Purple Star - this article is new and awaiting 10 votes!


Quilting is a craft which has been practised for hundreds of years, and can be found in many parts of the world. I came across the practicalities of it when I joined a small craft group and made my first bed quilt. Essentially two or more layers of fabric are placed together, sometimes with piece of wadding sandwiched in between, and the whole thing is stitched to keep all the pieces together. Traditional materials were cotton, wool, silk and linen, depending on what was available. Apart from the fabric, all that is required is a needle and thread. As the work progresses, the light falling on the raised areas gives a pleasing three-dimensional effect to the piece. 

The early settlers in America made bed quilts by this method, using materials they had to hand, to help them through the harsh winters. So as not to waste any fabric, any small pieces were kept and sewn together into a pleasing design, which formed the top layer of the quilt. It was always a sociable occupation, and groups of women would get together to form a “quilting bee” where a whole quilt would be worked on together. Today “patchwork” quilts are still made, though more for pleasure than out of necessity. Some very good examples of original quilts can be seen at the American Museum in Bath.

In the Middle Ages rudimentary suits of armour were made by quilting cotton fabric; and, for the wealthier, a padded (quilted) jacket was worn under metal armour to add comfort and further protection. In 18th century England the rich would display their wealth with an array of exquisitely worked wall-hangings, covers and cushions in silks and linen. Much of their clothing was also quilted, sometimes embellished with elaborate embroidery. As time went on, quilted bedcovers became more commonplace in homes, and regional quilting designs evolved.

Japanese Sashiko quilting had humble beginnings. Two layers of indigo dyed cotton were hand-stitched with a contrasting thread, usually white, to make hard-wearing work clothes. The quilting stitches could also be used to effect a repair or darn. In time particular styles in the stitching patterns appeared, often inspired by nature, such as the hemp leaf.

During the rainy season the women of Bangladesh work on their Kantha quilting, to make covers, cushions and wall-hangings. Coloured threads drawn from old cloth are used to embroider the top fabric, then parallel rows of running stitches hold the layers together.

As many people now have a sewing machine, a bedcover can be quickly made and quilted. For many, like myself, it is the process of hand stitching that gives pleasure and satisfaction. When doing on my own quilting, I like to think of groups of women all over the world doing similar work. Their conditions, their way of life, their materials may not be the same, but essentially we are all sewing in the same way;  and we will all finish with a unique item of service or beauty, or, at best, both.


If you want to suggest Author to edit any line in this Starticle then click on that line for your suggestion.

Selected Line :
Suggestions :
Reset Password