Everything Old is New Again- even in Quilting

Don’t throw the past away

You might need it some rainy day
Dreams can come true again
When everything old is new again

-Peter Allen from “Everything Old is New Again”


These days, every quilting eye is drawn to the bold design of Modern Quilts. What’s so innovative about this genre? Clearly, it isn’t the pattern.

Here are two very old quilts, a classic snowball design, made by Shakers around 1800 and a traditional log cabin design made by Amish in 1871.















Look at the design and coloring. The fabrics very much reflect the clothes of the community that made them. The Shakers wore dower, dark unadorned clothing, a clear reflection on the celibate, pacifist, simple lifestyle believed to pay homage to God.

The common theme among the Amish is plainness. Nothing should call attention to the person. Even today, the Amish wear clothing made from solid fabric, with a good deal of emphasis on black and blue.

Today, the simple, straightforward designs are driving Modern Quilting. But don’t think these modern quilts are reruns. Modern quilters are reinterpreting these traditional designs with modern colors and fabric.

Here is a modern snowball (with a nice how-to if you follow the link) and a modern log cabin. The log cabin is called “Brook’s First Quilt,” you can find the pattern in the library in the Gallery section of the app.

Find this pattern in Quilter's Thread Mobile App

Find this pattern in Quilter’s Thread Mobile App

Found on tammyvasser.typepad.com

Found on tammyvasser.typepad.com


Using current fabrics to make old patterns new has been happening for generations in quilting. For me, the rule is always: whatever I like is the right choice for my quilt. It’s nice, though, to know that my tastes won’t be out of style before the next birthday or wedding gift goes out. In the next few posts, we’ll be looking at the “colors” of the season. These are the colors fabric designers are focusing on and making available in your local quilt shops.  Stay tuned.

Live Well. Quilt Well.

Lisa Berentsen

Founder and President of Quilter’s Thread

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