ca. 1865

The Strong National Museum of Play

The Strong National Museum of Play

Sized to fit a doll's bed and complete with cutaway corners for the bedposts, this piece was quilted in 1865 by Mrs. Sarah Lee Crombie for her sister, Emma Lee. Although an adult made this one, small quilts were often pieced by 19th-century children - some as young as two or three years old - as a means of learning to sew. Even some boys learned to sew by piecing quilt blocks. Uneven stitching and practice areas for stitching provide clues about the maker's proficiency. Often it is hard to tell whether an experienced young seamstress or a less-skilled adult sewed a doll quilt. An 1831 book noted, "Little girls often find amusement in making patchwork quilts for the beds of their dolls." While providing a source of entertainment, piecing miniature quilts also introduced children to a crucial household, and social, skill. The practice equipped little girls to make a functional item and to participate in quilting bees, occasions central to the social lives of many women.

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  • Title: Quilt
  • Date Created: ca. 1865
  • Location: USA
  • Type: Hobbies and Crafts
  • Medium: wool thread, cotton, pieced
  • Object ID: 78.2868