History Of Quilting (It’s a LOT LOT older than you think!)

Spread the love

Quilting can be best described as sewing together layers of different fabrics to come up with a more padded material. Today, quilting is being applied in various fabric works, and only those familiar with this creative process get the privilege to acknowledge some of the best quilting works.

Some of the quilting works date back to the first ancient Egyptian dynasty about some 3400 BC. In 1924, archeologists discovered a quilted floor covering in Mongolia that dates somewhere between 100BC and 200 BC.

According to history, quilting was already being practiced by various communities in the world using different techniques. That is why, if you visit any quilt museum, you will find all sorts of quilts with some made using old fabrics, papers, and even cotton. Through migration and settling, however, quilting got to spread all over the world more so America and Europe. The best part is, it was a skill that anyone interested could easily acquire.

Where did quilting originate?

Even though it is not clear where quilting originated from, the traces of evidence found by archeologists proves that it was being practiced as far as 5,000 years ago. In the 11th century, quilting reached Europe thanks to crusaders. Since then, it has all sorts of uses in homes, and even nights used these garments to wear their protective armor.

One of the earliest quilts that were discovered in Europe dates back to the 14th century. The quilt measures 122 by 106 inches and is believed to have been a bed cover. There was no reference to quilting in America until towards the end of the 17th century. The discovery was one of the most unusual because archeologists did not do it.

It was through an inventory listing of household property belonging to a certain sea captain in Massachusetts. Another significant discovery of quilt work in America is Saltonstall 1704. Unlike the usual quilts, the Saltonstall quilt was padded using old newspaper that made it easy for the archeologists to put a date period on the quilt thanks to the date.

History of quilting in North America

Although quilting existed way before it reached North America, it was the English and Dutch settlers who took this art to the next level in North America in the 15th century. At that time, quilting was not very common more so artistic quilts. That is because, during the colonial period, women spent most pf their time weaving, spinning and sewing clothes for their families.

Blankets and other garments needed to keep warm were woven. However, the colonial times were faced with numerous challenges, and at times, money could get scarce, even the materials needed to create garments could become limited. This forced them to improvise because they needed to keep their families safe. Therefore, they ended up quilting using old used fabrics, but there was nothing artistic about their quilts.

Between the years 1750 and 1850, thousands of quilts were made in North America, and some still exist to date in museums. Because of the situation and limited resources, most of the quilt works in North America significantly consisted of old recycled fabrics. It is said that some quilts took months and even years to complete because the quilters had to add more material on these quilts.

Today, technology has dramatically contributed to the production of more quality quilts in North America thanks to resources like YouTube. With many people acquiring quilting skills and knowledge from their parents and great parents, it has been recorded that the number of quilters in North America is on the rise. Modern artists who are are quilters have been able to establish some of the most successful enterprises in North America.

History of quilting in England

Quilting in Britain was at its peak during the 17th century. During that time, quilts were mostly worn by the royal and wealthy. Quilts were professionally produced in major cities in England, and some were imported. Women also took part in domestic quilting, and this is evident from the collection of quilt works that are preserved in England museums.

In England, quilts were not only made as a necessity but had other significance. They served as essential gifts and were shared not only among royalties but could also serve as part of dowry payment. However, these were high-quality quilts that are professionally or domestically made. Quilts were also used to mark a special occasion in England like birthdays and weddings.

Other uses of quilt garments in England history was in the battle field. Quilts were work underneath the armor by solders to provide padding. England solders also depended on quilts to sleep and even pack their artillery. That is because the reinforced fabrics offered the perfect filling that was durable and easy to carry around as well. Some tents were build using quilts in the battle field as well.

During the war, everything is limited, and funds become even harder to access. As a move to raise funds, women made and sold quilts to carter for their domestic needs. This was done on both sides because women had to do all they can to support their families. Because quilts were on high demand for both solders and residents, it was a good business.

Over the years, quilting in England has reached remarkable levels. With technology contributing to the production of better quality quilts, the number of quilters has increased dramatically, evident from the number of quilting websites available on the internet. The royal families still use quilted fabrics as part of their garment since quilted garment have a royal touch all together.

How have quilts contributed to US history

Quilting became popular in the America during the late 17th century and early 18th century. Because it was not a privilege available for everyone, only a few people had the opportunity to quilt. That is since those were the colonial times, and woven blankets and paddings were more economical. Also, women spent most of their time weaving and sewing for their families and had no time to participate in art quilting.

Slavery was one of the things that significantly contributed to quilting becoming popular in America. That is because abolitionists used to sell and buy quilts in their fairs to end slavery. Note that even before 1830, abolitionists were already doing their best to end slavery. The quilts were designed with particular messages and images that were against slavery. The fairs also sold quilts to raise funds to meet the needs of people affected by the war.

Quilts played a significant role in the abolishment of slavery in America. Other than being used for expressing the dislike for slavery, quilts played different roles. With some people doing all they can to help slaves get their freedom, it is said that quilts were used to write down instructions like what a slave had to do to get their freedom.

Because the war was on, solders needed supplies to defend their countries. Because funds could not cater to every requirement, women took part in quilting to supply the solders with beddings and padded garments for their quest. This played a significant role because women could use the quilt to write motivational messages to encourage the solders in the battle field.

Because war is expensive and requires so much funding, American women made quilts and sold them to raise funds for the armory. In South America, for example, quilts called gunboat was made by the women to raise funds for the much-needed gunboats during the war.

Because quilts are a work of art, people who wanted to express themselves found quilting as the best way to relay their messages. Since solders and slaves had unique quilts, some quilting artists used their designs to express their opinion concerning various issues affecting the community.

Bottom line

Quilts have come a long way from the prehistoric time and are still relevant to date. That is because they provide high-quality garments that can be used for various uses, domestically and commercially. Today, quilts are seen in almost home stead because they are the most popular bed covers, curtains, and even clothes.

In ancient times, quilts were not entirely for leisure and decoration as witnessed today. That is even why it is impossible to find even the traces of quilts that were used by the solders in the battle fields. That is because, in the past, quilts were exposed to heavy use that encouraged wear and tear. The few quilts that have managed to make it to the museums are evidence enough that some of the beautiful quilts that we have today have undergone a serious revolution.

If you follow up on the history of quilts carefully, you will realize that countries such as America and England had the same uses for these garments. This should be evidence enough that quilt work has a great significance in the history of this world. Although it is not known where the first quilt came from, sewing fabrics together to form padding is an idea that anyone can come up with, especially if they are living in a cold place.

About the Author SMC

We're a husband and wife team of craft enthusiasts! Mostly we love working with different kinds of fabrics - in fact, you'll be hard pressed to find a store-bought piece of clothing in our home. Most of the stuff we enjoy making by hand!

Leave a Comment: