Popular Styles and Techniques of Quilting

Quilting is a widespread practice dating back to the nineteenth century that involves sewing layers of fabric together to make bed covers warmer. The technique had declined due to introduction of modern textiles in the mid-twentieth century decade, but bloomed again in the early twenty-first century.

Experienced quilters are familiar with the different styles and techniques, though this wouldn’t be the case with a beginner due to the numerous terms to master. The whole process can feel too overwhelming for starters, but learning patchwork lays the foundation. That way, it will be easier to venture into other quilting styles.

This article will cover the most popular quilting styles and techniques that one should master in this craft. You might be surprised that some styles do not ring any bells.

Popular quilting styles

There are more than a couple of quilting styles, but it’s evident that some outshine others. Check out some of the trending styles in quilting.

1.Patchwork or Pieced quilts

Patchwork Quilt
5386093 Color abstract background of patchwork technique.

A pieced quilt is a quilt made from different fabrics sewn together. It is commonly referred to as a patchwork quilt as it features a patchwork-like effect on the different materials. Pieced quilts feature any construction technique from squares, triangles to tumblers and strips, name them.

This style is prevalent with beginners as it gives the crafter endless freedom to design. The designs can be vintage, a planned or even unplanned one, a scrappy one, and so many more. Typically, anything can go with the patchwork style.

2.Paper piecing

This style is quite popular in the quilting world. Also referred to as foundation piecing, this technique involves stitching fabric onto a paper foundation. The paper foundations usually have lines and numbers that guide you on the quilt from the start to the end.

Quilters develop fantastic shapes and designs by just following those lines and numbers. There are also several patterns that a beginner can follow to establish paper piecing.

3.English paper piecing

The English paper piercing style dates back to the 18th century, making it one of the most traditional techniques. This style is used to piece shapes with several sides and in-set seams just like a hexagon. The process involves cutting paper templates to the exact size of that shape, then folding fabric around those shapes.

The shapes are then stitched together using hand, making them larger and later forming a quilt. When one is done with the quilt, the paper template can be removed and discarded appropriately. The EPP style can be done almost everywhere, either on the bus or catching up with the latest news.

4.Rag quilts

Rag quilts are a bit different from the looks of traditional quilts. They usually have different fabrics like fleece, denim patched together. Making rag quilts can be fun as one works with typically any fabric they come around.

5.Applique quilts

Applique quilt
Sunbonnet sue applique quilt

The applique quilts involve placing background shapes and then sewing them to the background by either hand or using a machine. With this quilting style, one has the freedom to create a particular design by just drawing it! Easy, right?

The background color can be lighter or even solid, depending on what one loves. You can even work with a pieced background with some printed fabric.

6.Memory and photo memory quilts

These quilts are made from clothes from a loved one. The quilts are the perfect way to maintain a family’s history. You can choose any fabric or cloth to patch up this quilt, be it a handkerchief, dress, tie, or blouse.

Photo quilts are used in remembering the departed persons. Their photos are easily transferable into a piece of fabric.

7.Art quilts

Art quilts portray the beauty in something. Like art, this quilting method conveys emotions, tells stories, or even marks a particular event. These art quilts are designed to inspire rather than keep you warm at night.

Unlike other traditional quilting methods, the art quilts feature some surface designs using paint, metal, Tyvek, among many others.

8.Cathedral window quilts

Just like the name suggests, these styles were inspired by bright colors in church glass windows. The quilts are hand-made from patchwork and edging. The window panes mostly feature muslin fabric to give the quilt a translucent effect that is famed in glass windows. On the other hand, the window frames can be made from a heavier fabric like cotton.

9.Civil war quilts

The civil war quilts were made for soldiers during the 1850 civil war. Women crafted the quilts from anything they found, like uniforms, sacks, blankets, etc., to ensure the soldiers had the necessary clothing and bedding. The faster a fabric was made, the better it was since time was really essential.

10.Hawaiian quilts

Hawaiian quilt

Hawaiian quilts were made from imported fabric from England. These quilts are made with a purpose like to keep a loved ones’ memory or record important events. The first fabric was made from beating the bark of mulberry tree into thin sheets colored using dyes.

Quilting Techniques that a quilter should know

If you are a beginner, there are some techniques that you should have at the tip of your hands. They include:

i.Make an effort to familiarize yourself with the quilting terms.

Before starting the journey to learning how to quilt, it is necessary to understand the terminologies used. Get to know the skills needed, so you don’t have a hard time keeping up with all the terms. You can also go through quilting articles to have some know-how of what you will be dealing with. If you encounter phrases you don’t understand, check them out.

ii.Have a clear understanding of fabrics quality

Without fabrics, there would be no quilting in the first place. It would be frustrating to waste precious time making a quilt, then it ends up not holding up when washed. Get to understand how to care for your fabrics and why some fabrics need specific guidelines to be cut.

iii.Understand the different quilting styles

There are several ways one can develop a quilt. They are:

  • Hand quilting

Hand quilting involves stitching fabrics together by use of a hand. One can incorporate several ways to achieve a quilt. A quilter can opt to use a loop to keep the fabric tight when stitching. Working with a hoop, however, has been found to give more freedom in the quilting process.

The method you use in hand quilting depends on the design and patterns you want to feature in your quilt. Although this hand stitching method is slow, it is less expensive since you do not need any machine.

  • Free-motion quilting

Free motion quilting is done on any machine on a straight stitch. You also need a free motion to perform the quilting style and a strong thread. The method is not limited to just a straight stitch; you can stitch in a circular motion or a wavy one, depending on what you like.

  • Machine sewing

Machine sewing is so popular as it takes up the least time to get a quilt ready. A machine is also very proficient, but different machines might involve adding specific touches to your quilt.

  • Longarm quilting

This quilting involves a particular type of machine. The machine features an extended quilting head that can be guided by hands or a computer. The method also involves rollers and frames. This machine is fast and is ideal for largescale use due to its ability to work fast.

iv.Master sewing quarter inch seam allowance

Making ¼” seam can be hard for beginners. Before learning how to quilt, it is necessary to master how to make this seam allowance.

v.Learn the quick piecing techniques

There are some techniques like strip piecing that enable a quilter to sew large fabrics together. With the necessary techniques, the quilting process will be much easier and more fun.

vi.Get the correct measurements and sew borders properly.

Borders give your quilts an attractive flame. Adding at least one border at the edges will enable you to correct the slightly uneven edges quickly. Correct measurements and border sewing go a long way in improving the end structure of your quilt.

vii.Get to know the quilting techniques.

A beginner should take time to familiarize themselves with the different techniques used in quilting. There is a vivid description of various strategies i had described earlier in the article. Understanding the different types of quilts is also necessary for a person joining the quilting world.

viii.Errors are bound to be made, so don’t obsess over them.

In quilting, some errors like fabric color or the type of fabric can occur. Those minor mistakes are a gateway to perfect quilts, so do not let them drown your efforts to experience the fun of quilting.

ix.Try mitered binding

Mitered binding has long been described as a tricky technique to master. Take time to try it out because it is so easy.

x.Get to understand the pressing basics.

Superb pressing on your quilt blocks gives good piecing accuracy. Setting your seams before pressing them improves your patchwork. A lot of time is saved when quilt blocks fit together correctly.


Now that we have covered the popular styles in quilting, quilters can try out some of those they hadn’t explored. Beginners can start by learning patchwork and try other styles with time. A beginner must familiarize him/herself with the quilting techniques, so the quilting process gets more fun!