For people who love to quilt, especially people who are new to the craft, learning about the different types of quilting is part of the fun. Some of these are easier to sew than others, but whether you’re a newbie or you’ve been quilting for years, learning to sew different styles of quilting is beneficial for a lot of reasons, the main one being that no two of your quilts will look alike.
While there are seemingly limitless quilting types, some are more popular and commonplace than others. Each time you learn another one, you’re one step closer to creating a quilt that looks like no one else’s in the world, which is the biggest perk of all.
Why Should You Learn Different Types of Quilting?
Quilting is a way to express yourself and to show off your creative side, allowing you to create beautiful works of art on a regular basis. It is essentially impossible to find two quilts that are exactly alike, proving the point that each quilt is a very unique achievement for the sewist. Furthermore, each quilt you sew allows you to learn new stitches, which is invaluable for both sewing and quilting projects.
Quilting also helps you relax and can even be therapeutic for a lot of people. Expressing creativity is something important to most people, whether it’s quilting, sewing, or crocheting, and if you join a quilting bee, you get the extra advantage of enjoying some socialization with other quilters. With each design you learn, you’re adding to all of these perks and enjoying the craft even more.
What Are the Most Popular Styles of Quilting?
There are dozens of ways that you can create a gorgeous quilt, some of which are more difficult and complex than others. Whether you’re an experienced quilter or you’re just getting started, below are some of the types and styles that you might want to consider the next time you take out your needle and thread.
1. Hand Stitching
When it comes to the different styles of quilting, this is a basic one that many sewists choose to start with, in part because it’s a great way to perfect the basics of quilting before you switch to a sewing machine for quilting. In fact, many quilters hand-sew all of their quilts even after they get some experience under their belt. Hand-quilters can use a hoop or sew without one, this being a matter of preference for the quilters themselves.
While hand-quilting is slow, it makes it easier for quilters to do freeform sewing and create designs that are quite large. Keep in mind that many quilters also feel as though they’re more in control of the stitches if they quilt by hand. That being said, you have to have both patience and a steady hand if you intend to make quilts without using a sewing machine.
2. Free-Motion Quilting
With this type of quilting, a sewing machine is used but you use a straight stitch only. The main difference between this and regular quilting with a machine is that you’ll be using a special foot, called a darning or free-motion foot. With free-motion quilting, the fabric and the needle are moved at the same time. Quilters can design letters, numerals, and things such as leaves and flowers with this type of quilting.
If you don’t like using a pattern but enjoy sewing freehand, this is the type of quilting to choose. Keep in mind that you do need a very strong thread to make this work, but for many people it’s easier to use free-motion quilting than it is to use a pattern. Fortunately, you can practice this style on any type of sewing machine, as long as you have a specialized foot to accommodate the job. You may have to practice it to perfect it, but when it comes to fun types of quilting, this is one of the best.
3. Patchwork Quilting
When most people think of a beautiful homemade quilt, they’re usually picturing patchwork quilting. This type involves sewing many different fabric patches or pieces together, and each one can look different than the one next to it. One of the things people love most about the quilts is that you can get extremely creative with each piece. They can be fabric of any design and shape, including squares, triangles, hexagons, octagons, and numerous others.
You can also sew on letters, various motifs, and just about anything else. Most quilters try to make each piece a similar design and color theme, but some revel in making sure that each patch is unique in design, color, and shape. If you choose a patchwork quilt, you’ll be able to use your creativity and make it look like no one else’s quilt.
4. Long-Arm Quilting
While free-motion quilting can be done on any basic sewing machine, that is not the case for long-arm quilting. If you’re an experienced quilter or have a business selling quilts, this might be a good option for you, but they are not for less experienced quilters. This is because there is a specific type of sewing machine required, and the machines are not exactly cheap. They have a quilting head that extends out to around 14 feet, so they are especially useful for very large projects.
The good news is that long-arm quilting machines can accommodate every part of the pattern, from sewing the top part of the quilt to the batting and anything else required for creating a beautiful quilt. From start to finish, you’ll be able to make the entire quilt using this one machine. And while they are expensive, they save any quilter a lot of time and money in the long run, so if you can afford one of these machines, it will certainly be worth it in the end.
