The Economy Quilt


One of the books we have consulted for use in practical textile sessions during the Worn Stories project is ‘Needlework Economies: A Book of Making and Mending with Oddments and Scraps.‘ by Flora Klickmann. Many books and pamphlets on this theme were published during and after World War Two so this, from 1919, is an interesting addition to our bookshelf. Our ‘Talking Textiles’ group meets weekly and was particularly taken with Klickmann’s description of an ‘Economy Quilt’, a method that makes use of ‘…every scrap of material that would otherwise be wasted.’ She describes saving any bits from dressmaking, mending and darning and cutting them into snippets, ‘everything comes in useful, even the fragments of darning wool, ravellings and basting threads!’.  Using these snippets to create a substitute for an expensive eiderdown, she suggests that, ‘Any woman who has an elastic family and a non-elastic purse, is glad of one for a gift.’ The quilt is formed of small cloth bags that are stitched together like patchwork with each bag containing a certain amount of saved scraps of fabric.

At the end of each workshop session at Hive and at our community projects we have been gathering our own snippets and clippings. Our groups contain a minimum of 12 participants each session so we are generating quite a collection. Our Talking Textiles participants are beginning to build their own economy quilt, evidencing our zero-waste approach to practical projects. This will be on display at our exhibition in November at Bradford Industrial Museum.

economy quilt
Cotton scrap from a patchwork session, New Start group, Community Works, Undercliffe.