The Rich History of Quilting
Quilting is the process of sewing together two pieces of fabric. Typically, in between these fabrics is some type of stuffing, which can be cotton, wool, or other substance that is soft, thick, and good for insulation.
The history of quilting goes back centuries ago. People from different regions of the world such as in East Asia and the Middle East and some parts of Africa have long used quilted clothing. Researchers assume that quilting originated in China and Egypt at about the same time.
The history of quilting in Europe began when the Crusaders brought a type of quilting into the region from the Middle East. Records of history showed that knights wore quilted clothing under their armor for added protection and warmth.
Quilting further grew when the Europeans started making quilted bedcovers, introduced by the Romans. With the freezing winters during the 15th century, wearing quilted garments was necessary to fight the cold. With the invention of the quilting frame, quilted items started to feature more refined stitching rather than the rough stitch work of the first quilts. People then started regarding quilts as works of art. It became very popular from the 17th century well into the 19th century.
A look at the history of quilting in North America will show that it was not common in the region until the early 19th century. The main activities of women around this time consisted of sewing, weaving and spinning clothing for their families. Quilting was in fact a rare hobby, mostly done by wealthy women who had the luxury of time. Hence, the materials used for quilting at this time were decorative and not scraps of worn cloth.
The mid-1800s brought great change in the history of quilting. During this time, developments in technology brought about textile manufacturing. This significantly altered the lives of women in the country. They no longer have to spend their days weaving to create fabrics for clothing. Moreover, commercial textile became very affordable, hence, creating great interest in quilting. Women had a wide selection of cotton fabrics to purchase for their quilting. It is in fact a myth that women during earlier times used only scraps for quilting.
Another important event in the history of quilting is the invention of the sewing machine in the 1850s, which allowed women to make clothing much faster so they have more time for quilting. In addition, women also used sewing machines to make their quilted items.
The Civil War also contributed to the history of quilting in America. Women made quilts for solders to keep them warm and comfortable. They also sold quilts to raise funds to support certain movements during that time.
Indeed, the history of quilting is long and rich and it is with pride that quilters today continue this wonderful tradition.