The History of Quilting

Quilts for Sale at 2 B’s Quilt ShopThe history of quilting can be traced back to both ancient Egypt and ancient China where three layers of fabrics (top, batting for warmth, and backing) were stitched together to keep the middle layer from slipping and clumping. In Europe, quilting was introduced by Crusaders in the 12th century in the form of the aketon, a quilted garment that was worn under their armor.

US Quilting History

Quilts for Sale at 2 B’s Quilt Shop
Most early Colonial women didn't have time for quilting. Some quilting was done by women who could afford help around the house, leaving them time for decorative needlework. Those women used the quilting methods from their home countries. Their styles were far different than the patchwork quilts we often associate with that period of history.

Broderie Perse

Quilts for Sale at 2 B’s Quilt ShopBecause imported prints were difficult to obtain, Broderie Perse quilting was a popular way to stretch the use of the beautifullly printed fabrics. Colonial women would cut out flowers and motifs from the fabric and carefully turn a tiny seam and applique each to a large piece of solid fabric.

Whole-Cloth Quilts

Quilts for Sale at 2 B’s Quilt ShopWhole-Cloth quilts were made by layering together a solid piece of fabric for the top, the backing and the filling. The layers were quilted together with elaborate designs. This method resulted in a pattern that was beautiful in both texture and shadows.

Medallion Style

Quilts for Sale at 2 B’s Quilt ShopWhen pieced blocks were used to create a quilt, they were usually used in one of the many borders of the Medallion Style quilt. A central motif was surrounded by several of these borders. Star blocks, Saw Tooth, and Hour Glass are a few of the patterns that early American quilters used.

2 B’s Quilt Shop

2324 Greys Point Road
Topping, VA 23169

Hours: Mon. – Sat. 9 am to 6 pm

Quilting Bees

Also known as Quiltings

Quilting Bee by Grandma Moses

Most likely began in the mid to late eighteenth century and were in reality, very rare at that time.

The modern idea of a quilting bee did not come about until women had more leisure time to socialize with their quilting peers.

Quilting Frames

An essential piece of equipment for hand quilting.

Quilting – The finishing touch.

The earliest quilting frames were nothing more than four sturdy lengths of wood. Two boards long enough to hold at least the width of a quilt would have heavy cloth attached to them. The ends of the quilt were basted to the cloth and the other two pieces of wood would hold the first two apart. The ends could be rolled tightly to create a firm area for stitching.


Very few quilt patterns were published in early America.

Women would sew a quilt block as a way to remember the patterns that their friends shared with them. Usually the blocks were quickly sewn together just to give the quilter an idea of how the pattern went. Collections of these cloth patterns have been found bundled together and stashed away in attics, discovered at estate sales, and found in antique stores.