Quilts were originally brought to life in Europe, around the 12th century. Back then, they were quite different. They were brought to the USA later on, during the settling time. Until recently, quilts were only used for their actual functionality – out of necessity, rather than fashion. As time flew, new fabrics were introduced and the industry experienced significant growth. These days, it represents a multi-billion industry worldwide.
Given this growth, it goes without saying that quilts are now available in all kinds of styles and designs. Browsing the various types of quilts will give you an idea about what to choose if you are a beginner. Moreover, you might want to learn a bit more about quilting techniques, quilting traditions, patterns, and fabrics – as well as their uses with the main purpose of style.
Popular types of quilts – Album quilts
The album quilt is not necessarily a statement of fashion. Instead, such quilts are designed for special occasions. Unique designs will be imprinted on each block – mostly related to the event. Small details make the difference. Such quilts are mostly used for weddings or birthdays, but also as tributes in the memory of loved ones.
Appliqué quilts come with various pieces of fabric attached to them. These fabric pieces can be based on more materials. They are sewn together to provide a great final result and the theme can be anything – it depends on personal preferences. Since different types of quilts do not require many different extras, this one stands out in the crowd with the unique pattern.
Bargello designs bring in some of the most attractive quilt patterns. Such quilt styles follow the Bargello design – different strips of square fabrics joined together to come up with patterns and waves. These pieces of fabric together are relatively similar to the flame stitch style, which is quite common in needle embroidery.
The charm quilt consists of multiple pieces of fabric. The quilting technique involves putting everything together to create stunning designs. The quilt pattern may vary, of course, but what really makes the difference is the variety of materials. As a general rule of thumb, each piece of fabric must come in a different material to ensure uniqueness.
Denim quilts are self-explanatory. The fabric is the factor behind its popularity – based on scrap pieces of denim, these quilts are quite modern. Quilting stitches are fancy and attractive and the design is suitable for both men and women. Also referred to as jeans quilts, these models are mostly based on scrap pieces – while quite new, they will usually look vintage and old fashioned.
Lap quilts can be made of one piece or more pieces together. Patterns and fabrics are also varied. Quilters make these models in smaller sizes – just like the name clearly states it, they are supposed to go on the lap for a bit of extra warmth while sitting down. Most commonly, these lap quilts are square – just over 35 inches per side. However, you can also find rectangular alternatives on the market.
Medallion quilts come with a motif. They are usually symmetrical and feature a large central area – square or not. All the other patterns will go from that central area and they will usually be symmetrical. When the quilt is complete, it will look like a medallion. The central part will usually be applied, but this is not a general rule. As for the rest of the quilt, its main role is to boost the effect of the main area.
Mini quilts are practically small quilts. They are smaller than average and they have different purposes. They are usually designed to go on walls. In terms of sizing, they are small, but sizes may vary based on your needs. As for the design or pattern, they can follow other types of quilts, so they might as well be defined as appliqué, denim or charm quilts.
Patchwork quilts consist of a bunch of different scrap fabrics sewn together. These pieces may have multiple sources. You can get them from old clothes or clothes that you like, but you can also use leftover fabric or even buy fabrics in different styles. Pieces are sewn together – there are no rules regarding the materials or actual design.
Photo quilts can be made of different types of fabrics. What really makes the difference is the photography used in the process. Get some of your favorite photos imprinted on fabric and they stitch them together to come up with a quilt. You need at least two photos – there are no limits regarding the maximum amount.
English paper piecing quilts
Also referred to as foundation piecing quilts, these quilts are extremely popular and attractive once you get them. Practically, this quilting technique involves stitching fabric to a paper foundation. Paper foundations usually come with blocks and numbers, so you know exactly how many pieces of fabric you need and where they should go. It feels like a game, but it is totally worth it.
Amish quilts are most commonly based on recycled stuff – dresses, shirts or other types of clothing. The name is based on the Pennsylvanian community from the USA. Some of them may come with geometric patterns, while others have Amish elements. You will usually find them in simple or dark colors – no fancy bells and whistles.
The art quilt is supposed to be a bit superior to other types of quilts. It can be made from two or more pieces of fabric and it has artistic aspirations. It is not geometrical, plain or random. Instead, you may have intricate portraits, realistic landscapes and so on. In order to enhance their beauty, some quilters may sew in various details.
Crazy patch quilts
Crazy patch quilts do not follow too many rules. They are most commonly done by putting together irregular pieces of fabric – they are usually not related whatsoever. They come in random colors and with unusual patterns. There are no actual designs behind these quilts – you are free to join scrap pieces together. The more unusual it looks, the better you have done it.
Friendship quilts are named after their actual purpose. They do not have too much to do with the actual material or fabric, but the design and the meaning instead. They are usually given to close friends or relatives. They can mark a celebration or a special occasion – they can be given as gifts too. A good family quilt would involve pieces made by more family members and joined together. You can add messages, dates or quotes – no rules here.
Lattice quilts are easy to make because of their unique and simplistic approach. While many quilts require stitching blocks together, this one has a certain rule – you will need narrow pieces of fabrics between blocks. Basically, each block will have a frame around it. These strips must go all around the blocks, so you may need to apply them horizontally, vertically or diagonally. The resulting lattice pattern will look amazing with a bit of imagination.
Less popular quilting styles for a beginner
While the above mentioned types of quilts tend to be quite popular, there are also a few types that may not necessarily draw attention among most newbies.
- Centennial quilts
- Memory quilts
- One patch block quilts
- Patriotic quilts
- Presentation quilts
- Sampler quilts
- Signature quilts
- String quilts
- Throw quilts
- Trapunto quilts
- Wall quilts
- Watercolor quilts
The list can go on. As you can tell, quilts are classified by more criteria. When it comes to the occasion, it could be anything. You might as well come up with your own unique style or a trend that will catch up.
Frequently Asked Questions
Still not sure about what type of quilt to go for?
What are the kinds of quilting?
Generally speaking, there are four types of quilting – English paper piece, paper piece, appliqué and piece. Different people will find different styles to be more appropriate for their needs. It pays off trying everything upfront before making a final decision.
What is the easiest quilt to make?
A classic block quilt, a strip quilt or a chevron quilt will not raise too many challenges. These are some of the easiest quilts to make if you are a newbie.
What are modern quilts?
Modern quilts have nothing to do with the manufacturing style, but with the actual design and style. Basically, they are inspired by modern designs – abstract shapes and designs or perhaps futuristic patterns.
What is the difference between patchwork and quilting?
Patchwork and quilting are often used interchangeably. Patchwork implies putting blocks of fabric together – it is a step in quilting. On the other hand, quilting involves putting the throw layer on top of the middle one before attaching the bottom layer.
In the end, there are lots of different styles of quilts out there. They can be classified by more criteria – some of them have something to do with the style or the purpose, while others are related to the manufacturing process. The good news is that no matter how little experience you have, completing your first projects will give you a few good clues about the industry.