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The Kitty Clark Cole Collection


Tobacco Ribbon
Maker unknown
c.1900
65 1/4" x 66 1/4"
Silk, cotton
MSU Museum Accession 2001:158.8
Photo by Fumio Ichikawa, all rights reserved by MSU Museum

"Cigar Ribbon," "Tobacco Flannel," "Crazy," and "Log Cabin" quilts of this era often share similar construction and design traits, including the use of embroidered silk fabrics set on a fabric foundation, often without batting or quilting. In this example a cotton foundation was used, seams were embellished with embroidery stitches, and no quilting or batting was used. The design used here is similar to a pieced "Log Cabin" or "Pineapple" block.

During the late nineteenth and early twentieth century, novelty fabrics were produced to help promote the sale of tobacco. Cigarette silks and tobacco flannels, offered as premiums with the purchase of tobacco products, were intended as collectables and were printed with images of flowers, portraits of actresses, flags, baseball players, and more. The silk ribbons found in this quilt would have been wrapped around bundles of cigars and carry their brand names. Ribbons are most commonly yellow, but were also produced in other colors, including black, red, and blue. Women's magazines featured instructions for creating pillows or blocks with the ribbons.

By Mary Worrall, excerpted from American Quilts from Michigan State University Museum.

 


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