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Work Clothes Quilt

1930-1950
Origin: America, Kentucky, Elizabethtown
Overall: 84 in. x 69 1/2 in.
Cotton denim (overalls), cotton fertilizer sacks
Museum Purchase, Dr. and Mrs. T. Marshall Hahn, Jr. Fund
Acc. No. 2008.609.9
Rectangular quilt made from pieced indigo cottons taken from the legs and tops of denim overalls and jeans. The pockets of garments have been cut off, leaving less-faded areas. Some bleach stains apparently occurred when the garment was still being worn. Tied quilting. Quilt is backed with fertilizer sacks, with barely visible words turned to the inside of the quilt. Thick cotton batting.
Label:Textiles and the materials for making quilts could be expensive, and thrifty housewives often recycled old clothing and home furnishings. Few quilts exemplify the concept of “making do” better than this practical, sturdy, and warm denim quilt. The thrifty maker cut apart old denim overalls and jeans, removed the pockets to reveal less-faded colors underneath, and reassembled the flattened pieces to make a quilt top. She tied the quilt through heavy cotton batting and backed it with fertilizer sacks with barely legible words turned to the inside of the quilt. Under infrared lighting, the primary words can be deciphered as "Planters Correct Plant Food Special Mix, 3-12-6..." and "[Pla]nters ... Plant Food...Mixture ...10-6..." Although somewhat fragile and ragged, this quilt tells a story of survival, hard work, and frugality.
Provenance:The maker of the quilt is unidentified.
Mark(s):Under infrared light, words on the feedsack backings are visible: "Planters Correct Plant Food Special Mix, 3-12-6..." and "[Pla]nters ... Plant Food...Mixture ...10-6..."