Making a Living Making Quilts: A Historical Perspective

Sunday, March 15, 2020

Charlottesville Shirt Factory

What might a quilt made of shirt factory remnants in 
the 1940-1960 years look like?

Cora Lewis Hunt Carver (1893-1977) of Charlottesville, Virginia, was remembered in a local history as a "quilt maker who sold quilts for $25 to local residents and sewed in a shirt factory on Monticello Avenue where she was given permission to take remnants for the quilts."

Quilts from online auctions: Ca. 1960 Factory Cutaways?

The factory, probably the Monticello Shirt Factory, closed about 1990. Based on Cora's age I'd guess the time discussed is 1940-1960s.
"Monthly she returned with quilt tops to Nelson County with her aunts and cousins who would each create 5-10 complete quilts. Depending upon family crises at the time, number of returning quilts varied...illness, birth of babies, etc. She won first prize for her designs in the earliest state fairs."
We don't know what the Nelson County quilts looked like
but we can guess they were busy.

As in some of these wonderful combinations of stripes,
plaids and pineapples.

1955 Spiegel catalog

In her cottage industry Cora provided work for rural relatives and recycled local remnants
and probably made a little extra cash for herself.


  1. Good for her! And for her relatives and friends who helped. Today $25. for a quilt does not seem like much but remember there is inflation to think about.

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