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International Quilt Museum

The International Quilt Study Center & Museum (IQSCM) in Lincoln, Nebraska is partnering with American Patchwork & Quilting to share information on quilting traditions around the world.


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Global Perspective: Vannes

Written by Linzee Kull McCray

Think "fabric" and "France" and you probably picture high fashion on Paris runways. But France is also home to a rich quilting tradition, albeit a very different one than in the United States. While many early American quilts were pieced at home from scraps of cottons or wools, French quilts were more likely to be made by professional quilters in workshops from whole cloth or simply pieced silks.

Although a silk quilt might sound exotic, a thriving silk industry in France during the 17th and 18th century made it less expensive to use than other fabrics: it also held dyes well.

The richly colored example at left was stitched in 1850. It even has a very unusual silk batting.

Photo courtesy of International Quilt Study Center, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, 2005.018.0018.