Classic And Vintage - Ladies Aid - The Jolly Jabber Quilting Blog

Classic And Vintage – Ladies Aid

We’d like to introduce the latest pattern in our Classic & Vintage series, the Ladies Aid Quilt! In our Classic & Vintage series, we focus on traditional quilt blocks and add a modern twist. The Ladies Aid block has an inspiring story and rich history that we are excited for you to stitch and explore!

The Ladies Aid Quilt Pattern gives instructions for making crib, lap, twin and queen-sized quilts. The FREE Ladies Aid Block Pattern makes a 12.5″ x 12.5″ unfinished block. To make your Ladies Aid quilt just like ours, we have the Ladies Aid Quilt Kit available! You’ll also want to pick up the coordinating Backing Set.

The History Behind the Ladies Aid Society and Block

In April of 1861, the very first Ladies Aid Society was established in Bridgeport, Connecticut, with the goal to support and care for American Civil War soldiers on the battlefield, and in the hospitals. Ladies’ Aid or Soldiers’ Aid societies are the backbones of the American women’s nursing movement. After the American Civil War, women began to take on a role in nursing, where until that time medical positions and roles were held almost exclusively by men. This big change in medicine led to the creation of The US Sanitary Commission and the Central Association for Relief – and these two organizations went on to actively recruit and train women to become nurses!

Women members of the Soldiers’ Aid Society of the U.S. Sanitary Commission stand in front of the Society’s offices on Bank (West 6th Street) in 1865. Photograph Courtesy of: The Western Reserve Historical Society at Case Western Reserve University.

During the Civil War, for every man that died on the battlefield, two passed away from disease. This was due to unsanitary conditions and overcrowding. Citizens, soldiers, and medical officials began addressing the importance of having access to clean water, good clean food, and fresh air. Women took charge and began collecting anything that the soldiers needed – including medicine, food, and clothing.  Quickly women discovered a roadblock – they had no way to transport these goods to the soldiers. In the end, they held a conference to collect ideas on how to serve the soldiers. Doctors, lawyers, and clergymen attended the conference, and this caused the establishment of the Sanitary Commission!

An alternate version of the The Ladies’ Aid Album block featured in Kansas City Star Newspaper in 1938.


The Ladies Aid quilt block was designed by Nancy Cabot (whose real name was Loretta Leitner Rising). She was a quilt and pattern designer, who wrote, selected, designed, and curated block and quilt patterns for the Chicago Tribune for 32 years! She designed over 1360 + pieced patterns, including the Ladies Aid block in 1938. She also hand-illustrated all of her block designs for the newspaper herself!

Get the Quilt


We have the perfect fabric to help you sew up this quilt! Celebrate the strength and perseverance of American Heroines with the newest fabric collection from Primitive Gatherings for Moda Fabrics. The American Gathering fabric collection collects patterns both old and new featuring stars, stripes, flags, and more.

Watch the tutorial

If you would like to sew with us, we have a FREE video tutorial where Kimberly gives lots of tips to make your block amazingly accurate.

If you are viewing this post via e-mail, click here to watch the video tutorial!

We have some wonderful quilty friends who sewed their own versions of the Ladies Aid Block to show us how it’s done. Click on each photo to see it in detail.

Share with #LadiesAidQuilt

We hope you enjoy quilting your own Ladies Aid Classic and Vintage quilt and please share your work using #LadiesAidQuilt on Facebook and Instagram!

Happy Quilting!

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  1. I am a gentleman of 76 who has just started making a quilt made one starting on second one it’s never to late to do something to keep you busy in this world tod a y with all thats going on thank you its my wife’s email address but I am the one starting a new project

    1. Robert, you are such an inspiration! Welcome to quilting. It’s a rewarding hobby in many ways.