Educator's Guide: The Arts: Woven Histories


Quilts are a form of art where cloth and batting are held together with stitches. Quilts were a way for women to communicate ideas and political opinions. Women during the 1,800s were not allowed to speak in public or vote, yet they had strong opinions on Union and Secession. Quilt names such as "Lincoln's Platform", "Underground Railroad" of "Fort Sumter Victory" give a clue to the political views of the women who created them. The Civil War inflicted hardships on both sides. The patchwork quilt recycled materials and created lasting memories of that time. During the Civil War both Southern and Northern women made quilts for their soldiers.


Have the students look at the quilt patterns below. Younger students can color the different quilt designs. Have older students create a quilt block for the Siege of Vicksburg. Students may be divided into teams. Once the blocks are completed, the students construct a large quilt from their designs. This activity can be done with construction paper or fabric. Older students can study the geometry of quilt patterns and the use of various shapes and angles to form a flat block.

Classroom Activities:

  • Art
  • Mathematics
  • Social Studies


  • K- 12


To have students understand how quilts were a way for women to communicate their political beliefs, which could not be publicly expressed. To help students understand the importance of the patchwork quilt to history and art.


Various colors of construction paper or fabric. Paints or crayons scissors, glue, heat bond material iron or sewing machine.

Click here for quilt patterns.

Last updated: April 14, 2015

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