"More Beautiful Than Any Other": Quilts from the OSV Collection, 1790-1850
Quilting was not only used to create bed coverings, but was also an elegant and practical way to create warm and attractive garments. In fact, early diarists referred to quilted petticoats as "quilts" and used the term "bed quilt" to refer to a full size quilt. Quilting can be found on many 18th and 19th century garments; from coats and cloaks to bonnets and petticoats. It appears in the linings of men's tailcoats and even on dressing gowns and slippers.
Quilted garments were made of wool, cotton or silk. Silk made a particularly elegant choice as it was stylish and warm, but lighter weight than wool. Sometimes a garment was wadded or padded to create warmth and shape, rather than being fully quilted. Quilting the bottom of a petticoat also helped to shape and support a lady's skirts.