A sewing technique whereby a layer of wadding or batting is sandwiched between the top cloth and the backing cloth with creative stitching, creating a warm and sturdy, padded textile; also the process of making a quilt.

* Quilting was a medieval European craft, but  also already present in numerous communities the world-over, in India, the Middle-East, the far-East, Africa…

* Patchwork and quilting very often go together and many patched works are quilted and patchworkers are often also quilters. ( patchwork quilts are not always quilted )

* The top cloth is the one to be seen and enjoyed, and can be of any material bought on the roll or created, for example hand woven cloth or patchwork.

* The middle layer may be of wool, cotton, wool, down or polyester.

* The backing cloth will depend entirely on the final use and for a curtain or cushion cover might be a fine muslin, just enough to keep the layers in place during the quilting process. For anything where the back is seen the fabric should be equal in weight and quality to the top cloth.

* The stitching that holds the layers together can be very simple, or the subject of highly ornamental designs. Straight rows, squares or diamonds are the easiest to do, whether by hand or by machine.

* Hand quilting might seem like a time consuming prospect, but as with all handsewn finishes it does look very much better than the strict uniformity of machined stitching. It’s also worth considering that if the piece of fabric to be quilted is fairly large, without a specialised quilting set up hand stitching is the only serious option.

* We often quilt in large squares or dedicated rows of stripes that look as good whether hanging as curtains or blinds, or laid flat as a bedcover.

* Large scale designs make it possible to work a quantity of material efficiently. Small squares and intricate stitching take many hours of work, and become a labour of love more suited to a special quilt than to a piece of quilted material.

* In quilting the puffiness between the stitches and stitched rows is as much part of the pattern as the stitches themselves, so it is important for the stitches to not be so close that they squash the layers, and so defeat the twin objects of warmth and design.

* Quilted fabrics are extremely well tempered as they don’t crease–or at least if they do, the creases are hidden by the stitched design, which also camouflages dirt marks and spots. If all layers are washable, quilted fabric can be machine-washed.

* The padding makes the finished article softer and more comfortable than un-quilted fabrics, so use for loose covers, bedcovers, bedheads and upholstery. The back and front need to be of equal quality for door curtains, room dividers and bed hangings. Quilted curtains need very little fullness.


See also italian quilting, kantha.

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