Saturday, January 15, 2011

3 Seven Sisters

Seven Sisters

150 years ago this week Mississippi seceded from the Union, the second state to do so after South Carolina. Within weeks Florida, Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana and Texas followed. These seven rebellious states voted to form a Confederacy, selecting a flag in March, 1861 that symbolized the "Seven Sisters" in the field, a flag reflected on the cover of my book Civil War Women.

One version of the first flag
 
When the Civil War began in 1861 Sarah Morgan was a well-to-do 19-year-old living in Baton Rouge, the capitol of Louisiana. She had a lively family centered in a row of substantial houses on Church Street (now Fourth). Six slaves, recorded in the 1860 census, waited on the Morgan family. In her diary, Sarah recorded the events that ripped up her comfortable life.


A year after the War began New Orleans was under Union control and Union ships were on the Mississippi River near Sarah's house preparing to take over the state capitol. She wrote about the first day of Union occupation.

"Early in the evening, four more gunboats sailed up here. We saw them from the corner….The American flag was flying from every peak. It was received in profound silence, by the hundreds gathered on the banks. I could hardly refrain from a groan. Much as I once loved that flag, I hate it now! I came back and made myself a Confederate flag about five inches long, slipped the staff in my belt, pinned the flag to my shoulder, and walked downtown, to the consternation of women and children, who expected something awful to follow....Nettie made one and hid it in the folds of her dress. But we were the only two who ventured."

A rebel flaunting an apron based on the first
Confederate flag attracts attention from Union occupiers.
Use this photo for a pattern.
Print it so it's about 8" wide.

This week's block is based on the first Confederate flag, drawn from a quilt made in 1861 by Mrs. Green McPhearson of of Arkansas. Click on the link to see our inspiration, the Secession Quilt in the collection of the Historic Arkansas Museum. http://www.historicarkansas.org/collections/quilts.aspx?id=70

Click on the block picture above. Print it so it's about 8" wide to use for a pattern. Choose one star for a template, add a scant 1/4" seam allowance, cut seven and prepare the stars using your favorite applique method. Applique in a circular pattern to an 8-1/2" square background fabric.
Click here for a PDF version of the black and white photo. http://www.barbarabrackman.com/7sisters.pdf

NEW LINK (as of 9/1/2011)
https://acrobat.com/#d=eACZPlbfgh0Oi79wTQpr2Q

Late in the nineteenth century a pieced design called Seven Sisters, among other names, was popular.
If you'd rather do a pieced version---Sandy Klop at American Jane offers a pattern for the quilt above.
Scroll way down almost to the bottom of that page to her pattern Seven Sisters.

Read an online version of Sarah Morgan's diary, first published in 1913 as A Confederate Girl's Diary by Sarah Morgan Dawson, at either of these websites:

As more states seceded the Confederacy added stars
 to the flag, but soon redesigned it 
because it was hard to distinguish from the Union banner.

This week's story is drawn from a 2009 block-of-the-month I did called Dixie Diary. It's out of print. You can find a 19" pattern for the appliqued Seven Sisters in my book Civil War Women. Click here for a preview and ordering information for a bound copy (printed on demand) or a digital version.

31 comments:

Cheryl said...

Disappointed this week. I'll do a substitute block.

Rose said...

Agree. A beginner quilter would have given up with this week's "pattern".

Gina said...

There is no need to be disappointed when someone is providing free quilt blocks with fabulous background details. Thank you Barbara Brackman!

Maggey and Jim said...

Just joined the group and these stories are amazing. I am even enjoying the read as I love civil war stories..
Thanks Barbara,
Maggey

McIrish Annie said...

Love this block! it will be a challenge but a little steam a seam lite and machine applique will make quick work of it. thanks Barbara!

Deb said...

A great block and wonderful history lesson. I will start this today. Thanks Barbara.

Becky in VA said...

The block this week is a wonderful surprise. Thanks for keeping it so interesting. I'm torn between reading more (thanks for all the links) or sewing!! Oh, I think sewing wins!

pdudgeon said...

thanks so much for the history of this pattern, i had never heard it before though i've seen the block often. What a courageous woman she was.

Mad about Craft said...

I've jumped at the chance to do this quilt. I've completed the 1st 2 blocks and this 3rd one will be a challenge as needle turn applique isn't easy for me yet but as I do these online things to enhance my skills I will have a go.

Das Quiltmonster said...

Ohh, I think it is a little challenge this week! I'll try it and I think it could be managed!! Pictures will be shown on flickr..

Denise said...

While I just recently found this site and I haven't done any of the blocks I wonder if some of you might consider doing this one with wool applique? It certainly would be much easier and you could make a separate wall hanging with it, just a thought. I love this site a look forward to trying a few blocks and checking out the links.

