How to make an American folk patchwork wall hanging (1976)

American folk patchwork wall hanging

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Stitch a folk-fest patchwork

Celebrate by setting a table with an “America, hurrah” feeling.

For a contemporary patchwork look, update traditional designs by making them big, bold and bright. The work will go faster by enlarging the design and using machine applique.

To get a puffy, quilted look, add layers of polyester fiberfill and hang on artist’s stretcher bars. The squares can be used in a variety of ways: pillows, place mats, an apron bib, or as pockets on a skirt or dress.

Americana patchwork patterns from the 1970s (1)

By multiplying the squares, you can have a crazy-quilt bedspread. Or be really adventurous and try the designs that border this page. They have delightful names like “Mrs Cleveland’s Tulip” and “Goose In The Pond.”

Table Talk: Go the paper route with place mats and napkins (opposite) designed by Gail Levites for Paperworks. The pewter-look tableware is by Liberty Craft, the stainless by Supreme Cutlery. – Pat Sadowsky

ALSO SEE: 112+ beautiful vintage ’70s table setting ideas

American folk patchwork wall hanging and place mats for a table

Making an American folk patchwork wall hanging


  • Fabric: Springmaid’s Super Stowe polyester/cotton duck, 44/45″ wide, in the following colors and amounts: 1/2 yd each of Flame Red, Lime, Pencil Yellow, Brown; 4 yds of White – also used for backing
  • 1 bag of Mountain Mist polyester batting by Stearns & Foster, quilt size (90″ x 108″)
  • 1-1/2 yds of Stitch Witchery iron-on fusible web by Stacy Fabrics, 18″ wide
  • 1 skein dark brown embroidery floss
  • Colored thread to match
  • Wooden stretcher bars for mounting and hanging the patchwork wall hanging: 1 pair 20″ long and 1 pair 54″ long
  • White drawing paper (26″ X 56″, or several pieces to make this size)
  • No 2 pencil and a yardstick
  • Old terry-cloth towels
  • Staple gun and staples
  • 2 screw eyes
  • Picture wire for hanging


How to enlarge Fig. 1 [below — click for a larger version]: Count number of squares on graph of Fig. 1 (the entire graph, Patches A, B, C) and mark off on paper the same number of squares, similarly placed, in area the design is to occupy (1 square = 1 inch). Enlarged design measures 20″ x 54″ (each patch measures 14, square minus borders).

Now copy outline of design from graph onto new squares, square by square. Once you have enlarged Fig. 1 on paper, go over all lines with a black felt-tip marker. Make a paper or cardboard pattern for each lettered shape (Figure 2); these shapes will be duplicated several times.

Measure patterns for geometric shapes precisely so they wiil fit together to form neat patches. Refer to information and diagrams of shapes given in Fig. 2.

Guides & patterns to make American folk patchwork wall hangings

American folk patchwork wall hanging diagrams

For center patch, make individual patterns for flowers, leaves and basket handle from drawing of Fig. 1.

Trace shapes with pencil on colored fabrics as follows (refer to photograph for color guide): Trace all shapes in patch A on Pencil Yellow.

Patch B: Basket is Brown. flowers are Flame Red, centers are Pencil Yellow, leaves are Lime. All shapes in Patch C are Lime. Trace border rectangles on Flame Red, corner squares for Patch A on Lime, squares for patch C on Pencil Yellow.

Cut out all shapes. Now cut a duplicate for each fabric piece from Stitch Witchery.

Cut white fabric into two 2-yard lengths. Prepare one length for applique background as follows: Hand-baste center guidelines on fabric, 1 on the crosswise and 1 on the length-wise.

American folk patchwork wall hanging patterns (1)

American folk patchwork wall hanging patterns (2)

American folk patchwork wall hanging patterns (3)

Use other length of white fabric for wall-hanging back. Make a large flat ironing surface by covering a table, countertop (or use floor) with terry-cloth towels. Place drawing of design on towel-covered ironing surface.

Place the basted length of white fabric over the drawing, using basted guidelines to help center fabric. The black lines of drawing will show through white fabric.

Starting with center patch B, place each fabric shape on the white fabric over its corresponding shape. Place each Stitch Witchery shape between corresponding fabric shape and the background.

Adhere each shape to background with iron, following Stitch package directions. Iron each Witchery shape carefully, 1 at a time, making sure shape does not shift from its correct position as you work.

Now adhere border rectangles and corner squares surrounding Patch B. Then adhere shapes on Patches A and C and corresponding border sections.

Americana patchwork patterns from the 1970s (3)

Set sewing machine for a narrow zigzag stitch. Stitch over edges of all colored shapes and borders with matching thread. Work dots in center of each flower, using embroidery floss and satin stitch.

Cut 2 pieces of polyester batting 20″ x 54″. Place pieces on top of one another; center batting on other length of white fabric for wall-hanging backing. Place patchwork, right side up, over batting.

Line up perimeter of border with edges of batting; pin. Hand-baste through all layers around all edges of red border rectangles and each yellow and green square. Straight-stitch by machine along basted edges with matching thread; remove basting.

Trim white fabric leaving a 4″ margin around all sides. Assemble stretcher bars to make a frame. Place patchwork right side down; place stretcher frame on top of fabric.

Americana patchwork patterns from the 1970s (4)

Starting at one 20″ end, wrap fabric around frame, lining up corners and edges of patchwork border with those of frame. Bring edge of white fabric around to back of frame.

Using a staple gun, staple securely in center of strip. Pull fabric tautly across frame to the opposite 20″ strip. Staple in the center of strip (be sure to line up edges of patchwork).

Again, pull fabric tautly; bring it around a 54″ strip; staple in the center. Then pull fabric and staple in center of second 54″ strip. You have now stapled fabric onto the centers of all 4 sides of frame.

Americana patchwork patterns from the 1970s (2)

Finish tacking the rest of fabric to frame in the following manner: Working from the center of each strip out to corners, tack fabric to 1 edge, then to the opposite edge, leaving corners undone.

Alternate top and bottom, and keep fabric taut. Finish each corner neatly by folding over fabric and stapling. Screw in eyes on frame back; attach wire and hang.

MORE: Americana quilts you can make of pieced patchwork

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Comments on this story

One Response

  1. Wouldn’t this wall hanging have more validity if the pieces were actually “patchworked” (i.e. sewn together to create the block) instead of just glued together with fusible webbing?

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