Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Quilting and Patchwork

Last week I tried my hand at quilting for the first time when I made a small mug rug:

I really enjoyed making this - and it made me curious to learn a little about quilting - and patchwork. What is the difference? How did it start? And here's what I found.

According to Wikipedia,

Quilting is a sewing method done to join two or more layers of material together to make a thicker padded material
Patchwork or "pieced work" is a form of needlework that involves sewing together pieces of fabric into a larger design.

The earliest example of quilting was found more than 3000BC on a carved figure of an Egyptian Pharoah! 

Quilting and Patchwork were used through history mostly it seems for bed quilts - often made from old clothing - enabling people to re- use even worn items and very small scraps.

There was even lots of quilted armour - like a Gambeson.
Would you believe I even found a pattern/tutorial so you can quilt your own armour!  Amazing!

In later years - quilted clothing like the Doublet - became popular as mens clothing!

Personally - what interests me most about quilting and particularly patchwork is the 'recycling' aspect of it.  It seems like a fantastic way to use up scraps!
Of which I'm sure all of us who sew have LOTS! Bucketloads even!!

Or even another way of upcycling those old clothes!
Earlier this year I started trying to find ways to use up my scraps - and made this patchwork pincushion - or is it really a pet bed?

A patchwork pillow for Mickey:

And this cute patchwork fabric basket - using a tutorial from Pink Penguin:

I'd kind of forgotten about these until I made my mug rug last week - and it's revived my interest.
I'm definitely going to be trying out lots more patchwork and quilting - to try and use up my scraps and stash!

A great start is going to be a challenge I've signed up for during November
- the Solid's only Tote Challenge
One of the techniques you can use for this challenge is patchwork!
Do you want to join me in this challenge?
Do you have a large pile of scraps that would love to be transformed into a fabulous patchwork bag?
Head on over to Ricochet and Away for the details and to sign up for the challenge! It's going to be lots of fun!


  1. I'm totally jealous, wish I knew how to quilt but I don't. All your stuff is adorable!
    Jennifer from Just Wedeminute--

  2. My partner's mum made me a mat for my coffee using her considerable quilting techniques - she called it a 'snack mat'! ;)

  3. Cute mug rug....now you'll be hooked on quilting:)
    Quilting by the River

  4. In the last year I read a book called Quilting, Patchwork and Applique: a World Guide. I found that really interesting because it talked about the history of each craft and how it was/is used in different cultures societies. I find it so ironic that patchwork began as a way to make 'something out of nothing' by using scraps and worn out clothes, but now patchwork fabrics are some of the most expensive fabrics for me!! I think it's because the good quality fabrics that we seek now for quilting/patchwork are what clothes used to be made out of. Now all our worn out clothing and such are synthetic fibres, but for quilting/patchwork, you usually want natural fibres.


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