The pattern is one of the most beloved of all vintage quilt patterns. These old quilts can be found many places, but very few new ones are being made. It’s a very labor-intensive blueprint that’s usually pieced and quilted by hand. Grandmother’s Flower Garden quilts evoke memories of the Great Low of the 1930’s. Many of our own grandmothers made i of these lovely quilts using scraps from their rag bags or fleck baskets. A quilt similar this could exist a cheerful reminder of lovely flower gardens and a much needed lift during hard times.

(Grandmother Alexander on the farm)

The design had become very pop during the 1920s and continued to exist a favorite for many years. The hexagon quilt had roots in England as far dorsum every bit the 18th century. Immigrants shortly brought the pattern to America. Hexagon templates for these quilts have been found dating to 1770. Historians believe that this hexagon pattern might be one of the oldest pieced patterns.

The earliest known American-made hexagon quilt is dated 1807, and at that place is an English hexagon quilt dated fifty-fifty earlier. It’southward likely these quilts were made for decades before that since quilts from that era were not often dated and few of the quilts fabricated that early have survived. Nineteenth Century hexagon quilts were known as mosaic quilts, honeycomb quilts, and half-dozen-sided patchwork. The design retained its popularity beyond the decades with the types of material used in its construction changing from chintz to silk to wool to calicoes, first in brown cottons, and then grays, then pastels.

(in a higher place: Flower Garden quilt from my grandmother)

Godey’due south Ladies Volume published the pop hexagon pattern in 1835. This is thought to exist the starting time pieced quilt pattern published in America; yet, the design had been very popular in England prior to that. The organisation of the hexagons changed over the years. One-patch quilts were fabricated of hexagon patches sewn together without any attempt at colour arrangement. But these six-sided patches invited experimentation by women who wanted more than colour and design in their creations. Even the oldest tattered remnants of hexagon quilts show attempts at sorting and arranging colors. In time, more or less elaborate mosaic patterns resulted.

By the 20th century, hexagon quilts were usually made in the Grandmother’southward Flower Garden design. These contained a eye hexagon surrounded past six colorful printed or solid hexagons with another row of 12 hexagons around that. The centers were sometimes yellow to correspond the center of a flower. Between each flower was a row of solid-colored hexagons representing the background. A green background suggested a garden while white was idea to stand for a picket contend.


During the 19th century, hexagon quilts were made using the English newspaper piecing method. With this method, a hexagon template had to be cutting out of paper or light paper-thin for each hexagon patch. If the quilt maker was very careful after she finished sewing them together, she might be able to reuse some of the hexagon templates. Other quilters left the templates in with the quilts giving us the opportunity to appointment those quilts from the pieces of newspaper left in them.

Mosaic paper piecing was washed using other shapes as well, including triangles, diamonds and but about any shape that would fit together. These quilts are also chosen one-patch quilts since at that place was simply one shape used throughout the quilt. Once the templates are prepared, a piece of material had to exist cut so that there was about ¼ inch showing all effectually the template. The extending fabric was then folded over the template and basted down. Finally, each of the hexagon pieces was whip-stitched together from the back side. The resulting stitches were smaller and tighter than a quilt made with running stitches. The hexagons used in the 19th Century were usually smaller than those used for later on Grandmother’southward Flower Garden quilts. Some of them were fabricated upward of hexagons as minor as one inch or even a half-inch across.

(photo courtesy Tune Rose)

During the first decades of the 20th Century, nearly quilt makers aspired to complete at to the lowest degree ane Grandmother’s Flower Garden quilt. These quilts may have been fabricated upwards of slightly larger hexagons and were more often sewn together with a running stitch. Finishing ane was withal a major accomplishment. Add to that the fact that the binding oft followed the lines of the hexagon resulting in interesting merely more hard bindings. Grandmother’south Blossom Garden quilts were often quilted most ¼ inch on each side of the seam lines. The quilting was commonly all done with white or off-white thread. Although using hexagons and other mosaics in quilts today is uncommon, some quilt artists are notwithstanding making mosaic quilts using traditional English paper piecing. The results can be truly stunning.

There’s a friendly, talented group of quilters and seamstresses here on Dave’southward Garden. You can detect their informative forum here.

(credits:; Judy Anne Breneman;;