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Quilt, Reversable, made from Work Clothes

Origin: America, Alabama, Wilcox County
Overall: 85 x 65 1/2in.
Cotton, synthetics
Museum Purchase, Dr. and Mrs. T. Marshall Hahn, Jr. Fund
Acc. No. 2013.609.2
Rectangular double-sided pieced bedcover made from work clothes with several pieces of synthetic women's garments. The two sides are held together with running stitches without batting.
Label:Double-Sided Work-Clothes Quilt
Susana Allen Hunter (1912–2005)
Wilcox or Dallas County, Alabama, 1960–1970
Cotton, wool, synthetics
2–4 running stitches per inch
85 x 65 1/2 in. (216 x 166 cm)
Museum Purchase, Dr. and Mrs. T. Marshall Hahn Jr. Fund, 2013.609.2
One side of this sturdy quilt consists primarily of khaki pants and denim work clothes, reversing to a variety of colors and textiles, including khaki, denim, printed cottons, and solid-brown and pink-red textiles. Susana Hunter went to some trouble to prepare the clothing for her quilt by taking out seams and hems and removing the pockets to reveal the less-faded denim underneath. Although it is not clear whether the unfaded pocket areas were accidentally positioned or deliberate, their placement adds a lively sense of rhythm to the utilitarian fabrics on the plainer side of the quilt. An unexpected choice for a work-clothes quilt is the inclusion of small patches of white synthetic taffeta dress or lining material. The quilt maker’s use of bleached denim for the more brightly colored side of the quilt seems to blend with the cotton printed with irregular stripes in two different colorways of blue with yellow and orange with brown.
The quilt was made not as separate front and back joined around the edges but rather as a unified whole, with many of the pieces folded over at the edges to continue on the opposite side. Although running stitches hold the textiles together, there is no filling or batting.
Provenance:Purchased from the quiltmaker's grandson and his wife, 2013.