1840 - 1860 "Rail Fence" Pieced Bedcover

A variety of fabrics from the mid-19th century were used for the 6 ½-inch pieced blocks in the “Double Cross” or “Mosaic” pattern. The blocks are set diagonally in strips with white triangles. The bedcover (no filling, no quilting) consists of these strips, joined to create a "Rail Fence" of “Zig-Zag” effect. Fabrics consist of roller-printed florals and geometrics; woven stripes, checks, plaids; and two glazed furnishing fabrics. The lining consists of three lengths of floral motif roller-printed plain-woven cotton. Most piecing on the front is done in an overcast stitch. Later fabrics (c. 1860) are pieced with a running stitch. The two layers of the bedcover are bound on the edges with a 5/8-inch (finished) straight strip of roller-printed floral cotton (one of the fabrics used for the lining), seamed to the front, whipped to the lining. The many examples of fabric design and an eye-catching arrangement of the blocks create interest on this mid-century bedcover.
Currently not on view
Object Name
date made
Physical Description
fabric, cotton (overall material)
thread, cotton and silk (overall material)
overall: 93 in x 72 in; 236 cm x 183 cm
place made
United States
ID Number
catalog number
accession number
Domestic Furnishings
See more items in
Home and Community Life: Textiles
Data Source
National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center
Additional Media

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