With the announcement of a happy couple’s engagement to marry comes the collecting of the bride’s trousseau. In many families, it is a tradition that one of the first items to be included in this collection of household goods the bride will bring to the marriage is a handmade quilt.
Often made with love and affection for a child or grandchild, the handmade quilt may be one produced exclusively for the currently betrothed couple or it may be a treasured family heirloom, passed from bride to bride over a series of generations.
While many a handmade quilt is crafted as an item of function, to keep warm when temperatures drop at night, the quilt presented to the bride-to-be for use in her trousseau is often one of exceptional quality. This quilt is often reserved for special occasions or for very light use only.
Every handmade quilt is a work of art, however, and each one deserves special care and attention. When a quilt is presented to a young woman on the verge of marriage, there is little doubt she is dreaming of having children of her own, perhaps a daughter to whom she can present this very special quilt on some wedding day far into the future.
When the idea of passing a handmade quilt to future generations is being entertained, it is wise to handle the quilt as if this is to be the case and to treat it as gently as possible from the very beginning. Gentle wear and even more gentle cleaning are important. So is keeping the quilt out of direct sunlight, which can fade colors and weaken the fabric and threads holding it together.
Some lucky brides are presented with more than one handmade quilt to outfit her trousseau. This is especially true when the special quilt that forms the cornerstone of her trousseau is a family heirloom. It is often understood that the heirloom quilt will be passed along to the next generation.
In such cases, the heirloom handmade quilt won’t be used for everyday warmth and comfort but others will be given for this purpose instead. These quilts designed for everyday use may not feature the finest fabrics or come with family history behind them but it’s quite likely they’ll be treasured just the same.