The Christmas Quilt


Whose idea it was, we no longer remember. Which is really the way it ought to be, with communal efforts like this. The idea? To decorate the cover of the 1987 Lands’ End Christmas catalog with a beautiful, cheery quilt we would make ourselves. (A fitting project for the company we are.)

So it began, way back in April. First we formed a committee of ten, which, like all committees, spent hours talking about what kind of quilt to make. Finally we decided on a “sampler” quilt, with many different squares joined into one.

After more than a few heady visits to nearby fabric stores, we began cutting cloth, creating kits for each differently-patterned square. A snippet of calico here, a snippet of muslin there.

Then came the sewing. Kits went out to eleven people, representing 11 different Lands’ End departments, from Sales to Inseaming to House-keeping. And these folks began working on them – at home and on office coffee breaks, or whenever they could find time – not easy when you’re a working mother, as most of our quilters were. In the end, about 34 people put the quilt together – from 5 basic colors and 8 fabrics, and in a myriad of stitches representing collective innate knowledge.

Finally, on July 9, “Quilt Day” at Lands’ End, the quilt was finished. Almost. Because those who designed the quilt made provision for a narrow border and left it unquilted, so that anyone in the company could add a stitch or two, and have a hand in the historic event. (It is worth noting that the planners made sure the border was patterned, so the inexpert stitches of the late-inning sewers, many of whom were men, would not ruin the quilt’s perfection.)

Our best estimates are that it took slightly more than 1,000 hours to make the basic quilt. And more than 500 Lands’ Enders added at least a stitch or two to the final result.

We’re proud of our quilt because we made it together. It was our way of wishing our customers a cheery and happy Christmas, in a uniquely “cut and sewn” way. It was not an idea that came from a public relations consultant or a “brand committee” – it sprang up naturally from the character of the people who work at Lands’ End.

“It was a labor of love,” recalls Sharon Kostuch of our Customer Service Department, one of the quilters. “I remember the good times we had together as much as I remember the quilt.”

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