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Patchwork vs Quilting

by | Oct 18, 2022 | Tips & Tricks

If you’re interested in sewing, you’ll have probably heard of patchwork and quilting. Let’s take a look at these two sewing techniques, the differences between them, and some examples of popular projects.

What is patchwork?

Patchwork involves sewing together different pieces of fabric together to form a flat design. It has generally been used as a way of using up scraps of fabric or mending and extending the life of clothing. It is a popular way to create garments with bright and colourful geometric patterns.

A common British patchwork method is called “piecing over paper”, which involves a pattern being drawn onto paper and cut around. Small fabric pieces are then folded around the shapes and basted into place. The shapes are then stitched together using small “whipstitches”.

You can also create patchwork designs with a sewing machine, which will speed up the process pretty significantly!

What is quilting?

Quilting is a useful needlework technique that is used for a wide range of objects — from bedding and clothing to furniture upholstery and small textile items like pin cushions. Broadly speaking, quilting is a method of stitching layers of material together.

While some quilted items will be highly functional and stitched together in a simple, practical manner, you can find lots of examples of decorative quilted items. The word “quilt” appears to have been used in England for the first time in the 13th century. There are examples of quilted clothing and blanket quilts with highly detailed, decorative stitching that date back to this time, but similar techniques have been used since around 3000 BC.

As quilting is usually used to add extra insulation to an item, it tends to feature three layers — the top layer (the quilt top), a middle layer which is usually just padding, and the bottom layer (the backing material). You don’t have to stick to this standard, but it could be useful to try it first when you’re just starting out with quilting.

Getting started with patchwork and quilting

If you’re keen to get going with your first patchwork or quilting project, you’ll be able to find lots of online tutorials and books on the techniques. You can also get tips from friends if you know people who have completed similar sewing projects. If you want to see a practical demonstration, keep your eyes peeled for sewing courses near you.

You could even combine the two needlework techniques and make a patchwork quilt for yourself or a loved one. While these can be fantastic decorative pieces and provide some extra warmth on cold evenings, they can also make sentimental gifts or family heirlooms to pass on to future generations.

Make sure you have everything you need for your project, like enough fabric, measuring tools, good scissors, high-quality threads, a sewing machine table, and of course, a reliable sewing machine. You can complete your project by hand, but with so much stitching involved in both patchwork and quilting, it will take you a long time!

Franklins sewing machines

At Franklins Group, we have been one of the UK’s leading sewing stores since 1956. Our friendly team are always happy to answer any of your sewing machine or thread queries. Plus, if you are having trouble regarding sewing machines, you can contact your local Franklins Group Store to book a repair. Take a look at our handy blog for more advice on everything sewing-related and browse our site to find your next sewing machine.