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5. Crumb (Scrap) Quilting
If you have a lot of leftover fabric from various quilting and sewing projects and you’re looking for something to do with them, a crumb quilt might be perfect for you. Think of the design and look of a crumb quilt to be rather sporadic, but you can also make them more uniform if you like. When it comes to the various types of quilting used today, crumb or scrap quilting is rather popular for people who have been quilting for a long time and have tons of scraps in their sewing room.
This type of design also requires one type of fabric — quilting cotton. You can also use pieces of different sizes and shapes, including smaller or “crumb”-sized pieces. You’ll likely end up with an abstract design when you’re done. If you use a sporadic design, it is also known as an improvisational quilt. The results can also look like a gorgeous mosaic pattern if you do it right.
6. Applique Quilting
With this method, you’ll be cutting out various shapes and designs and either sewing them or gluing them onto the top piece of fabric. You can use different methods to permanently attach them to your fabric. This includes folding the edges down and sewing each patch so that the edges look clean, using a zigzag stitch, or even leaving the edges as they are so you get a haphazard look with edges that are a little frayed, which some people love.
This is one of the most interesting styles of quilting because there is no end to the number of designs and looks that you can come up with. If you ever see a quilt that has intentional designs such as flowers or butterflies, it is usually a quilt that is made from appliques. Feel free to get creative when it comes to the methods you use to permanently attach each applique because this is one of the reasons why it’s so unique.
7. English Paper Piece (EPP) Quilting
If you’ve ever looked at an older quilt in a vintage store and noticed that its designs include flowers made out of several very small hexagons, this is a perfect example of EPP quilting. For each hexagon, you’ll start by taking a thick sheet of paper and cutting out the shape you want. Then you’ll place a piece of fabric in the same shape over the paper, make sure that the seams are placed over the edges of the paper, and then sew the hexagon to the fabric. After that, you’ll remove the paper from the fabric’s center.
EPP quilting doesn’t just include hexagon shapes, however. You can also do the same thing with shapes that are curvy and any shape that has more than one side to it. As you can imagine, this design is nearly impossible to do with a machine; therefore, most quilters sew their EPP quilts by hand.
8. Trapunto Quilting
The word “trapunto” stands for “to quilt” in Italian. If you want a 3-D look to your quilts, this is the type you should consider choosing. With trapunto quilting, you have both a top and bottom quilt layer as you do with other types of quilts, but instead of using a layer of padding in between the two layers, you put separate padding into each separate design or piece of fabric. You can design the quilt anyway you want to, but the padding is separated according to the pattern.
In the end, you get a lot of dimension with the quilt and a very 3-D overall look, adding some depth and even some added texture and in some ways, making the quilt a lot softer. Trapunto quilts are easy to cozy up to and get comfortable with because of the added thickness found in each of the shapes and fabric pieces.
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9. Rag Quilting
No, these quilts do not look like rags, but they are made differently than most other types of quilts. They look best if you use fleece or flannel, and no padding goes in the middle of the two fabric pieces. Instead, you sew your different fabric pieces together and leave the seams on the outside instead of the inside of the quilt. When you’re done, you’ll take a pair of sharp scissors and snip all of the seams to roughly 1/2 inch apart.
Afterwards, you’ll want to throw it in the washer and dryer. When you take it out of the dryer, the seams will all be frayed, but not so frayed that it looks messy. In fact, this type of quilt really shines because the frayed edges give it a very unique and even classy look. This is especially true if your fabric pieces all have frayed seams that are the same color, but you can make them different colors as well.
10. Charm Quilting
The difference between charm quilting and patchwork quilting is that the former uses fabric pieces that are many different colors, giving the quilt a unique and very colorful hodgepodge look. You often see quilts made for kids’ rooms or even throw pillows in this design, and in many quilting or sewing stores, you can often find what is called “charm packs,” which are usually squares that are 5 inches in size and make a perfect charm quilt in the end.
Some people don’t like charm quilts simply because their look is so “busy,” but these are often the perfect quilts when what you want is the opposite of a quilt that has a neat, orderly look with the same colors and designs. Any time you want a brightly colored and very unique quilt, charm quilts are perfect.
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When looking at all types of quilting options, you’ll learn that you have more than just a few to get you excited about creating your next quilt. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced quilter, designs such as hand-sewing, charm quilting, applique quilting, patchwork quilting, and long-arm quilting are just a few of the styles of quilting that make this hobby so much fun.
Expressing your creative side through quilting is very common, and once you learn a few basic designs and techniques, you’ll quickly understand why millions of people all over the world are addicted to making quilts.