How to Make a Primitive Saltbox House


Making a decorative primitive saltbox house in the federalist style can be a simple sewing or a more involved project. The first thing to keep in mind when creating saltbox houses for a quilt is that these are typically examples of 17th century colonial architecture. The primitive saltbox is from two to four stories tall and will usually exhibit a high pitch front roof combined with a lesser pitch on the back. These homes were austere and displayed little adornment. A chimney is a prominent feature on one or both ends while shutters either weren't used or were strictly functional.

Things You'll Need

  • Paper
  • Printer
  • Marker
  • Cardstock
  • Quilt fabric
  • Ruler
  • Scissors
  • Pins
  • Fusible interfacing
  • Sewing machine
  • Quilting thread
  • Download a free clip art of a primitive saltbox home and resize it for the basic pattern.

  • Make pattern prepared to about 6 inches by 6 inches.

  • Use ink pen or marker to trace the pattern onto cardstock. Cut this carefully in order to preserve windows or other fine details. Snips would work fine.

  • Decide on fabric colors and then prepare at least 16 blocks measuring 12 square inches.

  • Next find a single contrast color to make 4-inch by 12-inch strips. These will be placed between the blocks vertically. Cut 12 of these. Cut the outer border as well as horizontal strips between these rows after the horizontal rows of blocks are all sewn. This will make the squares fit better since some variation in cutting and seam width might occur. Cotton stretches, so measure these long pieces last.

  • Cut out primitive saltbox house pieces using one or more colors. These could be monochrome houses or made with different roof and house colors. Double-sided iron-on fusible interfacing or spray on temporary fabric adhesive will hold this in place or a few pins work well too. Use a satin stitch to attach these saltbox images.

  • Finish the blocks with machine or hand embroidered trees and flowers.

  • Complete the quilt top by adding horizontal strips of fabric between the quilt blocks to separate them.

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