Textiles - Overview
The 50,000 objects in the textile collections fall into two main categories: raw fibers, yarns, and fabrics, and machines, tools, and other textile technology. Shawls, coverlets, samplers, laces, linens, synthetics, and other fabrics are part of the first group, along with the 400 quilts in the National Quilt Collection. Some of the Museum's most popular artifacts, such as the Star-Spangled Banner and the gowns of the first ladies, have an obvious textile connection.
The machinery and tools include spinning wheels, sewing machines, thimbles, needlework tools, looms, and an invention that changed the course of American agriculture and society. A model of Eli Whitney's cotton gin, made by the inventor in the early 1800s, shows the workings of a machine that helped make cotton plantations profitable in the South and encouraged the spread of slavery.
"Textiles - Overview" showing 1 items.
- Embroidered in dark brown silk cross-stitches and eye-stitches along the top right edge of the center of this quilt is "M. Campbell 1795." This quilt is a rare dated and signed example of the use of reverse appliqué which is found in the center panel and the eight border motifs. In reverse appliqué, the positions of the pattern and background fabrics are reversed from those of onlaid appliqué. The silhouette of the pattern is cut out of the background fabric, and openings are filled by applying a contrasting fabric from underneath. It was not often used in American quilts. The remainder of the quilt top is of geometric pieced work.
- Block printed cotton fabrics of floral prints, stripes, and small geometrics, mostly on brown or tan grounds, were used for the appliqué and piecework. The lining is linen and the filling cotton. All appliquéd motifs are outline quilted along both the inside and outside edges. The white backgrounds, center border, and printed fabric blocks in the outer border are quilted in a diagonal grid and chevron patterns, seven stitches to the inch. M. Campbell's skillfully worked quilt is a notable example of the reverse appliqué technique.
- Currently not on view
- Date made
- ID Number
- catalog number
- accession number
- Data Source
- National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center