Student or Learner
"In 18th-century America, a bride was expected to make 12 quilts for her bottom drawer, the 13th would be her marriage quilt."
I'm a little confused about this culture. If she only made 12 quilts, how come there would be 13 quilts in total? Is it a typo here?
My dictionary says "the bottom drawer" means "dowry". So... the 13th quilt seems to be coming from nowhere or at least doesn't seem to be related to what the sentence talked about...
riverkid is exactly right. A bride was expected to make 13 quilts; 12 for the bottom drawer, and one more as her marriage quilt.
The sentence is phrased a little oddly, but it's quite clear in its meaning. The alternative would be to rewrite the sentence as I did above, but I think it sounds less elegant that way.
(I would, however, suggest that the original sentence needs a semicolon after "drawer".)
The 'bottom drawer' is where the bride would keep some of the gifts she received for her new home. Often people would duplicate a gift so she might end up with e.g. six towels. In this case she would use one and keep the rest in her 'bottom drawer' i.e stored away for the future.