The stitching technique of quilting is something that has been around for centuries, with some historians even finding evidence that quilting was used by the ancient Egyptians thousands of years ago!
Quilting is the simple process of stitching layers of material together, with a layer of padding in-between. Although this method is fairly straightforward, it is a technique that can be used to create a wide range of different items such as clothing, bedding and much more.
In this blog post, the Fabrics Galore team provides you with the ultimate guide to both quilting as a process and quilting fabric! Within this article, we will delve into the history of quilting, before providing some top tips on how to select the best fabrics for some truly breath-taking quilting projects.
A brief history of quilting in Britain
Examples of quilting have been traced by experts all the way back to the medieval period. The Victoria and Albert Museum in London is the world’s leading museum of art and design and has some incredibly interesting pieces of quilting from this period that are believed to have been completed by European, Indian and Far Eastern natives.
With regards to the history of quilting in England, discoveries suggest that the 13th century is the timeframe where the technique began to gain some traction. At this time, the technique of quilting was mainly used to make fine materials such as bed covers.
By the 17th century, quilting had reached peak popularity in the UK. The method was used to create a selection of clothing items such as silk doublets and breeches for the wealthier bracket of Britons. As the 18th century approached, quilting was used to make items of clothing that are more familiar in modern day fashion trends, such as jackets and waistcoats.
It is also worth noting that most of the quilting projects from this period were stitched by professionals in many of the UK’s major towns and cities, so they were extremely high-quality and expensive garments.
After taking a slight dip in demand, the art of quilting experienced a resurgence during the Arts and Crafts movement between 1880 and 1920. The movement originated from Britain, and saw quilting used to produce an array of different decorative and fine arts by those who were enraptured by the movement.
Gaining popularity again in the 1970s particularly in the US, various Quilting groups sprang up in the UK and The Quilters Guild was founded in 1979, and later became The Quilters Guild of the British Isles.
In 2018 the American Museum in Britain exhibited the oldest quilt in existence, borrowed from the Quilters’ Guild collection and known simply as the 1718 Coverlet.
What is the difference between patchwork and quilting?
Quilting usually refers to the method of stitching which holds three layers of fabric together, usually a patterned top layer, plain fabric backing and padded middle layer and is a sewing technique often used to create a warm bedspread traditionally given as bridal gifts in the days before duvets!
Patchwork, on the other hand, is simply the process of stitching various pieces of fabric together to form a pattern and originated as an economical way to use up scraps of material.
What are the best fabrics for quilting?
When searching for the perfect quilting fabric for your upcoming project, there are a variety of different weights and cottons available. With all this choice, we understand that things can become a little overwhelming, however, don’t worry because the Fabrics Galore team can help.
Many people complete quilting projects to make lovely gifts for children and babies, or for memorable events such as weddings and baby showers. So, if you also have this idea in mind, it is important to choose quilting fabrics that can create a gift that will be cherished for many years to come!
When selecting fabrics for quilting and patchwork, it is important to select fabrics that complement each other, as opposed to choosing patterns that clash. If you use a large pattern to act as the focal point of your project, perhaps choose a few other smaller fabrics to complete your design and finish your quilting vision.
Aside from pattern selection, using 100% cotton fabrics is a better option for quilting than choosing a polyester fabric. This is because cotton doesn’t have the slippery, shiny feel of polyester, and can also effectively hold a crease.
At Fabrics Galore, we offer a huge range of cotton quilting fabrics that can help you create the masterpiece you have in mind. Our diverse selection means you are guaranteed to find a quilting fabric that suits your wishes, so why not explore our popular quilting fabrics range today?
Alexander Henry Fabrics ideal for Quilting
Alexander Henry fabrics are a popular choice for Quilters due to the fantastic quality of the cotton and the unique designs which can really set your quilting project apart. At Fabrics Galore, we love the Alexander Henry fabrics so much that we dedicate an entire collection to this iconic designer which includes the range of incredibly popular Frida Kahlo prints we have in stock.
Upcoming quilting fabric events to consider
If you are eager to broaden your quilting skills and would like to learn more about the technique, in general there are a many UK Quilting events to be aware of.
The Farnham Quilters Fair happens every year and is a one-day event that invites 45 of the countries leading quilting fabric suppliers to showcase their products. Fabrics Galore are delighted to be one of the suppliers that have been invited to this year’s event!
This event takes place on Sunday 13th January at Farnham Maltings in Farnham, Surrey. You can learn more about the Farnham Quilters Fair and some of the stunning quilting fabrics that we will be bringing along with us by checking out our recent blog on the event.
Furthermore, the Spring Quilt Festival Ardingly 2019 is another upcoming event that you may want to consider visiting. This is a 3-day festival that begins on Friday 25th January, and provides another opportunity for you to check out some quilting fabric displays from some of the industry leaders.
This event takes place at the South of England Showground in West Sussex, with adult tickets available for £8 on the door or £7 if you book in advance. Cheaper tickets are available for senior citizens and children.
Choose one of the UK’s leading fabric suppliers
The team here at Fabrics Galore are proud to provide our customers with a variety of high quality quilting fabrics.
On top of our patchwork and quilting fabric, we also supply a diverse collection of dressmaking and home furnishing fabrics. To take a look at the vast range of threads that we offer, check out our online fabrics store today.
Or if you would like to contact a dedicated member of the Fabrics Galore team for advice, give us a call today on 0207 738 9589.