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Antique Quilts

Whether antique quilts were sewn quickly to use up scraps of fabric or meticulously cut and stitched to create geometric works of art, collectors love them for their age and history. Before the invention of the sewing machine in 1846, all quilts were stitched by hand, often by groups of women who gathered regularly to sew and visit with each other. Collectors can still find many of these vintage and antique quilts on eBay.

Identifying styles of antique quilts on eBay

The history of quilting in American colonies dates back to the 17th century, and old quilts usually fall into two broad classifications: style and pattern of the individual squares. Examples of well-loved styles of antique quilts for sale on eBay include log cabin, patriotic, signature, star, medallion and applique. Collectors also value the master craftsmanship of Amish quilts and the resourcefulness and uniqueness of crazy quilts.

What is a crazy quilt?

First made from random pieces of cloth for utilitarian purposes, the Victorian crazy quilt later became a way for quilters to express their creativity in a one-of-a-kind design. "Fancy" crazy quilts were often made from random pieces of brocade, velvet or other textiles and then embroidered with decorative stitches. Made from around 1880 to 1900, they reached their heyday around 1885. Crazy quilts made before 1879 were often stitched with a date to commemorate an event in the family's history.

What fabrics were used in old quilts?

It was not unusual for quilters to use a ragged quilt or old blanket for the batting in a new quilt, and cotton livestock feed sacks sometimes provided a backing. The use of cotton was most common for the squares, but fancier fabrics, such as wool, linen, silk, satin or velvet, were sometimes made into patterned blocks. Authentic quilts contain three textile layers that are stitched, or quilted, together in a pattern.

Vintage Quilts for sale versus antique quilts on eBay

The best way to determine a quilt's age is to have it examined by an antiques appraiser, but collectors can get an idea of its age by looking for a few clues. Was the quilt stitched by hand or machine? What kind of fabric was it made from? Sometimes, the fabric can be dated back to a specific time by the dye, weave or print. Some quilts, for example, used printed feed sacks for backing, and that can provide hints to the era it was made. Certain patterns were also used more often during specific years. Vintage quilts date from around 1930 to 1965 while antique quilts must be at least 100 years old.

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