Since the time, clothes were made and used, man uses his imagination and creativity in making new fabric designs. One such example of his thirst for innovation is 'patchwork'. This is a form of needlework, where small pieces of cloth are sewn together, to make an attractive design. Patchworks were made during chilling cold weather seasons to keep the body warm. The entire work is completed in one layer of fabric with the patches facing the top.

The pattern is usually repeated all over the bigger fabric with attractive colors. The small fabric is usually sewn with the bigger fabric with pieces of yarn at regular intervals, or is quilted. Patchworks are generally used to make bags, fancy skirts, wall hangings, and bags. These garments were a profitable business during the great depression, as it is a way to recycle worn clothing into quilts. Traditional practices involve making patchwork by hand. Presently, modern quilt makers use a sewing machine.

Types of patchwork:

  • Stained glass window patchwork
  • Cathedral window patchwork
  • Somerset patchwork
  • Trapunto (Stuffed or Puff patchwork)
  • Crazy quilting
  • Appliqu

An expression of one's creativity:

Once a person is well acquitted with the patterns, and stitching forms, they can conjure up their own designs in a creative manner. Patchworks are used in garments, beddings, curtains and many more. Luxurious beddings with quilts created with soft fabrics, are comfortable to use and also enhance the look of the room. Various designs and exclusive fabrics are used to reflect the eclectic preferences of the consumers. Velvet throw with chambray backing, and hand quilted vertical lines give a neat and elegant look to the fabric.

Patchwork in small scale industries:

Patch work can also be creatively combined with embroidery and other forms of stitching. Various fabrics such as organdy voiles, organdies, organza, tissues, taffetas and heavy plain and textured fabrics like duck, herringbone, velvets and cotton linen are used in making unique patterns. The craft is now emerging as a profitable business for small scale industries. Diploma courses are offered to those who would like to pursue a career in this craft.

Patchwork fabrics are becoming increasingly popular in the international market due to their virtues like appealing styles, optimum comfort, and trendy look. Customized fabrics are also made to suit the demanding requirements of the customers. Manufactured with a fashionable and casual look, patchwork fabrics are a popular choice for both garments and furnishings. They come in both traditional as well as contemporary designs accommodating the shoppers' preferences.

Cutting pieces of fabric, feeling different textures, arranging varying colors, sewing the cut pieces into blocks, putting the blocks together into still larger blocks will give a sensual and satisfying experience to the sewer. It is a proof of his creativity. These intricate patterns prove to be the masterpiece of craftsmanship. Not only are they a craftwork, but they also prove to be a commercially successful business.


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