You might be wondering what the United Nations has to do with quilts. But did you know that there was a fabric printed to commemorate the formation of the United Nations? It wasn’t necessarily printed to be put into quilts, but I’m pretty sure it’s shown up in at least a few.
On this day in 1945, the United Nations came into being as its charter was ratified by the five permanent members of the Security Council: the United Kingdom, the United States, France, the Soviet Union, and the Republic of China (and by a majority of the other 46 signatory nations).
The plan was first put in play in 1939 by the U.S. State Department. President Franklin Roosevelt; Roosevelt’s aide, Harry Hopkins; and British Prime Minister Winston Churchill, drafted the text of the “Declaration by United Nations” at the end of 1941. Early in1942, twenty-six nations signed the Declaration, and twenty-one more signed later. (For more about the history of the United Nations, click here.)
Kent’s Cloth of the Nations, as seen below, was actually printed in 1942, in response to the coalition. It was printed by the Percy Kent Company of Buffalo, New York. The sack measures 36 X 38″ (mine is unsewn), and features a number of wartime symbols, one or two of which might not be considered politically correct by today’s standards. They are the symbols of a world at war.
For more information about feedsacks, there are several really good books on the subject. One of my favorites is Gloria Nixon’s Feedsack Secrets: Fashion from Hard Times. I also like Feedsacks: Beautiful Quilts from Humble Beginnings, by Edie Mcginnis for quiltmaking ideas. Glenna Hailey has a great book about sewing with feedsacks and reproduction fabrics, Sugar Sack Quilts: 12 Quilts Using Vintage or Reproduction Fabrics. Susan Miller wrote, Vintage Feed Sacks: Fabric from the Farm, on this subject. There are lots of resources out there, take a look!
You can still find the Kent’s Cloth and other sacks from time to time. They come up on eBay, and sometimes in flea markets. I own one whole one and half of another. How about you? Do you own one too?