diane c
    November 10, 2016

    I like them all, but the checkerboard is my favorite

  • BevM
    November 10, 2016

    I love my grandmother’s Old Road to Mexico quilt. It has the smallest triangles and pieces that I have seen in a quilt. She made it all by hand, without using a sewing machine!

  • Pat Bartholomew
    November 10, 2016

    My home was flooded back in August and hopefully I will be back in my sewing room very soon again. I am so excited to see the antique patterns which I remember my aunt and grandmother working on. I have never quilted and cannot wait to attempt these projects while making memories for my children and grandchildren.

  • Kat
    November 10, 2016

    Of all the antique quilt styles out there, I’ve been wanting to try a tile quilt. The style has a homey organic feel to it, kinda like a quilted collage.

  • Linda Thomas
    November 10, 2016

    One of my favorite quilt patterns is the signature block. My grandmother made a lot of quilt tops with this pattern. She left 50 quilt tops stitched by hand to be shared with her family when she pasted away.

  • Brenda
    November 10, 2016

    I love antique quilts. The nine patch and bow tie are my favorites. The first quilt I made was a nine patch. I learned to quilt with my mother and aunts at the quilting bees they would have.

  • Jen in northern Wis
    November 10, 2016

    The 1930’s checkerboard charm with pink sashing, I could see this pattern used as a quilt, or a table runner,. even using other fabrics such as men’s shirting or scraps,. And you could make it any size,. just keep adding.

  • Kim H
    November 10, 2016

    I LOVE the Birthday Quilt. Gotta make that one!

  • s.sisco
    November 10, 2016

    the snowball ninepatch is the first one I have ever seen…may give it a try

  • Beverly
    November 10, 2016

    I have so admired lovely antique quilts displayed in quilt shops and museums for years. Fortunate to work in a local quilt shop, the owner and I do our best to inspire the love of quilting we share in new quilters. The old standards are some of the best “first” quilts for beginners and I love to see their proud smiles when one is completed. This book would be a great gift for any quilter, novice or expert.

    • Joyce
      November 10, 2016

      My 91 year old mother-in-law is working on a hand sewn quilt that her mother started made out of flour sacks. It is 1 1/2″ squares sewn into 9″ blocks (approximately). I offered to finish it on my machine and I thought she was going to bite my head off. She is working diligently on it. She has never quilted anything before and is very proud of this quilt.

  • Marti Morgan
    November 10, 2016

    I am so bad – I don’t know block names – and when I try to remember one I see it under more than one name – I have a fantastic Basket quilt made by my husband’s grandmother, very clean and neat, all by hand. I could never expect to do something like that! But I do love the birthday quilt – need to try that.

  • Debra Iammatteo
    November 10, 2016

    I absolutely love the Birthday Quilt!

  • Kathy B
    November 10, 2016

    There’s so many wonderful antique quilt patterns; they remind me of my grandmother’s quilts! Love them all, especially the Irish Chain and the Birthday Quilt.

  • Anita
    November 10, 2016

    I love my grandmother’s scrappy pineapple quilt top that was made in the early 70’s.

  • Nell
    November 10, 2016

    The patterns and colors of antique quilts are what inspired me to start quilting many years ago—and they still inspire me today. Log Cabin is probably my favorite because it can be set so many ways.

  • Laura
    November 10, 2016

    I love all things vintage, recently discovered
    30″s prints and am working on a Grandma’s Flower
    Garden. Love Julie’s Birthday Quilt!!!

  • Laura
    November 10, 2016

    I love all things vintage. I recently discovered 30″s
    prints. I am currently making a Grandma’s Flower Garden.
    Love the Birthday Quilt!!!

  • BRENDA
    November 10, 2016

    I am very fond of the Tumbling Blocks pattern. It is very versatile I think.

  • DebbieW
    November 10, 2016

    My favorite vintage-inspired quilt patterns have a smaller motif such as the postage stamp chipyard pattern using random, on-hand fabrics with hand-quilting that has become wrinkly and bumpy with age. To me, perfection in a quilt is for displaying on a wall. I prefer a homey, imperfect result.

