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Wool “Inlaid Patchwork” Quilt Top


Made by Elizabeth Tayler Kobler, 1747-1825

80 in. W x 78 in. L

Gift of Keith Frost


Washington County, Maryland

Washington County, Maryland

Migration from Germany to America


This quilt is made in a technique called inlaid patchwork, edge-to-edge piecing of wool fabrics in complex patterns. Inlaid patchwork was an established tradition in Germany, often practiced by tailors. Elizabeth Kobler’s husband, Barnabas or Barnet, was the son of German immigrants and trained as a tailor. The Koblers moved to Maryland in the late 1780s.


Elizabeth’s husband probably taught her this patchwork technique, perhaps supplied fabrics from his business, and probably assisted in the sewing. According to his pension application, Kobler made uniforms for American troops during the Revolution while serving in the 9th Pennsylvania Regiment. Girls were taught sewing at a young age, so perhaps their daughter, Mary (b. 1787), helped.


Wool broadcloth, printed wools, silk plush, cotton corduroy, and other wools

Woolens used in men’s clothing dominate this quilt top. Though the red and blue fabrics may be from military uniforms, other fabrics, such as the greens and printed wools, date to the 1790s. Thus militia, not Revolutionary, uniforms would have supplied the scraps of red and blue. Corduroys, plush, and printed wools are rare in surviving garments, making this a fascinating document of Federal Era menswear.