A quilt is a bed covering composed of two layers of fabric and a layer of batting in between, made by the technique of quilting. Many quilts are made with decorative designs; indeed, some quilts are not used as bed covering at all, but are rather made to be hung on a wall or otherwise displayed.

Some uses of quilts include

The Museum of the American Quilter's Society (also known as the National Quilt Museum) is located in Paducah, Kentucky. The museum houses a large collection of quilts, most of which are winning entries from the American Quilter's Society festival and quilt competition held yearly in April. The Museum also houses other exhibits of quilt collections, both historic and modern.


Quilting is a method of sewing two layers of cloth with a layer of insulating batting in between. A bed covering or similar large rectangular piece of quilting work is called a quilt.



Social aspects


Patchwork is a form of needlework or craft that involves using small pieces of fabric and stitching them together into a larger design, which is then usually quilted. Patchwork is traditionally 'pieced' by hand, but modern quiltmakers often use a sewing machine instead.

Patchwork enjoyed a widespread revival during the Great Depression because it was a way to recycle worn clothing into warm quilts. Even very small and worn pieces of material are suitable for use in patchwork, although crafters today more often use specially bought patchwork material as the basis for their designs.

Patchwork is most often used to make quilts, but it can also be used to make bags, wall-hangings, warm jackets, skirts and other items of clothing. Some textile artists work with patchwork, often combining it with embroidery and other forms of stitchery.

Patchwork and quilting are both enjoying a huge resurgence in popularity around the world, particularly in the United States and Japan.

Types of patchwork

Types of patchwork block


A gambeson is a padded surcoat, usually worn underneath flexible metal or leather armor, such as a chainmail shirt. It was often produced with a sewing technique called quilting. The gambeson was vital in preventing crushing damage, since even if the edge or point of the weapon was stopped by the exterior armor, the remaining impact could still splinter bone and rupture internal organs. The gambeson distributed the impact over a larger area, and absorbed some energy by deforming.

For soldiers who could nor afford a harder, more expensive exterior armor, the gambeon was often the only armor available. As a gambeson is very labor intensive in the making, most common soldiers would have to produce their own.

Quilted leather open jackets and trousers were worn by Scythian horsemen before the 4th century BC, as can be seen on Scythian gold ornaments crafted by Greek goldsmiths. The European gambeson can at least be traced to the late 10th century, but it is likely to have been in use in various forms for longer than that.

The gambeson was used not only as a sole defense, but was worn beneath mail and plate in order to cushion the body and prevent chafing. It was very insulatory and thus uncomfortable, but its protection was vital for the soldier. Use of the gambeson declined during the renaissance, and by the 17th century, it was no longer in military use.

Several different patterns were used, and the form of the gambeson varied throughout the middle ages and the renaissance due to the ever increasing percentage of the body protected by rigid steel armor. Usually constructed of linen or wool, the stuffing varied, and could be, for example, scrap cloth or horse hair.


Tivaevae (also spelled tīvaevae and tivaivai) are a form of art common in Pacific nations such as the Cook Islands. They are needleworks often created by groups of women called vainetini, though some women prefer to work on their own.

By custom, a tivaevae is not measured by monetary value or production cost. Its value is said to be reflected by what is shown on it and the socialising during the creation.

Tivaevae are often given to important visitors, and in the Cook Islands are often displayed in houses during annual public health checks. Other important occasions for presenting tivaevae include during traditional boys' hair cutting ceremonies and weddings.

The tivaevae's origins are uncertain. Rongokea (1992) believes it to be an imported art form, and cites two sets of Christian missionaries in the 19th century as possible origins.

Note: some academics consider tivaevae to be a separate art form from that of quilting. However, there appears to be no consensus on this.

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