  • Cindy Breene
    November 10, 2016

    I loved this show! I hope in the second program you will show piecing the blocks together with all those seams! Looks daunting, but I’m sure you have some great tricks up your sleeve! Glue basting, maybe?

  • Lynda A
    November 10, 2016

    My favorite antique pattern is the Irish Chain using 1930’s fabrics. When this pattern is made into a bed quilt, it automatically makes the bedroom become cheerful and happy, giving it a nice farm house cozy feeling.

  • Brenda Ackerman
    November 10, 2016

    The Checker Board Charm is my favorite! Just thinking of the time spent hand sewing all of the small pieces together and remembering what each fabric had been used for as she stitched. Just a beautiful quilt along with each of the others; I would love to own a copy of this book! Thank you for the opportunity.

  • Kathy Renz
    November 10, 2016

    When I was a girl, I had a quilt covered with applique butterflies. When it was worn, I am sorry to say I threw it away. Later, I learned that was a classic 1930’s pattern. Someday I hope to recreate it.
    Of traditional pieced blocks, log cabin is my favorite. It’s easy and so versatile.

  • Starla
    November 10, 2016

    I love the Birthday Quilt. I love the idea of women (past and present) saving scraps of fabric and reusing them, no matter how small they were, to create objects of use and beauty.

  • Susan Spiers
    November 10, 2016

    Love the vintage-inspired nine patch quilt-the straight line quilting is perfect!

  • Jade
    November 10, 2016

    I have a vintage quilt made with snowball blocks alternating with nine patch blocks…so I like both the snowball patterns featured in this book and would love to try one!

  • Judy G.
    November 10, 2016

    The first quilt I ever made was in the Log Cabin design, so I am partial to that pattern. But I also like the Birthday chain quilt you show. And I like any quilt in star patterns. I admit it, I just like quilts!

  • Mary Green
    November 10, 2016

    I made a Grandmothers Garden pp runner

  • Linda
    November 10, 2016

    I love the 1930 quilts. I love your book and new show. I have lots of reproduction fabric that I need to make a quilt with. When I was young I sewed a lot Yo-Yo’s together. I used them to make a vest.

  • Anna Jane Hudock
    November 10, 2016

    I have always loved the Double Wedding Ring pattern.

  • Deborah S
    November 10, 2016

    I love Log Cabin quilts in just about every color combination and setting.

  • Rose Stellflue
    November 10, 2016

    I have made the Birthday Quilt from Preserving History. Mine is done in tan background with black, red, and brown accents. If you would like a picture, please let me know, I’ll be glad to send some. Truly a “Labor of Love”!

  • Donna
    November 10, 2016

    My favorite vintage quilt was a grandma’s flower garden with a green diamond path. I saw it at a bed turning at a quilt show in Port Angeles WA about 10 years ago. When the moderator turned the quilts the folks gasped. It was from the 1930’s and was absolutely pristine. Crazy as it seems I had a lump in my throat and tears in my eyes looking at that quilt. It was absolutely spectacular. The sad part? Maker unknown. How heartbreaking!

  • Sunni
    November 10, 2016

    Shortly before my beloved Gramma passed she showed me a quilt HER Mother had made for her. I never knew it existed. I adored it but not to be greedy did not ask for it. My heart broke. After her death did it go in garage sale? The garbage? I need to make a simple Irish Chain . I wasn’t a quilter then but think it may have been. Colors were soft perhaps faded? What a treasure from Gr Grandma to Grandma to whom or where? I’ll never forget this family loss. I’m sure quilters can understand the grief.

  • Edna M
    November 10, 2016

    My grandmother made me a dutch girl quilt I still have it and love it.

  • Marty
    November 10, 2016

    I am soooo excited to make the “Birthday Quilt” with my own collection of fabric snips I’ve saved over the years; just the pattern I’ve needed and obviously the one for which I’ve been keeping them!

  • Bonnye
    November 10, 2016

    The birthday quilt is beautiful.

  • Dar
    November 10, 2016

    I love any version of the snowball pattern. I have several vintage snowball quilts in my collection. It may be time to try making one!

