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Beverley Bennett sewing on sleeves for the quilts (TRC October 2018).Beverley Bennett sewing on sleeves for the quilts (TRC October 2018).Beverley Bennett, a TRC volunteer, reports on her work with the American quilts recently donated to the TRC (Monday, 8th October 2018):

Sherry’s American Quilts is the current exhibition at the TRC and I have taken on the task of making ‘hanging sleeves’ for some of the quilts. Why is this necessary? Well, quilts were made for beds – mostly for the warmth that the three layers (top, bottom and some form of ‘padding’) provided. However, they soon became decorative objects in their own right.

Striving to be the best at making quilts led to competitions at County and State Fairs, where quilters would show their work and compete for first place and a blue ribbon – later there were larger quilt contests where cash prizes could be won. Today there are huge Quilt Shows with prizes for every category that you can think of.

Of course, it is much more practical to compare quilts when you can view them in a vertical format and therefore it is necessary to hang the quilts in some way. Early photos of quilts show them being pinned or pegged along the top edge. This may be fine for a short period, but obviously, the dreaded effects of gravity would soon come into play, causing damage to the fabric of the quilt.

So, now, the accepted way of displaying a quilt on a wall for display, whether in the home or at a show is to incorporate a ‘sleeve’ – a tube of fabric attached to the back of the quilt, through which a hanging pole can be inserted and suspended without damaging the front of the quilt. In modern quilts, the sleeve can be incorporated with the bound edge of the quilt, thus supporting all three layers. However, with the TRC’s vintage quilts, I am adding the sleeve to the back by stitching through all the layers as inconspicuously as possible, in order to give plenty of support, especially since some of the very old battings (paddings) are not as stable as those in use today.

It is a slow process, but it will enable the quilts to be hung safely in future exhibitions.

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Hogewoerd 164
2311 HW Leiden.
Tel. +31 (0)71 5134144 /
+31 (0)6 28830428  

The TRC is open again from Tuesday, 2nd June, but by appointment only.

Bank account number:
NL39 INGB 0002 9823 59,
Stichting Textile Research Centre

TRC Gallery exhibition:
5 Febr. -27 August 2020: American Quilts

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The TRC is dependent on project support and individual donations. All of our work is being carried out by volunteers. To support the TRC activities, we therefore welcome your financial assistance: donations can be transferred to bank account number NL39 INGB 000 298 2359, in the name of the Stichting Textile Research Centre.
Since the TRC is officially recognised as a non-profit making cultural institution (ANBI), donations are tax deductible for 125% for individuals, and 150% for commercial companies. For more information, click here
Financial donations to the TRC can also be made via Paypal: