1812 “Cot to Coffin” Quilt–Progress Report

IMG_6218I’ve finished another stage in my “Cot to Coffin” quilt for the War of 1812 Bicentennial challenge!

The quilt top is complete!

The top consists of three sections—a large panel with embroidery of the Great Seal of the United States, a section with the title of the song, “The Banks of Champlain,” and a bottom section made up of six embroidered verses of the song.

The three sections are bordered with narrow strips of a blue-gray fabric and finished with wider bands of a deep red paisley fabric.

Reproduction fabric

Reproduction fabric

Both fabrics are reproduction fabrics consistent with colors and patterns used in the early 1800s (according to the quilt shop owner anyway!)

My plan, originally, was to render the design of the Great Seal in white-on-white quilting only. As I progressed and made choices about fabrics, I began to doubt that choice. From a distance, the quilt would’ve looked blank on top, with only the panels with the words showing up.

So, I decided to embroider the simple outline of the Great Seal in the same stitch I used on the rest—the most basic embroidery stitch there is, the back stitch. I will fill in the details of the seal design with quilting.

IMG_6256 - Version 2

The faint pencil marks will be quilted

To transfer the design, I got it blown up to the desired size and put the fabric panel over the design and traced it. I did the same with the words to the title of the song.

As I’ve said before, I transferred the verses of the song to fabric using the freezer paper method. I used a font in Microsoft Word called Edwardian Script for all the lettering.


Each verse is embroidered this way

I sewed everything together on my brand-new old Singer Featherweight, which I love beyond measure!

From this point, I need to layer the top with the batting and backing fabric and baste them together. Then I will get started on the quilting, which I’ll do by hand—I’m not sure yet what the design will be.

This project started when I heard about the challenge at meeting of the quilt guild on January 16. Doing the embroidery and making the top has taken about two months and I have about three months in which to do the quilting, in order to meet the deadline.

It might just happen!


23 thoughts on “1812 “Cot to Coffin” Quilt–Progress Report

  1. This is fascinating. I’m currently reading Tracy Chevalier’s ‘The Last Runaway’ (wonderful novel) and it’s so interesting to see how quilting has been such a seminal part of domestic history in both England and North America over several centuries. Lovely to see this tradition is continuing into the 21st century.

    • I have The Runaway Slave on loan from the library right now (haven’t started it yet but I will!) Thanks for your interest in this quilt–the history, of quilting and of my locale’s part in this war, have really motivated me!

    • The Featherweight arrived at just the right moment! And I had a lot of help with the fabric choices–the quilt shop owner could envision what I wanted far better than I could. Thanks for following along, Susan!

  2. This quilt is going to be FANTASTIC. How lovely! Can you tell me exactly what is a “cot to coffin” quilt? I have never heard of that. Your embroidered wording is beautiful. Thanks.

    • Thanks, but the skills involved here are not that advanced! It’s all pretty straightforward. The hand quilting I’m going to start soon is a somewhat more advanced a skill but mostly just takes practice.

    • I am pretty glad I decided to use the red thread–I’m still a little undone by how the quilting will end up looking in that section but I’m come too far to turn back!

  3. Pingback: “Cot to Coffin” Quilts: A Display of Pride and Passion | Love Those "Hands at Home"

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