This quilt is one of three quilts made by Bettye Kimbrell using a technique called broderie perse, meaning Persian embroidery. It involves cutting floral designs out of chintz material and reassembling them into a different pattern on a quilt top. Bettye said, “I took a piece of chintz fabric, noted the clusters of flowers on it that I wanted to use in my quilt and did a rough cut around them. To attach them to my quilt top I cut away—a half inch at a time—all the background fabric from the chintz design. I appliquéd that half-inch to the top using a button-hole stitch around the edge of each leaf, stem and flower in the design, then trimmed away another half inch of the chintz and stitched it to the piece. I kept cutting and stitching a half-inch at a time until I had a quilt top full of chintz flowers arranged the way I wanted them. It was tedious and really difficult to do. It took me five years, with R&R breaks, to finish it.”
34” W X46”L (1989)
Detail showing how designs on chintz were trimmed away from their background and applied to quilt top with a button hole stitch. Note that the entire white background is stippled.
Detail of center figure of Broderie Perse quilt
Bettye created this this quilt in 1975 for a competition sponsored by the National Grange to celebrate the 200th anniversary of the United States. It has a patchwork design made up of twelve blocks that look like Betsy Ross’s 1776 flag with its red and white stripes and thirteen blue stars alternating with white squares filled with hand-stitched outlines of eagles and stars. (Photo courtesy of Alan Govenar)
81” W X96” L (1975)
Stained Glass quilt with news photo of Bettye and daughter Cindy.
In this type of quilt figures are cut out of cloth and appliquéd to squares in a manner that imitates stained glass. Each figure is edged in dark fabric to represent the leading that joins the individual pieces of glass into one image and the squares are joined with strips that create the appearance of window panes. Bettye’s youngest daughter, Cindy Denton, shown with her mother in the photo below, drew each of the figures that Bettye used in making the quilt. (Photo of quilt courtesy of Jimmy Martin)
82” W X93”L (1982)