Petticoat made from bed quilt
Origin: America, Pennsylvania
OL: 37" front; back: 39 1/2"; circumference: 96 1/4"
Silk satin, wool backing; wool batting, silk sewing thread
Acquired by bargain/sale from Jean H. Case, Sarah H. Nietsch, & Lucia B. Lefferts
Acc. No. 2005-299
Woman's petticoat of blue silk satin quilted to worsted backing using silk thread. Thin wool batting. Design consists of large-scale floral and scroll pattern emanating from a fat two-handled vase, with wide border that turns at sides of garment. The silk satin is 27 1/2" wide, as quilted, indicating Chinese manufacture. Hem and pocket slits finished with silk ribbon showing on fronts about 1/16" and turned to backside. The quilted design indicates that the quilting was originally a bed quilt, later cut and made into a woman's skirt.
Label:Petticoat, made from a Bed Quilt
Chinese silk textile, used in Pennsylvania, 1750-1770
Partial gift of Jean H. Case, Sarah H. Nietsch, and Lucia B. Lefferts
This remarkable artifact has many layers of history. The petticoat actually began as an elegant silk bed quilt with a wide border design of fat vases and scrolling flowers. Satin imported from China forms the face fabric of the bedcover. Sometime in the eighteenth century, perhaps in the succeeding generation, the bed quilt was cut down and the bottom third used to make a petticoat. Only the front of the petticoat would have been visible because the gown's overskirt would have camouflaged the sides and back where evidence of the original quilt's design remained.
The quilting design of this petticoat closely resembles bed quilts and petticoats made in the Philadelphia Quaker community. This petticoat probably descended in the family of the Quaker Fox family, particularly Joseph Mickle Fox.
Silk satin face fabric
Wool fiber filling
Worsted wool plain-woven backing, glazed
11 to 12 silk running stitches per inch
Provenance:Originally said to have descended in the Virginia Beverley family. Later research confirmed that the object came from the family of Joseph Mickel Fox, a Philadelphia Quaker.