Vintage Cathedral Windows

The Cathedral Windows pattern was very popular in the 1930’s and 40’s. It was a quilt block meant to be sewn by hand, pulling back the four sides of the plain muslin frame of each square to reveal the tiny scrap of vintage fabric in the center, meant to resemble stained glass. Because of the way it was constructed, an inner batting was rarely used, making this type of quilt more of a lightweight coverlet.

My client, Jeff, found this one in an antique store. Or rather, his wife did, and threw out a few Christmas hints about how nice it would be to have the quilt redone with batting to make it warmer so that she could actually use it as a throw. Upon inspection, it appeared that the maker had left a row of blocks unfinished, and that her actual hand-stitching had not held up well over the years. So we agreed that I would remove the partial row (they had plans to frame it as art), and then sandwich the quilt with batting and a muslin back. To “shore up” the original hand-stitching, I quilted the piece along each block’s muslin frame, which made a nice quilting pattern on the back and remained unobtrusive on the front.

What a nice Christmas gift – and an even nicer husband!