While the history of quilting is filled with many examples of possible origins dating back to biblical times with Josephs ‘Coat of Many Colors’ story, it is generally agreed that a more traditional American/European started patchwork quilts. In the 1780s Patchwork quilts were essentially quilting for beginners as pieces of fabric were sewn together to provide clothing and quilts as a matter of scarcity and necessity.
The very first patchwork quilts used for quilts were layers of fabric sewn together with several strong continuous stitches. According to the history of quilting, these primitive patchwork quilts resembled thick and bulky pallets on which to sleep. Because of the difficulty of stitching many layers together, the quilting frame was invented.
Another major shift in the history of quilting was the style of patchwork quilts produced. Although a few early quilts were made in the block style, quilts composed of blocks were uncommon until the 1840s. With so many fabrics made, beginning quilters have created their blocks with an amazing variety of fabrics.
MID 19TH CENTURY QUILTING- QUILTING HISTORY
Quilting history. The changes came as advances in technology profoundly affected the number and styles of quilts produced during the middle years of the 19th century. The Industrial Revolution brought about the most dramatic change when textiles began to be mass-produced. This meant that women no longer had to spend time spinning and weaving to provide clothing for their family’s needs. By the 1840s, the textile industry had grown to the point where commercial fabrics were available to almost every family. As a result, mass production expanded.
It was possible to purchase large quantities of cotton prints for the manufacture of garments and even specifically for the manufacture of blankets. Although scraps from tailoring and other sewing projects were used to make quilts, it is a myth that quilts have always been made from scraps and worn clothing. When examining images of quilts found in museums, we quickly learn that many quilts were made from fabric purchased specifically for that quilt.
Another major shift occurred in the style of manufactured quilts. Although a few early quilts were made in the block style, quilts composed of blocks were uncommon until the 1840s. With so many fabrics being produced, quilters could create their blocks with an amazing variety of fabrics. Some block style quilts were made from a set of identical split blocks, while others contained different blocks made with different patterns.
During this period, the invention and availability of the sewing machine contributed to the production of blankets. In the 1870s, many households already owned a sewing machine. This affected quilt making in two ways. First, women could make clothes for their family in much less time, which left more time to make quilts. Second, they could use their sewing machines to make all or part of their quilts. The sewing machine was usually used for pieced quilts, but occasionally the quilting itself was machine quilted.
CIVIL WAR PERIOD QUILTING- QUILTING HISTORY
Quilting history .Before the American Civil War, quilts were made to raise funds to support the abolitionist movement, and then during the war, quilts were made to raise funds for the war effort and provide warmth and comfort to soldiers. The designs were very similar to those produced in the mid-century, but the purpose was different. For this purpose, quilts associated with the abolitionist movement and the Civil War was made, many with the appropriate flag.
Even before 1830, abolitionists were working hard to end slavery. One way to do this was to hold large fairs to raise awareness and raise money for the abolitionist cause. Blankets were one of the many crafts sold at these fairs. These quilts were usually delicate quilts often with beautiful appliqués. Women sometimes put anti-slavery poems and sayings on quilts they made for fairs and for friends and family. The aim was to show the terrible situation of the slaves.
Women on both sides were very active in raising money for the war effort and making blankets and other bed coverings for the soldiers. In the North, quilts were still made for fairs, but now those fairs made money to support the needs that arose because of the war. “Gunboat” blankets were made in the South to pay for much needed gunboats.
It wasn’t long before it became apparent that soldiers on both sides would need blankets and blankets to keep warm. In the North, women either made quilts or remade quilts from bedspreads. Because the cots were narrow, two bedspreads could be made into three blankets for the soldiers. The United States Sanitary Commission was in charge of their collection and distribution.
In the South, making blankets was more difficult because although cotton was grown in the South, it was made into fabric in the North. Before long, it was almost impossible to get fabric, so women had to spin and weave before they could sew a cover. Regardless of their construction, most quilts made for soldiers on both sides were made with practical patterns and fabric. Due to heavy use, very little has survived into the 21st century. Making blankets was a popular craft even in the second half of the 19th century. English Victorian influence was slightly delayed in the United States due to the Civil War and its aftermath.
MODERN QUILTING – QUILTING HISTORY
Quilting history .Today, quilting is more affordable than ever. We live in a world of pre-cut fabrics that are available at the touch of a button and how-to videos that can be watched online from the comfort of your own home. Quilting isn’t quite the necessity it once was; instead, we can use it as a creative outlet and entertainment.
The world of quilting is constantly changing as the world we live in evolves. Using bold color patterns and prints that were once impossible due to limited technology and supplies, modern quilting has brightened the art form in ways unimaginable. Geometric and fractal quilting is growing in popularity as a new generation of quilters create their first pieces, many of whom learned their craft online rather than through the traditional in-person learning process.
No matter what the quilts of tomorrow look like, we can remember where they came from and keep their memory alive in our patchwork. So pick up an old pattern today and try something new, change the background to a bold, modern color or add some abstract patterns to the block, but remember that with every stitch you’re continuing the timeline of quilt history.
QUILTING IN AMERICA-QUILTING HISTORY
Quilting history .The history of America can be seen in the history of quilts: in the rich heritage left us by those thrifty, self-sufficient women who helped settle this country, in the families whose histories are stitched into quilts one by one, and in the legacy of quilting art passed down to children and grandchildren, so they can carry them into the future. People in almost all parts of the world have used stuffing materials for clothing, bedding, and even armor. With the arrival of English and Dutch settlers to North America, quilting took on new life and flourished.
During the early years of American colonization, most colonial women were busy spinning, weaving, and sewing clothing for their families, leaving little time for artistic quilting. Commercial blankets or woven blankets were more commonly used, but in hard times when money was scarce or imported textiles limited, many colonial women had to be creative in using the materials they had on hand to keep their families warm during cold seasons.
These early settlers could not afford to simply discard things when they wore out; this requires them to use their resources carefully. Therefore, when the quilts wore out, they were patched, combined with other quilts, or used as padding between other quilts. They were not carefully crafted legacies; rather, they were functional objects whose sole purpose was to keep people warm. It wasn’t until later years, when fabrics were made in America and became more affordable, freeing women from the labor of making their own yarns and fabrics, that a more creative type of quilting became more widespread.
In the 100 years between 1750 and 1850, thousands of quilts were cut and patched, and many have been preserved. Many of these quilts were so elaborate that they took years to make and quilt. No wonder they are prized as precious heirlooms and take pride of place in homes and museums. These early quilts provide a glimpse into the history of quilting and the history of the United States.
During this period, the invention and availability of the sewing machine contributed to the history of quilting. In 1856, the Singer Company started an installment plan so that more families could afford a sewing machine. Many patterns have been created with beginners in mind. By the 1870s, many households already owned a sewing machine. This influenced the making of patchwork quilts in two ways. Above all, women could make clothes for their family in much less time, leaving more time to make patchwork quilts. Second, they could use their sewing machines to make all or part of their patchwork quilts. More often than not, nine patch quilts were made on a sewing machine, but occasionally patchwork quilting was done using a sewing machine.