Throughout history, people have enjoyed quilts for many different reasons. Quilts can provide clues to the past. Quilts can provide warmth. Quilts can provide beauty and value. Quilts can provide heritage. Quilts can provide enjoyment from working with color, texture, and pattern.

    Quilting can be traced back to ancient Egypt and China where three layers of fabrics (top, batting for warmth, and backing) were stitched together to keep the middle layer from slipping and clumping.

    Later in the Eleventh Century, quilting was used to hold together the layers of padding under armor.  From then on quilting was a common form of needle work.

    In the Eighteenth Century, it was stylish for English women to wear quilted petticoats and underskirts and for men to wear quilted waistcoats.  Quilted bedding was also popular.  Quilts were first brought to the American Colonies during this century.

    There are only written references of the first American quilts.  These quilts were probably styled after English quilts.  The first American quilts were probably not patchwork or appliqué but whole cloths.

    Quilting in American became popular in the Nineteenth Century was when.   Distinctly American patchwork and appliqué designs were created.  These quilts were produced for utility and pleasure and are the inspiration for today's quilters.  They are also an important part of American Folk Art.

    From the 1940s to the 1970s, quilting was not a regular pastime for America.  Since 1976, quilting has again become popular.

Fons, Marianne and Porter, Liz. Quilter's Complete Guide. Birmingham: Oxmoor House, Inc., and Leisure Arts, Inc., 1993. 8-9.

Want to find out more?
Check out these other links!
History of Quilts
The History of Crazy Quilts
Quilts as Symbols in America

Back to American Quilts Main Page