FabricandFlowers said...

I've admired but never thought I'd get into reproduction quilts. I love the story with the blocks. I'm jumping in. I can't wait to have a quilt representing history.

Thank you so much for not only the patterns but all the work that goes into providing us the history! You are generous with your time and talent.

Colleen said...

Im excited. And for beginners do a layered star-layer muslin wrong sides with your star fabric. Draw your star pattern and sew completely around star. Cut out with a 1/4 seam allowance all the way around, clip inside edges. Then cut a slit in the backing fabric to turn and then press. You could hand applique, fuse, or staight stitch. My first ever quilt was a wall hanging with hearts I made this way and I hand stiched them down, dont be afraid!

Charlsey said...

Thank you Barbara for the history behind the block. I am in the process of setting a hand pieced Seven Sisters quilt. You can see it at nonniescedarchest.wordpress.com I used Inklingo for the stars which are 6 pointed instead of 5 as Barbara uses. It was error and worry free. Do not be discouraged. Enjoy the journey. Barbara's knowledge of the Civil War and her willingness to share is invaluable.

Virginia said...

This book will be available from LibriVox.org as an audiobook. Here is the link http://librivox.org/newcatalog/search.php?title=A+confederate+girl's+diary&author=&status=all&action=Search

Theresia said...

I've printed the block using the pdf file. I will put the printout on a light box and with a washable pen trace the star shapes inside the star outline, then applique. Makes placement super easy. This block was a surprise, but then that's what it's all about. Thank you.

Rosemary Youngs said...

The block and history are just wonderful, time to get started on my block. There is a lot of really good instructions in Barbara's Civil War Women if any of you need help with the appliqué with the stars.

Merilyn said...

Thankyou Barbara, for the wonderful history and various links. I have checked in my copy of 'Civil War Women' and there are some basic techniques guidelines for applique of the stars in the Appendix. I will definitely give this one a go, as someone else said, it's the journey!

Jacque Wright said...

I love the idea of using wool for the stars (I love wool applique)! Wonder if there will be more applique blocks?!

Rosemary Youngs said...

Since I am making two blocks a week, I posted a picture of the original block and an easier version of the block, the easier version is pieced, buttons were used for the stars and it represents the first flag of the seven states or seven sisters that seceded from the Union during the Civil War.

Messy Karen said...

any 56 block quilt from another century is going to have to include applique blocks. i knew this would happen and applaud Barbara for not wasting any time. i have done steam-a-seam applique. but simply could not use that method for this quilt. so while i decide which fabrics to use. and so i don't fall behind. i'm just going to trace the design and stitch over it with perle coton. i would only advise doing this if you have completely prewashed your fabric.

cq4fun said...

No one should be afraid to try needle turn applique. It is EASY and so forgiving of mistakes. There are any number of websites with directions to help, but nothing helps like getting in there and doing it. There are other applique methods that work equally well. I quilted my great grandmother's seven sisters pieced quilt, and it will be a joy to make this block in the applique version. Thank you!

Sharon said...

I just finished Seven Sisters and I used reverse applique for the stars. I'm really enjoying the weekly surprise and challenge. Thanks Barbara.

Notjustnat said...

Thanks Barbara for a great history and free patterns. I'm so thankful and thought that you must have put a lot of work each week to do this. I just want you to know that your effort is appreciated by me. I will use double applique for this block. It will be fun! I sent you the photos my first blocks I hope you got them - Hugs Nat

lillianscupboard said...

I'm not good at needle turn applique, but used the fusible web to do my block. I have a "how to" on my blog.

Kate said...

I too, plan to fuse my stars... maybe not historically accurate but fun, easy and I can embellish the edges with some fun stitching!
Thanks Barbara!

Aunt 'Reen said...

What a beautiful block! I'm going to teach my 2 sisters the reverse applique' method for this one. It's a bit easier for beginner applique'.

Sherryl said...

I'm curious why this block measures 8-1/2", when the other two were 8". Did I miss a step or was that an error? OR will many of the steps be different sizes. I want (hope) to get this right the first time. Can you clarify, please?

Shauna said...

I have not clue on how to applique, I have tried, read and practiced... I just cannot get the hang of it... But I will try this block....

Shakerwood said...

I have purged my quilt book collection many times when I came to realize that I really wasn't going to make any of the quilts in some of those books. But this Civil War book that I bought when it first came out is still on my bookshelf. I just love it and all the stories. It's a keeper!

Claudi's Quilt blog said...

hi together..
at first Barbara thank you so much for this pattern.
I found your blog saturday night and now I have finished the first three blocks.
I glue the stars with "wonder under " on the fabrics..because, it is a 4" block and also I don't want to wash this quilt..it would be a wallhanging.