Barbara Brackman's Civil War Sampler Class Plan

Class Description
Take a trip through time, 150 years back to America's Civil War with quilt historian Barbara Brackman's new book Barbara Brackman's Civil War Sampler. You'll be stitching traditional blocks to remember the War and women who lived through it. We'll be using the new book's fifty pieced and appliquéd blocks, each with a link to our nation's past. Beginners and experienced quilters will enjoy making a sampler of 8" or 12" blocks as we discuss a short story about the war from a first-person account.

Ideas for Shop Owners---Classes, Clubs & Kits
The years 2011-2015 are the Sesquicentennial (150th Anniversary) of the Civil War. Tie this book into local history commemorations---or create your own.

You can use this book in several ways:

1) Organize a club with block kits and no class meetings. Link the kits to the pattern number in the book. Kit up the blocks in three different options, such as:

  • Red, white and green
  • Civil War calicoes
  • Updated Blue & Gray Reunion with a hint of taupe

You have 50 blocks in the book, so you can do a block of the week or a block of the month. You could sell 4 kits at a time for 12 months, or do one per month for a 2 or 3 year period. People do not seem to lose interest in the Civil War.

2) Use the book as pattern book for a patchwork basic class. You'll find a wide variety of difficulty levels in the pieced blocks (and the three or four appliqué blocks.) You have patterns for 12" blocks or 8" blocks. Adding the Civil War interest to the basic sewing class will attract would-be quilters as well as those who are interested in history and period fabrics too.

3) Organize a club with a focus on Civil War-era reproduction prints as well as Civil War history. Use the blocks in the book to create a sampler of authentic style prints. Meet monthly with a focus on shades and print styles such as:

  • Madder browns and dress prints
  • Turkey reds
  • Indigo blues
  • Cheddar and chrome oranges
  • Double pinks
  • Lime greens and teal greens
  • Shirting prints
  • Paisleys and madder oranges and reds
  • Stripes—large and small
  • Chintz and large scale florals
  • Calicoes
  • Patriotic prints

For more information about fabrics, see Barbara's books:
Making History—Quilts & Fabric from 1890-1970
America's Printed Fabrics 1770-1890

4) Use the stories in the book in a six-month, monthly club to explore local history. Group the blocks asking students to make three or four each month. Use those that tell stories about slavery to discuss any evidence of the Underground Railroad in the area. Group blocks such as Blockade and Railroad Crossing to recall nearby battlefields. Piece Confederate Rose and appliqué Order Number 11 to recall Confederate Memories. Assign topics at the beginning of the class and have students do a little bit of research to discuss in upcoming sessions.


  • Slavery
  • Abolition
  • The Lost Cause (Confederate Memories)
  • Local Battles
  • Veterans' Organizations
  • Secession
  • Hospitals and Nursing
  • The Sanitary Commission and Women's Fairs
  • Soldiers Aid and Sewing Societies