Patchwork is created by sewing together pieces of fabric into a larger design. The larger design is usually based on repeat patterns built up with different fabric shapes (which can be different colours). When we think of patchwork, we think back to the 1970s and dodgy homemade clothes!
Did you know there is evidence of patchwork pieces found throughout history? The earliest examples have been located in Egyptian tombs and traced back to China 5000 years ago. Further finds have been dated from the early Middle Ages in Europe, where layers of quilted fabric were used in the construction of armour - this kept soldiers warm and protected. Japanese armour was made in a similar fashion.
Quilts began to appear in households from the 11th century. As the European climate became colder around this time, the incidence of the use of bed quilts rose, and so developed the practice of embellishing a simple cloth through the creation of pattern and design, alongside the development of decorative quilting. The tradition of making quilts in this fashion was taken to America by the Pilgrims.
It is such a logical idea creating new pieces of clothing out of old, torn, or un-wanted material. We have recently come full circle and are again thinking of ways to 'waste not, want not' and 'make do and mend'. Let's bring patchwork back into fashion again! I love the idea of creating something out of used material, but also to have something that is original! Below I have hunted down some wonderful patchwork pieces to share with you. Some you can buy, and some are to inspire you to start making. If you have created an unusual patchwork piece, please do share details below in the comments section. Remember that patchwork doesn't have to be just fabric.
I love this Bird Crossing by pattern designer, writer and editor, Kevin Kosbab. If you fancy having a go at this quilt design you can download the e-pattern by clicking HERE.
Kevin Kosbab - Feed Dog Designs
I love this fabric upholstered VW Beatle...
I had to include this photo by Vanessa Jackman from her blog: a stunning suede patchwork skirt.
PHOTO BY VANESSA JACKMAN
Wallpaper sample pieces combined here to decorate a wall!
A hand-crafted patchwork sofa by Leftovers made from fine vintage clothing and refurbished European antique mahogany furniture.
DESIGNED BY 'LEFTOVERS'
Here, coloured duck tape has been used to decorate a table and chairs.
Using paint swatches to create a piece of patchwork art.
ORIGINAL SOURCE HERE
If you are not keen on sewing, how about using embroidery hoops with vintage fabrics to decorate a wall. The image below is taken from the Purlbee site and is comprised of Liberty of London fabrics.
One of my favourite companies is Elbow Grease Designs, based in the San Francisco Bay Area, California. All their products are made from discarded vinyl signs and banners originally printed for trade shows and conventions. These banners would otherwise end up in landfill! I have blogged about these vinyl bags before in a 'recycled bag' post. To read this post click HERE.
I have been a big fan of Kelly Swallow and, for those of you who are regular readers, I wrote a blog about Kelly's work in February 2011, which you can read HERE.
I PHONE COVER BY QUILT MY PHONE
I PAD COVER BY QUILT MY PHONE
Olivia Handley made these cushions out of sofa fabric samples.
BY OLIVIA HANDLEY
I love these lampshades by Folly and Glee. who describe their products as 'Preloved and handmade!'
For a blog post on how to make your own patchwork lampshade, click HERE.
I think the idea of having a complete mix of styles in these bathroom tiles is wonderful and highly original.
I would love to see these full patchwork skirts back in fashion again...
I love this carpet made out of carpet pieces!
A patchwork bedspread is a great way for using up fabric samples and old second hand clothes.
I love this coat made out of jumpers, and this patchwork jacket made from crochet pieces, both taken from a fabulous french site called Les FRIPES de Valentine
Dubs Bears makes bears out of used and loved fabrics, like wedding dresses or tweed suits. To see their website click HERE.
A patchwork design on this tent by Field Candy.
Floral patchwork on a massive scale: an aerial shot of tulip fields.