What Makes a Quilt Timeless?

The often discussed topic of modern quilts and the variations of this very traditional art form, quilting, got me thinking about my quilts in 50 and 60 years.  What will I think of them? Will they stand the test of time, aesthetically?  It also reminded me to hurry and label the few that I haven’t so far!  I know that they will be loved and cherished long after there are holes in the bindings, and the colors have faded, but is that enough to make them timeless?


So earlier this week I asked “What makes a quilt timeless?” and had some great responses! I want to share a few of the comments, and my thoughts – I hope you will add your own too.

Queenie said – Timeless is akin to classic – trends that become style/design that stands the test of time. A quilt that is well designed, excellently crafted, with pleasing colors/patterns are important elements. A quilt executed with great love and little extremes.

Michelle said – A wonderful design aesthetic makes quilts by strangers timeless, but a quilt made by a loved one is timeless to the owner. Skill and artistic quality notwithstanding, the love in every stitch is what makes it timeless.

Jane said – That’s an interesting question. Timeless can mean so many things….but my thoughts turn to the more traditional patterns, like Amish quilts or two colour quilts with lovely hand quilting. It isn’t to say the more modern ones that are machine quilted won’t be timeless someday, but as the style of them is so new it is hard to say how they will age. That’s my initial thought anyway….

I agree with these ladies.  It’s a tough question to answer, but the underlying truth is a quilt made with love will be used and loved for generations.  It’s also true that trendy prints, and color combos, might be off-putting to some, (now and in 50 years!) but those are the vintage quilts found in estate sales and thrift shops today that we all love and wish to know the maker, and her story.  I also think that some blocks lend themselves to a classic, timeless aesthetic, more than others.  Each new project we start, we are making those decisions, and time will tell!

*In the end, we all need to label our quilts.  This gives future generations a link to you, and the history surrounding your quilt.

I would love to hear more of your thoughts  –


By |2017-02-06T09:18:15-06:00March 15th, 2013|Inspiration, Me, ramblings|5 Comments


  1. Molly March 15, 2013 at 4:57 am - Reply

    I think of that as I’m hand quilting my quilts. I always embroider at least my initials and the year on the back and I wonder if someday someone will wonder about MB and what she was doing in the year 2013. I recently found some old quilts that were literally in tatters and I couldn’t bear to throw them out. I ended up cutting out a few of the better looking parts to save and incorporate into a future project somehow. I hated the thought of all that handwork going into the landfill!

  2. Lisa C March 15, 2013 at 8:15 am - Reply

    I am fortunate to have a quilt some church ladies made when my mother got engaged to my father. It is all from scraps and they hand stitched their names in various squares. It’s now 56 years old. Jane’s comment caused me to wonder about the modern quilts that have so much white on them (as background fabrics). I wonder how that will age in 56 years. While I believe in using quilts (after I put that much effort into them they’d better be used!), I do want them to stay fairly presentable. Maybe it’s good I’m allergic to solids?

  3. Queenie March 15, 2013 at 9:07 am - Reply

    Wow… My musing’s been quoted, thank you…. *blush*
    I think this would be a lovely topic for a master’s thesis for someone in college. Who knows maybe it will be.
    Have a wonderful weekend.
    Always, Queenie

  4. selfsewn March 15, 2013 at 10:05 am - Reply

    Ditto my thoughts exactly, in fact I have just blogged about the importance of labelling for the future!!
    Unbelievably many quilters dont label!!!

  5. Sew Create It - Jane March 15, 2013 at 1:42 pm - Reply

    Well said Selfsewn…Labelling is paramount…it gives any quilt another level of interest and history…I label everything and hope one day my descendants will be proud to own one of my “timeless” quilts :o)

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