  • Chris
    November 10, 2016

    I always like a Log Cabin but the Birthday Quilt shown here is wonderful.

  • Cindy
    November 10, 2016

    My favorite vintage quilt is a double wedding ring my grandmother made when she was a young bride, probably around 1905. I have that quilt and treasure the work she put in. It is made from flour sacks on a cream background fabric – everything hand stitched: the piecing and the quilting. It is so beautiful.

  • Zohra S Arastu
    November 10, 2016

    As a kid I remember my grand mother making yo yo’s of all sizes from the scraps of dress fabrics and my aunt would put them together to make bags, bed covers and all kinds of lovely household items. It is my dream to replicate some of her beautiful yo yo projects.

  • Patricia Phaiah
    November 11, 2016

    I love the snowball quilt. I would love to win the book.

  • Rosalind Gutierrez
    November 11, 2016

    A favorite of mine is the Fan quilt pattern as it is timeless and can showcase several fabric colorways.

  • Vicki Forguson Bauer
    November 11, 2016

    The 9-patch “birthday quilt” will be my next project now that I see how it’s created. For some reason, I’ve never seen it so simply before — just 9-patch blocks set on point with plain blocks in-between! Great use for all my beautiful scraps!!!

  • Rosemary
    November 11, 2016

    I love the old log cabin quilts and the lone star.

  • Lillian K
    November 11, 2016

    I really felt drawn to snowball crossing. It took me back in my memory to a quilt made by my great grandmother in the 1930s.

  • Taylor
    November 12, 2016

    When I was a kid I loved the Little House books… Laura described making a dove in the window quilt and I always wondered what it was, until I took up quilting and discovered it again!

  • Ellen
    November 12, 2016

    I was inspired by a red & white Flying Geese quilt I inherited from my great aunt. In my version I used scraps for geese. Happily, I gave the new quilt to my grandmother and I was delighted to see her pleasure in it for many years.

  • Kate
    November 13, 2016

    I have my Grandma’s trip around the world blocks in various stages of piecing, but they are cut from only 1/2″ squares, yes, they finish at 1/4″, I don’t know how I’ll ever get it completed.

  • Karen Payton
    November 13, 2016

    Snow ball crossing is my favorite. You said it was easy but looks complicated, I would love the book so I can find out just how easy it is!

  • Mo L
    November 13, 2016

    Love the birthday quilt.

  • Linda Rupe
    November 14, 2016

    They are all my favorite! The Birthday Quilt is quite nice and the story makes it even more precious.

  • Andrea
    November 15, 2016

    I love the birthday quilt! It’s so lovely.

  • Pat Taylor
    November 16, 2016

    When I first saw Julie’s Birthday quilt in around 2008, it inspired me to create my own which was completed in 2009 when I turned 65. I would love to do a bow tie quilt that features very small blocks also. Julie’s book looks to be right my alley!

  • Pat Taylor
    November 16, 2016

    When I first saw Julie’s Birthday quilt around 2008 it really inspired me to make my own which I completed in 2009 for my 65th birthday. Julie’s new book looks wonderful and full of ideas to create our own antique inspired quilts. Log Cabin quilts are always a favorite of mine especially when the logs are tiny.

  • Ziba fathi
    November 17, 2016

    Hi nancy
    I’m from iran
    Thanks for your kind teaching
    best regards
    Ziba Fathi

  • Barbara h.
    November 17, 2016

    I am trying to finish a 60 year old Lone Star my Grandma started when I was a kid.Quite a challenge as every little block was sewn by hand! Your book may help inspire me.

  • Janet
    November 18, 2016

    I just finished a small quilt using a version of “Jack’s Chain”. I used 75 different small prints to make the blocks. Fell in love with it! The designer Nancy McNally taught a class at the AQS Show in Grand Rapids call “Rock around the Block”. Nancy redesigned the block to make it easier to piece. Very vintage looking!

  • carol thomas
    February 18, 2017

    My favorite vintage pattern is the log cabin – love the history, all the variations in the layouts, and even the modern day log cabins. I like the mini versions as well.

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