On View
Slavery and Freedom Gallery
Slavery and Freedom
Created by
1830s-1840s; repurposed 1890s
cotton fabric and cotton batting
H x W x D (On form): 37 × 24 × 20 in. (94 × 61 × 50.8 cm)
This quilted petticoat may have been made from a repurposed wholecloth bedcover or refashioned from a once larger skirt. The front of the textile is faced with a small-scale printed floral vine design in white, yellow, purple, and red blossoms with green leaves on a light brown ground. The back of the textile is faced with an orange striped cotton. A layer of cotton batting was quilted between the front and back facing fabrics. It was hand quilted with off-white cotton thread in an offset grid pattern with a leafy vine border design. The floral printed fabric was turned and hand stitched to the back fabric as binding. The fabrics and quilted motifs indicate it was probably made in the 1830s or 1840s. The fabric may have been imported from France.
The cut textile is turned under and the edges left raw at the interior waistline of the petticoat and the cotton batting can be seen along these raw edges. A small piece of printed cotton with a small-scale repeating design of purple flowers on a yellow ground is stitched at the interior proper left front waist. A long length of off-white cotton twill tape is attached around the back waist to hold gathers in the petticoat. The twill tape remains loose on the front so that the front of the petticoat has a flat silhouette. The petticoat is closed by tying these loose lengths of twill tape at the front waist.The hem of the petticoat is the original binding of the bedcover and the quilted vine border of the bedcover is turned horizontal around the bottom of the petticoat. The textile was probably repurposed into its current form as a petticoat between the 1870s and 1890s due to the flat front and gathered back waist.
Place used
United States, North and Central America
Slavery and Freedom Objects
Clothing and dress
Reconstruction, U.S. History, 1865-1877
U.S. History, 1865-1921
U.S. History, Civil War, 1861-1865
Credit Line
Collection of the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture, Gift of Aaron and Maureen Robinson and Family
Object number
Restrictions & Rights
No Known Copyright Restrictions
Proper usage is the responsibility of the user.

Cataloging is an ongoing process and we may update this record as we conduct additional research and review. If you have more information about this object, please contact us at NMAAHCDigiTeam@si.edu

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