Betsy Chutchian fell in love with fabric and quilts as a child learning to sew on both her grandmother’s treadle machines. The beds at her grandmother’s house in Frisco, Texas, were covered with Depression-era scrap quilts. Her mother would point to each piece fabric and say, “that was my dress, and this was Mother’s apron, this was Daddy’s shirt, and the one was Sissy’s dress” and so forth. In 1969, Betsy received her first sewing machine from her aunt Sissy, a 1940s Singer that she used until 1983.
In 1980, Betsy received a B.A. in History from the University of Texas at Arlington. That same year she taught herself to quilt after receiving a quilt top made by a great aunt and great grandmother. This began a passionate journey that would combine the love of fabric, quiltmaking and history. From the time she started to quilt, she wanted her quilts to look like old, 19th Century-era quilts – the ones women used every day, not the pristine heirlooms that were put away only to be brought out for company.
Betsy has taught quiltmaking since 1990 for a number of quilt shops in Texas and is a former quilt shop owner. She can most often be found at Lone Star House of Quilts in Arlington, Texas. Since 2004, Betsy has traveled across Texas sharing her love of 19th Century reproduction quilts in lectures, trunk shows and workshops. She is a co-founder of the 19th Century Patchwork Divas, a close-knit group of quilters bound by their love of old quilts. The Divas have had their quilts featured in exhibitions at two International Quilt Festivals in Houston in 2004 and 2009. In 2009, the Diva’s exhibition traveled to Chicago, Pittsburgh and Long Beach, Calif., as well as the Rocky Mountain Quilt Museum.
Betsy is the author of Gone to Texas: Quilts from a Pioneer Woman’s Journal and the co-author of History Repeated: Block Exchange Quilts by the 19th-Century Divas.