What is Patchwork?

What is patchwork? For those people who are not really into making things or have just started out, this may be a question to ask.

Patchwork is the creation of making new fabric from bits and pieces of new, old or worn fabric. This can be done using small squares, long strips or with shapes to make a picture or a block. The most common shapes are hexagons, squares, diamonds and rectangles.

Traditionally when looking back into patchwork history these blocks showed scenes from items used in everyday life, some of the many plants grown, beliefs and things used. In these times fabric was scarce so good bits of fabric from worn out clothes were saved and reused. 

Many types of quilts patterns can be made using the log cabin block with each giving a different look depending on the shading of the colours of the fabric.

The Victorians made crazy patchwork which used all different shapes and sizes sewn together or on top of the patchwork fabric.

What is Patchwork?  Ideas to do and make.

The cutting of fabric to be used in patchwork has to be quite accurate so all the seams are straight and even.

There are many different types of patchwork blocks that can be made from those going back in time to the more modern ones

The easiest place to start is with a smaller item such as a cushion cover. Doing this in patchwork can take time.

Once the blocks have been tried and tested, a quilt could be made out of them.

Using the same log cabin block there are many different looks a quilt could have depending how they are arranged.

How about using cherished clothing to make a quilt. This was one of my favourite things to make. 

The best fabric to use is cotton or a high cotton mix as these tend not to stretch as this would distort the finished result.

Usually but the fabrics blend together in colours but there is always room for bright vibrant none matching ones as well.  My fabrics and Abakan have a good selection of fabric if you need extra bits.

When sewing blocks it is essential that the fabric shapes are cut out as accurately as possible trying to keep everything square so the block will fit together. This will be really helpful if the blocks are then to be made into a throw or quilt as shown in the one above.

The different patchwork blocks can be used to create a beautiful quilts. These can be made using individual blocks of all the different designs or all the same design and then joined together. 

Different Types of Patchwork Blocks 

Finishing off a patchwork cushion, quilt or picture

Adding sashing

When the patchwork item has been sewn it can be used on its own if making a picture or a cushion.

It can also be used in another project straight away or additional material strips called sashing can be sewn in between each block as if to frame each one. This will highlight the single patchwork block whether they are the same pattern or different ones.

The sashing has again to be cut accurately and with the grain of the fabric to stop stretching. 

The thickness of the sashing border is a matter of choice on how the finished item will look. All the sashing will need to be the same width.

The colour of the sashing again will depend on how the finished item is to look and whether the same colours have been used. In the main picture I used the same blue fabric throughout whether a pattern or plain. The sashing I used was white to make each block stand out a little.

Bow Tie Cushion

Add a border

After the sashing has been added, a frame or border can then be added which could match the colour of the back of the item.

Again the border will have to be all the same size and will make the finished blocks larger in size.

In the bow tie picture above the white fabric is the sashing that frames the completed block and the navy fabric around the edge is the frame or border. This navy fabric matched the back of the quilt which was plain navy.

Abstract quilts can be made using different shapes and experimenting with different ideas can give stunning results. That is the one thing I love about sewing, it can always be unpicked if the look isn't what was wanted and I also have done a lot of that.

Hope this has helped to find out what is patchwork.

Have a go and enjoy making your patchwork creations.

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