Wednesday, June 24, 2015

French Stars

Detail, French Star, Pennsylvania, c. 1870
 Starley Collection
If you have been reading my Quilt History column for the National Quilting Association's (NQA) magazine, Quilting Quarterly, then you already know a bit about the French Star pattern. If you have not been following along, then you are definitely missing out! Each issue of the magazine features "Behind the Block", a quilt history column written by yours truly. I have been writing the column for 2 1/2 years and I am really enjoying learning about quilt patterns and sharing the information with my readers. If you have a favorite block and you would like to know about its history, please tell me. I am always interested in hearing suggestions for future columns.

Detail of 1930s French Star
Starley Collection
Because the French Star block has some difficult piecing with those elliptical pieces between the LeMoyne Star points, it is not a common pattern. It was printed during the quilt revival of the 1930's but still did not become a regularly made block and so I feel lucky to own several examples. The one below was sewn using the Ruby McKim templates/pattern from her 1929 book: 101 Patchwork Patterns. It features different pieces and sewing methods than the red/green quilt.

And here is a my French Star top which is also constructed in a different method than the other 2 examples.
Detail c. 1945 French Star
Starley Collection
These quilts are part of my antique quilt lecture: "Patterns Through Time" which illustrates quilt history and the evolution of quilt patterns. The lecture feature a dozen different quilt patterns with 2 or 3 examples of each pattern - and yes, those are all real antique quilts (not photos). You can get up close and personal with these wonderful historical artifacts. Patterns Through Time is also available as a half day lecture where you can really study and drool over these beauties. I'm available to come to your guild, show, shop, etc. Hope to see you and share my collection with you!

Patterns Through Time


  1. This is an entirely new pattern to me. Fascinating, Sandra!

  2. Beautiful quilt--such an interesting element to add to stars. Color choices are beautiful


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