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Sarah’s Quilt

  • Owner:
    Regina Murphy
  • Location:
    Perth Western Australia
  • Maker:
    Regina Murphy
  • Pattern:
  • Pattern:
  • Pattern:
  • Pattern:
  • Dimensions:
    Height: 228
    Width: 131


Quilt was made by Regina Murphy for her daughter Sarah between 1964, when her daughter was born, and her first birthday in 1965. Later squares were added to each side. The quilt is owned by Sarah Murphy of Western Australia.

"Sarah's Quilt - My first child Sarah Therese Murphy was born on 10 March 1964. It was the 'Hippie Era', a period of flower power motifs and a preponderance of denim fabrics. I had been brought up in Kalgoorlie WA. My own bed was covered with a white 'Marseilles' quilt and frilled pillows with a beautifully embroidered pillow sham. My sister and I were forbidden to even sit on our beds, they were only for sleeping and then only when the quilt and sham were carefully folded and placed over a wooden towel stand. My greatest pleasure was to visit my friend in the next street, who lived in a very different household. She had a patchwork quilt, not a work of art to be admired, but a colourful, casual cover to enjoy and even to snuggle under on cold winter days. We would lounge on Gail's bed and read books or talk for hours.

After my daughter was born I decided I wanted to create that type of ambiance for her bedroom. Her bed was an English Ercol, Windsor style, made of beech, curved at head and base. This meant that a conventional quilt would not sit as easily as one created to custom fit.

What could suit my aim better than the popular denim? I commenced by cutting 4" squares from every unworn garment I could find. Each square was then decorated with appliqué or embroidery or both. I started with a 'baby' embroidered motif from a greeting card she had received. The quilt includes pieces from hair ribbons, favourite dresses, pieces of lace from her christening dress and embroidery. The centre was completed for her first birthday when she moved into her own bedroom. Each 4" square was turned and stitch by machine for strength. The squares were then joined together and finally attached to an unbleached calico sheet. This meant that the quilt could be used and the calico tucked into the mattress.

Later as Sarah's interests grew, squares were added to each side to cover the sheet. The base is curved to cover the contours of the oval mattress. It is a folksy quilt which I hope, achieved its original objective. Sarah is now married, and both bed and quilt reside in the 'spare room' of her own home. The squares also tell stories: initials of each family member, names of dogs and cats, symbols of Ireland (family homeland), universities attended and pieces of Sarah's wedding clothes. It tells a number of stories and provides many memories."

[Regina Murphy 20 April 1997]


Denim squares approx 9cm (square) machined together and handstitched to backing sheet. Each square is appliquéd individually using natural and synthetic (few) materials. Appliqué, both machined and hand stitched. Backing is unbleached calico.

2280 x 1310 mm

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