Wholecloth Quilts

Six pointed flower motif within circle
Central motif of Welsh quilt

I love wholecloth quilts, which are probably the most typical British style.They have no patchwork or applique, but just rely on the texture created by hand quilting over the entire design.

In looking at wholecloth designs, remember that they were of course designed to be seen on beds, rather than displayed vertically as on most of my photos.
The usual framework consisted of a large central design which would be displayed on the top of the bed, surrounded by one or more borders which would hang down at the side.

Two regions of the United Kingdom have particularly strong traditions of wholecloth quilting; Wales, and the North East of England. The overall style and the motifs used from each region can easily be recognised.

On Welsh quilts, these areas are always divided clearly into sections with straight lines, as on this beautiful Pink and Gold quilt:

Yellow quilt
Welsh wholecloth quilt made as a wedding present in about 1910
Blue wholecloth quilt
Corner of Blue Paisley Welsh quilt


Click here to see the Blue Paisley Welsh wholecloth, another lovely example

Quilted fan motif made of spirals
Fan corner filled with bands of spirals



An older Welsh quilt with plenty of intricate designs is this one made by Q. L Jones

Fourfold fan motif hand-quilted on green Welsh quilt
Central motif on this farmhouse quilt


This Green & Gold Welsh quilt is quite simple in design

Older North Country quilts also used the delineated style, as seen on this quilt given as a wedding present in 1902:
White quilt
Wholecloth quilt made for a Weardale wedding in 1902

However, in the late nineteenth century, a new style developed in the North East, with the design flowing more freely between the centre and the edges.

Pink wholecloth quilt
Wholecloth made by a professional quilter in Durham around 1930


Click to see details of a typical North Country wholecloth quilt; the Yellow Lovers Knot

I am particularly interested in what happens to border quilting designs at the corners. After winning the Amy Emms bursary in 2016, I researched this more, and presented my findings in a display at the annual conference of the Quilters’ Guild, and also in their quarterly magazine.

To find out more about this, click to look at the Border Corner Quilting Designs page
or to download the article,  from The Quilter, Winter 2017, issue 153 click on this link: TheQ_#153_12–14_Amy Emms Bursary.

Click here to see Strippy quilts

Or go back to Antique quilts

Or to My Designs

If you are interested in the heritage of British quilting, then why not look at the extensive collection owned by the Quilters Guild of the British Isles?

For those particularly interested in studying more, the British Quilt Study Group is to be recommended.