History of Quilting

Homemade Quilts have been a part of history for many, many years. It started out as being made primarily for clothing by piecing different fabrics together and even using paper or straw for those who could not afford material. Fabric quilting quickly evolved into using scraps of fabric or larger pieces of fabric to make a blanket of warmth. A handmade quilt also is a way to express different traditions and lock a piece of history into itself. Amish quilts were started as a way to show they turn away from the world. Their quilts are plain and solid colors. Many women made a handmade quilt before their wedding to symbolize the start of a marriage and that quilt was often handed down to their daughters. Fabric quilting also was a way to take different pieces of material that held meaning and then once they were sewn together they told a story.

Types and Equipment

The equipment needed to make custom quilts depends on the type of quilt sewn and how large it is. Quilts can be basic squares pieced together, different shapes, or one solid color. Unless you have previous quilting experience, you will want to start with a square quilt. Remember the less squares, the easier and quicker it will be to sew together. If you are planning on piecing a quilt together by hand then you will need a strong needle, fabric, thread to blend in with the chosen material, scissors and needles to pin the pieces together until it is sewn. A rotary cutting mat with measurements makes it easier to keep the pieces even and perfect. A rotary cutter is not mandatory but if several small squares are going to be cut it will make the process faster. Scissors are a must. A sewing machine is the practical option unless the quilt is going to be smaller and have few pieces. When choosing a sewing machine it doesn’t have to be complex or expensive, any basic one will work with fabric quilting as long as it does a straight stitch.

Styles

The many different styles of custom quilts creates a fun way for a culture to express itself. A crazy quilt is a creative quilt that pieces fabrics of different geometrical shapes and sizes and combines them together in a unique look. Hawaiian homemade quilts are solid colors with only one piece of fabric sewn on top instead of several different pieces. A star quilt is a symbolic quilt made my Native Americans to symbolize their religious beliefs and steps in life. It is more than just a blanket for warmth. A nine block style is one of the simplest hand quilting patterns as it is a basic nine matching squares sewn together. Another fun and simple quilt that has gained popularity is the rag quilt. It takes scrapes of fabric that are cut into even squares. The larger the squares the easier it will be to sew. Once the pieces are cut, take two pieces at a time and sew a simple X across them. Then take all the sewn squares and sew them together like a nine block style.

Patterns

There are many fun sources out there with free advice about hand quilting patterns and sewing a quilt. Patterns are a great way to get started and finding out what skill level you are. Patterns can be a simple block pattern to more detailed shapes sizes and techniques. Hand quilting patterns are fairly easy to follow with step-by-step instructions and advice on picking materials out. Some fabrics are easier to work with and are great for washing over and over like cotton while others are harder to sew and stretch out such as fleece. Choosing a pattern also depends on your style and what the quilt is going to be used for.

Additional Resources

Jennifer McBride is a staff writer with MattressInsider. Jennifer loves to write.
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